Bristol, VA/TN -- Birthplace of Country Music, non-profit parent organization of Birthplace of Country Music Museum and Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival, is proud to announce it has acquired the former Automotive Service & Supply Company building, located at 516 Cumberland Street. The funding for the property was gifted to BCM from Joseph R. Gregory and his wife Cindy.
“I think everyone in the community is excited about the impending Birthplace of Country Music Museum opening later this year,” said Mr. Gregory. “Cindy and I are glad we could play a pivotal role in securing the adjoining building for the museum’s use and see it as a strategic addition to enhance the mission of the organization. We look forward to seeing how this new space expands the presentation of our region’s rich history of music and cultural heritage.”
The property was purchased from Cecil R. Hopkins, Jr., and his wife Angela. Hopkins’ father founded the business in 1935 as a United Motors Service parts franchise.
“I am happy to know the property will be restored and that the community will have a nice facility there,” said Hopkins.
According to Bristol, Virginia tax records, the two-story, 7,800 square foot structure was constructed in 1881. The application form for downtown’s inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places indicates it was built circa 1900 and further reveals it was used as a grain, feed, fertilizer and cement warehouse in its early years. Later, the building housed an automobile dealership with the upper level utilized for automobile service by lifting the vehicles on a platform freight elevator that is reported to still be in working order. Hopkins confirms the building was the Bristol Motor Company Buick dealership.
“This building will play a major role in the future growth of Birthplace of Country Music,” said Leah Ross, executive director. “We are fortunate to have community leaders like Joe and Cindy Gregory who support and believe in our mission.”
Mr. Gregory is president and CEO of Gregory Management Company, LLC, an investment management firm located in Bristol, TN. Mr. Gregory is well known for his dedication to preservation. He purchased and began restoration of the Old Tennessee Post Office and Custom House in Bristol, in 1999. His projects have included serving on the Board of the Bristol Train Station during the period of its restoration and the preservation of the E.W. King building, located on the corner of Shelby & 7th Street. Both of these sights are designated sites on the National Register of Historic Places.