New movement afoot to rename Cordell Hull Building


State Rep. Ron Gant (R-Rossville) wants to rename the General Assembly’s new office complex after former Gov. Winfield Dunn, reports WKRN-TV’s Chris Bundgaard. The building has been named after Cordell Hull, the country’s longest-serving secretary of state, since it was first constructed in the 1950s.

Dunn is a Republican, while Nobel Peace prize-winning Hull was a Democrat.

Dunn became Tennessee’s first Republican governor in 48 years when he was elected in 1970.

It’s not the first time Republicans have chafed at working in a building named after a Democrat. As the AP reported in 2017, state Sen. Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains) wanted to remove the name of “that old Democrat socialist” before lawmakers moved last year. But Sen. Ken Yager (R-Kingston) opposed the change, noting that Hull was from his district.

Hull was born in a log cabin in rural Pickett County in 1871 and served in the state House and the U.S. Senate before being named secretary of state in 1933. Poor health forced him to retire from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Cabinet in 1944.

The previous call to change the name of the Cordell Hull building didn’t gain much traction. Then-Rep. Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga) wasn’t thrilled by the idea.

“He was a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives,” McCormick said. “And as long as he wasn’t a state senator, I think it’s OK to leave his name on the building.”

No word yet on whether the effort to name the legislative branch’s office complex after a former head of the executive branch will give anyone pause.

47 Responses to New movement afoot to rename Cordell Hull Building

  • Roger Dale Williams says:

    Leave it alone!

  • Mary says:

    Renaming buildings for partisan reasons is silly. If the name of the Cordell Hull Building is changed, will it be changed back when Democrats regain the “upper hand”? I hope so. Hull is a born & bred Tennessean who is well worth remembering and honoring. Can the same be said of Winfield Dunn?

  • James White says:

    Change the name, I remember that Secretary of State Cordell Hull knew that Japan was going to attach Pearl Harbor days before it happened and also knew that Japan was going to declare war the day before it happened.
    Change the name. Good job Ron Gant!

  • John W Niven Jr says:

    Great idea, Ron Gant !!!
    If you know Winfield Dunn personally, as I do, trust me you’d be all for this !!

  • David Collins says:

    Mr. James White is misinformed. He is referring to one of many unsubstantiated conspiracy theories which is unsupported by any credible evidence not unlike: the Mafia killed Kennedy; the Russians killed Kennedy; Big Business had Kennedy killed; LBJ had Kennedy killed; the US never landed on the moon-what you saw was filmed in a Hollywood studio. There are many more just as far fetched. Now, did Roosevelt and his gang figure they were going to provoke a war with Japan? Everything points that direction. But they expected a severance of diplomatic relations first followed by a formal declaration of war by Japan. They DID NOT expect a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor and would not have sacrificed 3000 American lives voluntarily in such an attack. Winfield Dunn, while a nice guy and someone the Republican Party can be proud of simply lacks the credentials to displace someone like Cordell Hull. And I bet if you asked him, he would tell you the same thing. Pick somewhere else to name after former Governor Dunn and leave Mr. Hulls namesake alone.

    • James White says:

      David is wrong and is misleading. A tactic the left uses all the time. Place a valid argument and associate it with known lies and untruths. Shameful
      If you think Roosevelt would not advance his agenda by sacrificing lives you do not know much history.

  • Phil Lassiter says:

    Cordell Hull needed America to enter WW2. America was destined to do it-just needed a catalyst. Keep the name where it is. Whenever someone wants to name a Halsam something, substitute for Dunn.

  • Perry Aubric says:

    Dunn is a decent man and merits something being named for him. But this is petty and silly. Hull had a stellar career and Tennesseans should be proud of him. Don’t change building names for partisan reasons.

  • Misty Pardner says:

    This is a political stunt by Gant. He is having some issues in his district and fears a primary opponent. Honoring Dunn would garner a little support from some the locals and give Gant the opportunity to parade Dunn around for campaign material. For the record Dunn has several buildings and some asphalt named after him.

    The Winfield Dunn Center, built during Dunn’s tenure as governor, is home to the indoor athletic teams of Austin Peay State University.[10] Winfield Dunn Parkway, a section of State Highway 66, connects Interstate 40 with U.S. Route 441 in Sevierville. Buildings at Tennessee Technological University and the University of Memphis have been named for Dunn. The Dunn Dental Building, housing the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, is also named after Governor Dunn. A bust honoring the governor is in the clinic lobby of the Dunn Building.

    • James White says:

      I am in his district and I support this effort.

    • Bill Cox says:

      Rep Gant has no re-election issues in his district. That’s simply made up fake news.

      • Misty Pardner says:

        Disposal of deer carcasses infected with Chronic Wasting Disease is upsetting some of the locals. You, apparently, do not live near the location where they are currently burying the diseased remains.

        • Donna Locke says:

          Actually, hunters “donate” these infected dead deer to the unsuspecting “hungry.” The hunters are interested only in killing and in antler trophies. Most don’t eat what they kill. And they know about this disease.

          I don’t want my tax dollars supporting the slaughter. Hunters are mentally ill.

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  • Cannoneer2 says:

    Cordell Hull was a great Tennessean, and Winfield Dunn is a great Tennessean. I think the name needs to remain the same. We already have the Winfield Dunn Center at APSU, The Winfield Dunn Parkway in Sevierville and the Dunn Dental Building at UT, among others.

  • Beatrice Shaw says:


    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      Beatrice, sometimes you simply embarrass yourself. Isn’t there anyone around who with left-wing views but of mild temperament who can read your posts before you hit “Post Comment”?

      • Erik Schelzig says:

        A reminder to commenters: We like to take a light touch on comments, but please keep it civil and avoid personal attacks.

        • Stuart I. Anderson says:

          Erik, I believe your sensitivity meter needs to be checked, or at least recalibrated. See Perry Aubric’s comment on 11/21/2019 at 9:22 PM when he criticized right-wing James White by saying “You embarrass yourself.” The meter was silent. I criticize left-wing Beatrice Shaw in almost exactly the same way and three minutes later the meter goes crazy.

          Frankly calling John Doe an idiot is a personal attack. Telling John Doe that he should be embarrassed over what he said because of its irrationality or ignorance of the facts I do not regard as a personal attack, but your entitled to your opinion, I simply suggest the sensitivity meter be a tad less partisan and more even handed.

          • MARLE says:

            Keeping track of times and dates for the use of the word “embarrass”? oh, my.

          • Stuart I. Anderson says:

            MARLE, you do get hung up on words don’t you? What we are engaged in is not a competition as to who can get the highest grade in English Composition or Creative Writing, at least I don’t think we are. Rather, I believe this is a forum for an exchange of ideas and opinions in which case substance rather than wording, grammar or punctuation is the important thing, don’t you think?

        • Eddie White says:

          Considering some of the demeaning things that have been said on this site regarding Stuart Anderson, I think Schelzig’s comments are way late and a little biased.

  • Elmer Gantry says:

    “Always brought people together,” said Rep. Gant of Governor Dunn…”

    Governor Dunn is also credited with leading a fight against the establishment of a state-supported college of medicine at East Tennessee State University that garnered Dunn much persistent enmity in East Tennessee.

    TNGA Rep. Ron Gant apparently missed out on the extended Winfield Dunn-Jimmy Quillen conflict over the ETSU College of Medicine in Johnson City, Tennessee while studying history at Liberty University..

    • James White says:

      So Dunn was for Less Government? Sounds good to me.

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      Gov. Dunn no doubt concluded that a state medical school in East Tennessee was an unnecessary costly expenditure of the taxpayer’s money that this state could do without however much it might burnish the pride of the residents of East Tennessee. Because Ron Grant was a Liberty U. student and has an American Conservative Union rating of 83% he has an appreciation of the fact that you can oppose what you regard as an unnecessary pork barrel projects while at the same time governing in a manner designed to establish consensus among the vast majority of people.

  • Hugh Brooks says:

    Obviously a State Rep with too much time on his hands.

  • Joe Benedict says:

    You would think our lawmakers had much bigger things to do than this (e.g. rename buildings, remove statues, relocate graves, etc.). We deserve better – we have living people that need our help and we play with this.

  • Beatrice Shaw says:

    The medical schools should be free so we have more physicians to do more for indigent citizens. We have more than enough tax money for free colleges

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      Oh, how you leftists so love the word “FREE” as though anything as costly as medical school is “FREE.” What an absurd sense of justice and fairness you have. You are seriously proposing that taxpayers pay for the education of physicians who will almost certainly have an income many, many times greater than the average taxpayer and that to you is a reasonable outcome.

      If you want to encourage more people to become physicians by all means build more medical schools and find ways to increase the income of physicians, for example, by reducing the amount they must pay for insurance by setting reasonable limits on damages regarding medical liability lawsuits. Those attending medical school, however, should pay most of the cost of medical schools.

    • James White says:

      Our education system is producing socialists (as designed). Have you listened to the socialism spouted by the Democratic Presidential candidates. “Free” college, “Free” health-care, “Free” debts paid off, “Free” internet, FREE EVERYTHING.

      And I agree with Stuart, except that “free” healthcare means Doctors/Nurses will not get greater income it will be sub standard because they will be paid by the Government. No one will want to go to school for that long to make average income.

      • Eddie White says:

        You better get used to it Mr. White..if Trump is not re-elected it will be the official policy of a new administration and they will have the support of the House of Representatives. See what that does for your constitutional concerns…

  • Beatrice Shaw says:

    I’m not a leftist and you are well aware that we have enough money to defer medical school expenses to insurance companies or large corporate interests for the service doctors give without doctors you cannot have corporations

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      OK, as you wish, you are not a leftist, it’s simply curious almost every comment you make expresses a left of center view. If you weren’t aware of that fact, than I’ve accomplished something today by making you more self-aware.

      This is a rich country, I believe our gross national product is over $19 trillion. SO WHAT? The question is never how rich we are but rather where the cost of goods and services should fall. Those on the left believe in the maximum amount of communal control and ownership and the bearing of costs. Those of us on the right believe in the maximum amount of individual control and ownership leading to a maximum amount of individual freedom while to as great an extent as possible those directly benefiting from goods and services should ultimately pay the cost. Call it a fundamental difference in worldview.

  • Phil Lassiter says:

    Dang. This post hit some nerves

  • Michael Lottman says:

    Renaming the Cordell Hull for no earthly reason is an insult to a great Tennessean and a great American. I am sure Gov. Dunn would have nothing to do with this idea. For once, let’s just pass up the opportunity to make ourselves look like idiotss before the whole country and beyond.

  • Eddie White says:

    I think highly of Gov. Dunn. I remember his election in 1970. My family in Smith County supported him. I have talked with Gov. Dunn several times over the years. Having said that, I don’t think there is a need to rename the Cordell Hull Building.

  • Gail Baldwin says:

    Mr. Anderson and Mr. White typically use this space to venture into divisive rhetoric. Gentlemen, please speak to the topic at hand. Cordell Hull was a great Tennessean and a great American. His name is known across this great land, and not for his party affiliation, but for his actions before and during WWII. We would all do well to be known for our positive impacts on our state and country if we were less known for our party affiliation. America is more that a collective of Republicans and Democrats. In an effort to heal this nation let’s make an effort to be Americans first; think of all the problems that would solve. During this week of Thanksgiving let’s put aside our differences and celebrate the great nation we are and appreciate that we stand on the shoulders of men like Cordell Hull.

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