Conway Twitty’s Daughter Speaks Out Over Possible Demolition of Iconic Family Home

“It breaks our hearts,” she admits.

By

Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

January 11, 2024

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Conway Twitty Home; Photos Courtesy Facebook

Conway Twitty’s daughter, Joni Ryles, is speaking out amid the news of the possible demolishment of her late father’s Hendersonville, Tennessee home. 

In an interview with Nashville’s News Channel 5, the daughter of the country music icon admitted that the family would be disappointed to see the home torn down.   

His Daughter Voices Her Opinion

“There’s no question. We would much rather drive by and see it standing because Dad worked so hard to build this place and make it a special place for fans to come and enjoy and for our family to live,” she said. 

Conway Twitty at his home in Hendersonville, TN
Photo Courtesy Conway Twitty, Facebook

The property, which is owned by the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) recently sustained damages due to an ER-2 tornado that ripped through the area on December 9. Even before the tornado ravaged the property and other parts of Hendersonville, plans to tear down several buildings on the property were underway. This is according to a report by the Hendersonville Standard.  

The local newspaper reported that Frank Amedia, a real estate developer and televangelist, brought plans to the Hendersonville Planning Commission to develop a new place for the 33-acre property, which is currently home to the TV show Huckabee. The new plan reportedly entails the removal of all current structures within the compound, except for the Huckabee Theatre, the barn, and specific segments of the “Hello Darlin” brick wall encircling the former Twitty home. 

The suggested proposal includes the construction of an 80-unit assistant living facility, a 96-unit independent living facility, a clubhouse, pool, chapel, and community building for those living in the units, two office buildings with production studios, and an expansion of the Huckabee Theatre. 

Twitty City; Photo Courtesy Facebook, Conway Twitty
Twitty City; Photo Courtesy Facebook, Conway Twitty

The Family Is Heartbroken

Ryles admitted, “It breaks our hearts, but they own the property now. There’s not much we can do to stop it. I think it’s probably been in the plan a lot longer than the tornado because you don’t just come up with that plan. They weren’t using the property at all.” 

When discussing the potential project at a recent Hendersonville Planning Commission meeting, Amedia, shared, “Unfortunately, it’s a public fact, TBN was highly under-insured on that site, so now we’re at a position if we’re going to put money into fixing old things than the new things aren’t coming.” 

At that meeting, Vanessa Silkwood, a Planning Commission representative, admitted to having a few reservations about the proposed plan.  

“One of my concerns is that Hendersonville has a really rich tradition with music. I feel like we are losing touch with that to a certain extent,” said Silkwood, who according to the Hendersonville Standard, asked if the former Conway Twitty mansion could potentially be saved.

“That is a major concern of mine, considering the tradition and the history that it brings to Hendersonville. Although it’s really not accessible to the public right now, knowing that it is there is exciting and I think can draw potential visitors to our town,” she explained. 

Twitty City; Photo Courtesy Conway Twitty, Facebook
Twitty City; Photo Courtesy Conway Twitty, Facebook

When the planning commission members placed their votes, it was evenly split 4-4 on recommending the plan to the city’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen, resulting in a negative recommendation. It will soon move onto the Hendersonville Mayor and Board of Alderman. They will vote on the plan in two weeks. 

Will There Be A Conway Twitty Museum?

According to Amedia, saving the home of the legendary country star is not possible. 

“The mansion roof came up and came down and was twisted. Before that, it was in bad shape, now it’s in real bad shape,” he said. “And it doesn’t fit in with the use.”

He says they plan to honor the Country Music Hall of Famer differently.  

“One of the things we are committed to, if we can get the rights, we want to do a whole memorabilia thing,” Amedia stated. “So that we bring it back. Because there’s really no identity there.”

The developer claimed that TBN was attempting to obtain rights to Twitty’s name and/or likeness in order to create a museum dedicated to him on the property, however, Twitty’s son, Jimmy Jenkins, told the newspaper that the Twitty family had not received any contact regarding the rights to utilize his father’s name or likeness.

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Where Is Conway Twitty’s Home?

Conway Twitty opened Twitty City in June of 1982 and the property was once one of Nashville’s most popular tourist attractions. In 1986, Twitty’s colonial-style mansion was featured on the show Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, highlighting the lavish estate.  

“Obviously the demolition of Twitty City will be a sad day for all of Hendersonville, Tenn.,” said Jimmy Jenkins, via the Hendersonville Standard. “Many people have memories of enjoying all the Christmas festivities of Twitty City, many had their first job working at Twitty City in various capacities. Many will remember dad playing concerts at Music Village or in the pavilion at Twitty City. He wanted Twitty City to be his home, the home of his family, but also a place for his fans. It is a Hendersonville landmark, but also home for our family. Family memories were made there.”

Conway Twitty is known for songs such as “Hello Darlin’,” “I’d Love to Lay You Down,” “Slow Hand,” and more. Throughout his career, he earned 55 No.1 singles and sold over 50 million albums.

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Lauren Jo Black

Written by

Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.