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The original Dorris motor car late 1800s garage to save!


Marathon Man
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The original Dorris garage and think to be the 1st car dealers in the south is standing today and inside and out side looks like it did back in the late 1800s,.in nashville tennessee .But is to be demo for big new development .So I have been talking to city councilman and the historical commission to save the building.The plan is to move it half a mile away to marathon village it is a old car factory I have restored ,so what do you think .The company was surprisingly affordable .I have worked on other projects with movers .The building is all brick with all roof skylights and just a very cool building .The Dorris brothers designed and manufactured the first Dorris car there plus a lot more .Barry Walker

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Moving an unreinforced masonry building will be quite a feat because they can't take much deformation or shaking. There is usually not much holding the roof onto the walls.

 

You will need a good structural engineer and an expert in moving old buildings.

 

Is there any sign of the Dorris company in the building?

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Thanks for all the  post .  they can move a brick building with or without concrete floor has to be a lot of tuck pointing all the brick inside and out and have to block up all the windows for support then reinstall windows later. I have been working with them on moving a 8000st stone and brick home in the last year to marathon. the company that do this has moved lighthouses and 8 story building in new york is sounds crazy but they do it all the time .Did talk to the developers it does not work in there plan but will give money on cost of demo and hauling to dump $ 50,000 to $ 100.000 .so running the rent rate with the cost of moving and cons cost is a 3 to 4 year return on the investment based on the sq ft.  The city did not know anything about the historical significance until 3 weeks ago, And  yes mike wolf has his store at marathon village we have been long time friends 18 years ago. WE have lost so many old car factory and dealerships and old car garages in the last 10 years and try to think out of the box to save them .Back in 1986 Was 28years old and purchased the old marathon administration building and then 1992 to 1994 the marathon factory .in the hood the most dangerous part of nashville .every one said I was crazy to do that and going to go broke and get killed . 31 years later and  225000st restored and working out great.. ck out marathon village .com .  The route we plan to take is all clear only 3 traffic lights with swing arms .most the time it is to many phone-power-fiber -lines and cost is to much to move .Alot of city will do it for free in some cases.

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Marathon man - it is people like you with the foresight and genuine historic interest in preservation that make all of us who not only collect cars but preserve and write about history of all topics (I am the local village historian for the village I live in and have done a book on its history) of history proud to know that there are others like us out there. It takes a lot of persistence, being viewed as a "kook" or crazy to most , but is something that we do. We seek no recognition for what we do most of the time but just take extreme personal satisfaction knowing  that when we are dust and forgotten the structure, cars, history we saved and shared will be there for generations. My hat is off to you. thank you for sharing this with all of us.

Walt Gosden

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I am not from Nashville and am therefore not familiar with the building or the address.  I think however this building may be the original building of Cumberland Motors, the first, or one of the first, auto dealerships in Tennessee.

 

it is my understanding that the first car built by George Preston Dorris was built in the shop of his brother Duncan, as noted in the above article.  Again I don't have the address but this photo may help identify the proper building.

 

this may take a few tries to get it right, please bear with me.

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This photo is of a 1904 St Louis Motor Carriage Company 1 cylinder auto in front of Duncan Dorris' bicycle shop in Nashville.  To me it is not the same building.

 

The following letter, dated 1906, from Duncan Dorris to Preston Dorris has a header of Nashville Motor Car Co.

Automobiles, supplies, repairs and lists St. Louis "rigs that run" and FORD " the car of satisfaction"

 

I hope this information helps the perseveration of the building.

 

George Preston Dorris, III

 

DD 1906 01 12 Pg 1.tiff

DD 1906 01 12 Pg 2.tiff

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Wow, Great photo ! would love to find better photos of the nashville Dorris building that new are trying to move .I don't know anything about that photo it could have been added to the garage they were other building on the right side . Thanks a lot for the photo will blow it up and put on the wall.

Edited by Marathon Man (see edit history)
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I just purchased the cast-iron and 12 ft doors  store front of the 1800s Ellis machine shop and tons of pre- 1914 machines in memphis Tenn in the last 3mouths most have been sandblasted primed and painted and polished and clear coat and have install in the halls of the marathon factory . we finished up installing 240ft of lineshaft and hooked up most  the belts to the machines .The plan with the machine shop front is to build a new shop using old bricks and to ellis front on it on a lot I have in the village 2 story will look like the shop does now. They are going to demo the old shop in the next mouth or so ,made a deal with the demo company hope the don't break up the cast-iron columns. 

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some of the machines from ellis machine shop !The shop was packed full of machines of all kinds . and they said they never got rid of anything .The iron scraping company sold a lot to collectors and museums for 4 mouths and scraped the rest .I was lucky to get a lot and it was cheap and later .14 cents per pound.

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Marathon Man:

 I spoke to George Preston Dorris III about this thread several days ago about the building in question and he confirmed that the building in question was his great uncles garage/dealership. I believe that solicited his added information in the previous posts. George is running for the board of directors of the HCCA. He has several St Louis one cylinder cars and 2 brass era Dorris cars.

 My wife and I visited the Marathon complex several years ago. I was just able to see the Marathon auto collection through the windows. As a former machinist and lover of early machinery I applaud your efforts. We were on tour in our 1937 Buick with the 1936-38 Buick club the previous September and wished that we had planned to take the group there.

Larry

Edited by dibarlaw
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Thanks for talking to Mr. Dorris love to meet him and for the city Directory ,The spruce st  is now called 9th ave .Will be at Hershey next week may be able to meet Mr. Dorris if he is going to be there at the HCCA tent!  I alway have a orange vest on ever year looking for anything marathon on it! Give me a yell.

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On 9/27/2017 at 7:31 PM, Marathon Man said:

some of the machines from ellis machine shop !The shop was packed full of machines of all kinds . and they said they never got rid of anything .The iron scraping company sold a lot to collectors and museums for 4 mouths and scraped the rest .I was lucky to get a lot and it was cheap and later .14 cents per pound.

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Sorry to hear that some of this was scrapped. That's cool stuff. Being a farm state in Idaho, we do not have a lot of stuff like that around here.

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  • 4 months later...

The latest on the Dorris Motor Car building.  We have been inside the old factory and found the front wall is gone and a framed wood wall was added when a later building was erected in front . The back brick wall is in very bad shape, and time is against us because of tight time-frame on the demolition schedule.  The developers have been great in working with us on this project, but time and a great deal of added cost to get ready for the move was too much.  If the old Dorris factory were in a lot better shape and if the front wall were there, the cost would have worked and the rent per Sq ft. rate in the Nashville market would paid for the move in less than four years.  We sure tried to save this historic car factory.  The project manager says we can have all the bricks, doors & windows.  Our hope is to perhaps re-build the old factory using the original materials on the campus of Marathon Village.  Barry Walker  P.S. YOU CANT WIN THEM ALL !  Thanks for all your support .

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