Fate Of Conway Twitty’s Iconic Tennessee Home Revealed
The news comes as a result of the public outcry.
Conway Twitty Home; Photos Courtesy Facebook
Over the past few weeks, fans and family members of Conway Twitty have been expressing extreme sadness and disappointment over the possible demolition of the country icon’s former home in Hendersonville, Tennessee. As a result of the public outcry, a representative with the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), which owns the property, shared an important update on Wednesday (Jan. 24) via The Hendersonville Standard, revealing the company will not be demolishing the mansion after all.
The conversation surrounding the future of the former mansion arose when the property 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, according to a separate report by the Hendersonville Standard.
Conway Twitty’s Daughter Joni Spoke Out
Twitty’s daughter, Joni Ryles, was among those to speak 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, she admitted that the family would be disappointed to see the home torn down.
“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.
Plans For New Development Revealed
The local newspaper also 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 entailed 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 included 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.
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.”
A Major Concern
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.
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.
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.
Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.