This large frame house was one of the early licensed boarding houses for students. Boarding houses like this precluded the need for University dormitories initially. The house was built by Dr. DuBose for his sister-in-law Mrs. McNeely (Mattice) DuBose and named “Palmetto” to commemorate South Carolina. It housed 30 students which was a significant amount as Otey, the next largest boarding house, held only 26. In 1874, a student wrote of Palmetto, "We have splendid fare, turkey twice a week and dessert three times."
Mrs. Sessums, mother of Bishop Sessums, and her sister, Mrs. Tucker, acquired Palmetto in 1880. For many years Mrs. Tucker ran it as a combined boarding house for summer visitors and dormitory for students. When Mrs. Tucker died in 1909, Palmetto was obtained by the University. It then had a wild life. Reportedly, the matron had very little control and students used to shoot through the ceiling, playing a game called “Corners.” Freshmen were expected to dash towards the walls of the second floor while upperclassmen would shoot the center of the ceiling. However, Arthur Ben Chitty noted this was probably an exaggeration as other sources only go as far as saying a student would shoot the ceiling to wake up the house. It was likely this happened only once or twice.
Palmetto was razed in 1931. When it was being demolished, a championship ball marked "C.B. Ames, 1884" won by the Hardee Second Nine (baseball team) was found in the wall.
Gailor, C. (1970). Old Sewanee Houses; The First Fifty-Years, 1860-1910. Unpublished manuscript, Sewanee: The University of the South, Sewanee.
Chitty, A. B. (1978). Sewanee Sampler. Sewanee, Tennessee: The University Press.