Pope's Tavern Museum is housed in a building that dates back to the early 1800s. According to legend Christopher Cheatham built and operated a tavern on this site for Leroy Pope in 1811. This was seven years before the founding of Florence in 1818. Archaeological evidence suggest that the original building was burned. Apparently part of the present building was erected in 1820s. Since that time there have been numerous structural changes to meet changing needs for the building. While no firm evidence exist that this building was a tavern, there are several reasons to believe the legend. The present structure is certainly one of the oldest buildings in Florence and a prominent historical site.
At various times the building served as the home to prominent families including Charles Gookin, a businessman and city Alderman, and Josiah Patterson, a prominent lawyer and his son, who later became Governor of Tennessee.
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During the Civil War the house was used as a hospital by Union and Confederate armies. It was first used as a hospital shortly after the Battles of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson and remained in fairly constant use after early 1862. Thirty-two soldiers died in the house and were buried in the old Florence Cemetery.
Felix Grundy Lambeth, a postmaster in Florence, bought the house in 1874. It was occupied by the Lambeth family until 1965. When rumors circulated that the house was to be demolished, the Chamber of Commerce purchased the property and gave it to the City of Florence. The deed stipulated that the City would maintain and preserve the building as a historic site and that it would be used as a museum. After extensive renovation of the building by the City and exhaustive search for appropriate artifacts, the Pope's Tavern Museum was opened to the public in 1968.