Wilson Pike is a winding road in Brentwood known for its idyllic houses lined with historic stone walls.However, there’s one house that stands out among the rest — mostly because a tree has fallen on its roof.
Wilson Pike is a winding road in Brentwood known for its idyllic houses lined with historic stonewalls. However, there’s one house that stands out among the rest — mostly because a tree has fallen on its roof.
“Everything there is just like the day he left,” said Tom Wayman, a neighbor.
The house is officially located at 413 Wilson Pike, just north of Old Smyrna Road. But today, there no signs or indicators left on the property to make sure you’re at the right address.
Instead, the home is more easily identifiable by the extreme overgrowth of grass on the front lawn, the dense thicket of vines crawling all over the exterior walls, and the abandoned car with long expired plates.
Yet most striking: a full-sized tree knocked over and leaning on the house.
A Williamson County Property Assessor clerk told Brentwood Home Page on Wednesday the homeowners are listed as Robert J. and Linda H. Gropp. The family owns about 3.8-acres and the two-story, 5,488-square-foot home that sits there.
Steve Parham, who has lived in the area about 14 years, said he always noticed the house on his daily bike rides, but couldn’t recall when it was actually abandoned.
“I just remember it was always kind of an interesting place because there was always stuff in the front lawn and it was always overgrown,” he said. “I remember the people there were not concerned with keeping up appearances. So I just stopped paying attention to it.”
BHP was not able to reach either Robert or Linda Gropp after multiple attempts on Wednesday. However, Wayman — whose property abuts the Gropps — has a little keener memory of the family.
“The guy is still alive,” he said. “He lives on a farm out in the surrounding county some place. But that property [on Wilson Pike], he’s owned it forever.”
Wayman explained the original house was built in the 1960s, and to his knowledge, no one else has owned the property other than the Gropp family, who added a few renovations throughout the years.
Another neighbor who wished to remain anonymous said Robert — better known as Bobby — and his wife Linda raised a family there, their kids went to Williamson County schools, and were always approachable and willing to help out.
“Bobby was a fine man, and worked for Nashville fire department for years,” the neighbor said. “He also did work with one of the country music studios or something at one time.”
However, both neighbors described Bobby as somewhat of a “hoarder” — even before he abandoned the property.
“Oh yeah, it’s gotten worse since he doesn’t live there, but its never been a ‘show place,'” Wayman said.
“There’s just a ton of his things still there. The cabinets still have food, the liquor cabinets are still stocked. It’s pretty interesting on why somebody would do that, but I think he just doesn’t care.”
The Gropp’s indifference to the property is compounded when one looks at the property value for such a desirable location in Brentwood, with its zoning for Brentwood High and Middle, and central location to the city’s north commercial district.
In 2011, the 3.3-acre land had an assessed value of $450,500, and that figure was determined just as home prices were on the rise after the 2008 recession. Just by comparison, a home further up Wilson Pike — in obviously better shape — was priced at $531,104, according to Zillow.
Wayman said the Gropps abandoned the house in 2005, and used to come back every now and then to mow the grass or do some other maintenance-related duties. But he said recently, they have almost stopped doing that.
So why not sell the place? Wayman — who made an offer for the back acre a few years ago, but was turned down, and has seen first-hand countless house flippers try and fail to get Bobby to sell — couldn’t really say.
“I don’t think he’ll ever do anything with it,” Wayman. “He’ll just sit on it, is his plan.”
BHP checked with the Brentwood officials to see if the neglected front lawn in some way violates city codes. Planning and Codes Director Jeff Dobson confirmed the city is in the process of locating the owner to get him to address the situation.
“We have had on-going issues with the property owner over the years regarding the height of the grass,” Dobson said. “The height of the grass does violate Section 30-32 of the Code.”
All city citations carry a maximum fine of $50.
Have a news tip or story idea? Contact Brentwood Home Page reporter Jonathan Romeo at [email protected].