Ruralia Home in Rugby Tennessee


Ruralia is a privately owned home in the historic town of Rugby, Tennessee. Rugby was founded in 1880 by British author Thomas Hughes as a cooperative agricultural community free of class distinction that was prevalent in England. Many English style homes were built in the community during the early 1880’s, including Ruralia. Ruby’s rise and fall came quickly. By 1881, over 70 Victorian buildings graced the town site with over 300 residents. Visitors from both America and England traveled to this small utopia, finding accommodations in the grand Tabard Inn until it burned in 1884, signaling the demise of the town. Along with the town’s financial troubles, land title problems and harsh winters, many residents left Rugby to make their lives elsewhere. Few stayed behind to tend to the town. Today, Ruby has revived due to its unique beginnings and the homes there have undergone significant restoration.

Ruralia is one of those magnificent homes that were restored to its 1880 charm. Leatherwood, Inc. was contracted to conduct the restoration because of their vast experience in historic work and the knowledge of its owner, Vic Hood.  “To start with, we had to remove a 20th century addition to ensure period accuracy” said Hood. “It was critical to the owner to ensure historic accuracy as much as possible while integrating 21st century living conveniences” he added.

At the top right is the oldest known photograph of Ruralia. The restoration began in 2005 and completed in 2006. Leatherwood had to repair all of the rotten window seals and doorways, repair the stone footings, repair and replace floor and ceiling joists as well as repair the roof.

After the repairs were completed, Leatherwood added modern electrical and plumbing conveniences to the interior all while maintaining an eye toward historic preservation. All new additions were blended with the old world structure.

As a final gesture of preservation, the external 20th century additions that were removed at the beginning of the project were donated to the local Habitat for Humanity.