Larry Schumaker's influence on Murfreesboro's architecture memorialized in book

Jan 17, 2018 at 02:30 pm by Voice Wire

As Larry Schumaker’s health declined, Andrea Loughry, Susan Loyd, Amy Jaramillo and Lisa Sims decided that it was fitting to assemble a memoir book of the many properties in Rutherford County that his creative genius touched.

Unfortunately, his death came sooner than expected and our project became a memorial to him.

“I believe good local history grows out of the efforts of individuals who are inspired to recognize and share significant accomplishments of people with extraordinary talent and vision. Larry Schumaker’s contribution cannot be overemphasized when trying to understand and document our vibrant architectural landmarks,” Sims said.

Designer Larry Schumaker, a native of Detroit, Michigan, was a master sculpture, painter, architect, interior designer and landscape designer.

He moved to Nashville as an associate designer at Dan Burton Interiors. In the 1960’s Murfreesboro native Ed Delbridge, met Larry and hired him to design and remodel the Delbridge Building at 125 N. Spring St., which was home to Delbridge Photographic Studios and fashion shop Katie Delbridge Fashions.

Schumaker traveled and studied extensively in Italy after college, always appreciating the beauty of that country, especially its historical significance.

Because of these years in Europe, his design style became quite classical, as shown in the columns, arches, rotundas, and colonnades that he incorporated in such buildings as the Murfreesboro's City Hall, the Rutherford County Judicial Building, and the Center for the Arts.

With his love of interior design, Schumaker also worked magic.

His rooms were smart, stylish, comfortable and charming. Some projects were grand; in these, he wove sweeping stairways, huge chandeliers, galleries and heavy crown molding. People adored his designs, and he was always in demand by local homeowners.

“Larry created the exteriors of the bookends of our historic downtown," Andrea Loughry said.

He influenced the facade of City Hall, which was built in the early 1990s, to the south and the entrance to the current Rutherford County Judicial Building on the north side of the Square, Loughry said. The design elements were also carried through to the new judicial center and parking garage on Lytle Street.

"Larry was the professional responsible for making our façade and our interiors blend into Rutherford County’s late 1800s Public Square as he had done with the City Hall. Our townhouse was his last interior/exterior design project before his health declined and he shifted his focus to visual arts,” she said.

The memorial will be housed in the Historical Research Room on the second floor of Linebaugh Library, Director of the Rutherford County Library System Rita Shacklett said.

“We are privileged to share his work with the Linebaugh Historical Research Room where documents may be studied but not checked out,” Susan Loyd said.

Shacklett explained the research room contains materials from Rutherford County and the surrounding counties along with resources for Tennessee historical and genealogical research including records from the areas along the migration routes from the Eastern United States to the South. 

Photo Caption: Andrea Loughry, left to right, Amy Jaramillo, Lisa Sims, and Rita Shacklett hold the book, "Lawrence H. Schumaker: Influenced the Look of Rutherford County," at Linebaugh Library.