Larry Gatlin shares memories of 200-year-old cabin to be disassembled in Brentwood

Larry Gatlin
Posted at 9:10 PM, Jul 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-15 22:10:08-04

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (WTVF) — A 200-year-old cabin in Brentwood will be disassembled starting next week. A very familiar name in country music reached out to share his family once lived in the cabin before it belonged to the city.

"This will always make us smile when we think about this place," said country music singer, songwriter and Grammy winner Larry Gatlin.

"That's one of my favorite shots of the house in the background," said Janis Gatlin, flipping through pictures taken of her husband outside the log house known as Brentvale Cabin. "We had three-wheelers and horses and go-carts."

It was 1978 when Janis took Larry on a drive. They went down Old Smyrna Road to see the log house for the first time.

"She made me close my eyes," Larry laughed. "When she pulled in that gate, made me open my eyes, I said, 'that's our home.'"

In the years before moving out there, Larry and Janis worked hard in many jobs. Larry was now getting big hits and buying the house and the 90 acres around it was something they could now afford.

"The best I could do for this good woman was to provide," said Larry, turning his attention to Janis.

"What do you think about it?"

"You did a really good job providing it," she laughed.

For the next 14 years, the house played host to the greats. One old picture shows Johnny Cash in the kitchen.

Larry and Janis raised their children in the house.

"It just feels like a lifetime," said son Josh Gatlin. "It was so big. It was so grand."

Not long after the Gatlins left, the log house was moved to Crockett Park. Brentvale Cabin is now owned by the city of Brentwood.

Assistant city manager Jay Evans said problems with the house are beyond being able to be salvaged.

"It is completely compromised through wood rot," he said. "This wall has begun to bow."

City officials and the Brentwood Historic Commission said the house has to be disassembled. The work will begin Monday, though the plan is for the two chimneys to remain, and as many timbers as possible will build a new structure on the footprint.

Larry and Janis said they're glad to hear the home will remain in some form. Larry shared why his years in the house are so important to him.

"I knew I had this woman and our two wonderful kids and that sanctuary to come home to, and I'm grateful for God's providence."