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SALE OF COLUMBIA ARSENAL PROPERTY, MAURY
JANUARY 29, 1930.—Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the
state of the Union and ordered to be printed
Mr. FISHER, from the Committee on Military Affairs, submitted the
(To accompany H. R. 2156)
The Committee on Military Affairs, to which was referred the bill (H. R. 2156) for the sale of the interest, rights, limitations, and reservations of the United States of America in the Columbia Military Academy property, situated in the ninth civil district of Maury County, Tenn., and near the town of Columbia, having considered the same, report thereon with the recommendation that it do pass.
In 1888 the people of Columbia, Maury County, Tenn., by private subscription purchased and caused to be deeded to the United States of America, 67 acres of land in the western suburbs of the town of Columbia, and approximately 2 miles from the center of said town. This property was deeded to the United States Government free of any cost or expense whatever. After the Government acquired this property it erected thereon nine brick and stone buildings of substantial character, and it was used for some years as an arsenal, but was practically abandoned in 1903 or the early part of 1904.
In 1904, second session of the Fifty-eighth Congress, Public Act No. 152 directed the Secretary of War to convey to the Columbia Military Academy this property, but with the following restrictions, limitations, conditions, and reservations:
That the Secretary of War shall be a visitor to said school and have and exercise full rights of visitation, and he shall have the right and authority in his discretion, as the public interest requires, to prescribe the military curriculum of said school, and to enforce compliance therewith, and upon refusal or failure of the authorities of said school to comply with the rules and regulations so prescribed by the Secretary of War, or the terms of the act, he is authorized to declare that the estate of the grantee has terminated and the property shall revert to the United States, and the Secretary of War is authorized thereupon to take possession of said property in behalf of the United States, and shall further reserve to the United States the right to use such lands for inilitary purposes at any time upon demand of the President of the United States.
This property was accordingly conveyed to the said Columbia Military Academy subject to the conditions, restrictions, reservations, and limitations as above set out.
This educational corporation had to put this property in condition for school use. It had to revamp and reconstruct the interior of nearly all of the buildings, put in lighting and heating facilities, putting in gymnasium and swimming pool, and general improvements of the physical properties, spending more than $100,000. This fund was raised from citizens of Columbia, the local banks, etc. The school has grown from nothing to more than 200 pupils coming from 20 States of the Union. During the life of the institution practically every State in the Union has been represented there.
The debts are maturing and the school has to pay. Also they need other buildings and other improvements to make it a progressive military school. Additional buildings and equipment are badly needed. In order to raise the money it is necessary to remove the Government reservations and limitations on this property.
In the first session of the Seventieth Congress a bill was introduced (H. R. 12479) to have this property appraised without the buildings, that the Columbia Military Academy might purchase it. It was appraised by the appraisal committee of the real-estate board of Nashville, Tenn., residing some 50 miles from Columbia, at $350 an acre, aggregating $30,214.69, this being an appraisal of the fee of the land instead of such rights as the Government held therein, and it was so stated by the appraisers, when the rights of the United States were contingent.
There has been submitted in evidence the appraisal of the presidents of the three banks living in Columbia and the three leading real estate men of that town, and they place the value of the fee of this land at $23,450 and state
That $10,000 would be a maximum value of the rights and interest of the United States of America in and to this 67 acres of land involved.
The present bill is to accept the offer of the Columbia Military Academy, a body corporate, for such rights as the Government may have in said property at the price of $10,000 in cash, and to convey the same to said corporation, the purchase price to be deposited in the Treasury for the benefit of the post construction fund.
It further appears that this school has been used continuously as a military school since the deed was originally made by the United States, that its purpose is to continue as a military school, and that it is a matter of absolute necessity to this school that these restrictions and limitations of the Government be removed from said property, that it may be refinanced so as to pay outstanding indebtedness and to raise money for additional buildings and equipment. It is a growing and progressive preparatory military school. This institution for years has had assigned to it a commissioned officer, detailed from the Army, in charge of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps, and the cadet corps ranks with the best in the military-academy circles. It has furnished many officers who saw service. It holds the highest rank among the schools of its class, and has and is furnishing many trained men in academic and military lines, and has been a contender for the rank of honor school in its annual examinations by the Government officers, but always handicapped in its rating on account of not being able, for lack of funds, to properly
equip and modernize the plant. It is a provisionally accredited school for West Point Military Academy.
Your committee believes the sum of $10,000 as offered by the Columbia Military Academy is beyond question a full and fair price for the interest of the United States Government in said property, that is, the rights herein defined, and that said offer should be accepted, and upon payment of said sum of $10,000 that the Secretary of War should be directed to convey all interest and rights of the Government in said property to the Columbia Military Academy, a body corporate.
MAURY NATIONAL BANK,
Columbia, Tenn., January 3, 1929. Hon. F.
Secretary of War, Washington, D. C. Sır: At the request of Col. I. A. Cunningham, president of the Columbia Military Academy at Columbia, Tenn., and Congressman E. E. Eslick, we, the undersigned, C. A. Parker, president of the Maury National Bank; W. B. Greenlaw, president of the Columbia Bank & Trust Čo.; H. 0. Fulton, president of the Phoenix National Bank of Columbia, Tenn., nominated and requested S. O. Thomas, H. C. Hendley, and G. P. Brownlow, our leading real estate men, to act with us in appraising the 67 acres of land embracing what is known as the Columbia Military Academy property, formerly the Columbia Arsenal property.
Having appraised this property at a sum total of $23,450, we were then requested to appraise the value of the rights of the United States of America as set out in act No. 542, Seventieth Congress (H. R. 12479).
Our committee after careful consideration unanimously decided that $10,000 would be a maximum value of the interest of the United States of America in and to this 67 acres above referred to. Respectfully,
H. 0. FULTON.
NASHVILLE REAL ESTATE BOARD,
Nashville, Tenn. Mr. A. B. TARPLEY,
Secretary Columbia Military Academy, Columbia, Tenn. DEAR SIR: In compliance with your written request of January 16, 1929, to the Nashville Real Estate Board, that we explain the basis upon which we based our figures on the appraisal made by Messrs. Carroll L. Jones, J. W. Graham, and A. P. Martin, a committee appointed by the board, at request of the Secretary of War, which request was received by us on June 1, 1928.
We were authorized to make our appraisal as to the land value alone, without regard to the buildings thereon.
Our appraisal was what we considered the land to be worth if it were going to be sold and fee simple title conveyed, and further without regard to the improvements thereon. Respectfully,
NASHVILLE REAL ESTATE BOARD, By J. B. GILLESPIE, Secretary.
Hon. W. FRANK JAMES,
House of Representatives. DEAR MR. JAMES: I am pleased to comply with your request of June 21, 1929, for a report on H. R. 2156, à bill authorizing the sale of all the interest and rights of the United States of America in the Columbia Arsenal property, situated in
the ninth civil district of Maury County, Tenn., and providing that the net fund be deposited in the military post construction fund, and for the repeal of Public Law No. 542 (H. R. 12479), Seventieth Congress.
The applicable provisions of existing law on this subject are the act of Congress approved April 23, 1904 (33 Stat. 296) pursuant to which the reservation is now held by the Columbia Military Academy, and the act of Congress approved May 26, 1928 (Public No. 542, 70th Cong.) which authorized the Secretary of War to dispose of the reservation at its appraised value.
The proposed legislation is similar to H. R. 16214, Seventieth Congress, upon which report was made on January 30, 1929. As stated therein the appraisal of the property provided for in the act of May 26, 1928, was made by the National Real Estate Board, Nashville, Tenn., and certified to June 16, 1928. The value was appraised at $30,214.69, which represented the fair market value of the land without regard to the buildings thereon. The effect of the present bill, if enacted into law, would be to permit the Secretary of War to accept $10,000 for this reservation instead of the appraised value.
I do not favor the passage of the bill.
If any additional information from the War Department is desired, I shall be pleased to furnish it. Should hearings be held upon the proposed legislation suitable witnesses will be designated to appear. Sincerely yours,
James W. Good, Secretary of War. O