Jefferson Candlelight

Jefferson Playhouse and Ruth Lester Memorial

209 West Henderson Street

This is the home of The Diamond Bessie Murder Trial presented each year during the historic Pilgrimage. It was originally constructed in 1860 as a home for Robert W. Nesmith, a stage line contractor. It was sold in 1869 to the Sisters of Charity for use as a convent and school and for a short time, as a hospital. In 1875, it was sold to the town’s Jewish congregation for $2000. The adjoining structure was built for use as a synagogue, now called the Jefferson Playhouse.  The original building was used as a home for the rabbi. As Jefferson’s economy declined, many of the Jewish families moved away. Their congregation declined to a point they were unable to support a full-time rabbi.  The building was sold to the Jessie Allen Wise Garden Club in 1963 and has been lovingly cared for by its members since it was acquired by the club. Click here to purchase Candlelight Tour of Homes® tickets…