Fire caused heavy damage last night to historic Rebel’s Rest on the campus of the University of the South.
The blaze was reported at approximately 11:30 p.m. and the Sewanee Volunteer Fire Department arrived on the scene at 11:35.
There were no injuries or damage to other buildings. The cause of the fire is not yet known; as is standard procedure, the state arson investigator is on his way to Sewanee this morning.
Rebel’s Rest has served as a university guest house for many years. It has been closed this summer and was undergoing renovations. Because of these renovations, the most historically valuable paintings had been removed from Rebel's Rest before the fire occurred. Originally built as the family home of Major George Fairbanks in 1866, the building is the one remaining campus structure from the re-founding of the university. The first post-Civil War meeting of the Board of Trustees was held there in October 1866.
“I know generations of Sewanee alumni and friends will feel this personally,” said Vice-Chancellor John McCardell. “My deepest thanks to our firefighters, who saved this great university house from being a complete loss.”