The home of Andrew Jackson, known as The Hermitage is a historic site just 12 miles east of downtown Nashville. It is a National Historic Landmark. The original Hermitage mansion was a two-story, eight-room, Federal-style brick building built with skilled slave labor and completed between 1819 and 1821. In November 1828, Jackson was elected 7th President of the United States; however, his wife Rachel died the following month.
In 1831 Jackson had the mansion remodeled and also had a “temple & monument” for Rachel’s grave constructed in the garden. Many of Jackson’s furnishings and mementos are preserved in the house. Each year, the home receives more than a quarter million visitors, making it the fourth most-visited presidential residence in the country (after the White House, Mount Vernon, and Monticello).
Tennessee State Capitol
Located in Downtown Nashville the Tennessee State Capitol is a National Historic Landmark. Designed by Philadelphia architect William Strickland, it is one of Nashville’s most prominent examples of Greek Revival architecture and one of only eleven state capitols that does not have a dome.
The cornerstone was laid on July 4, 1845 and the building was completed fourteen years later during 1859. The American Society of Civil Engineers has listed the building as a civil engineering landmark in recognition of its extensive use of stone and structural iron. Some interior columns were built from single pieces of stone, requiring massive wooden derricks to hoist them into place.
Strickland died five years before the building’s completion and was entombed in its northeast wall. Monuments on the Capitol grounds include statues of two of the three Tennessee residents who served as President of the United States: Andrew Jackson and Andrew Johnson. The second President from Tennessee, James K. Polk, is buried in a tomb on the grounds, together with his wife, Sarah Childress Polk.
Travellers Rest Plantation & Museum
Travelers Rest and Plantation was built in 1799 by Judge John Overton, an advisor and close friend of Andrew Jackson. The plantation building was saved from demolition and restored in 1954 to become a museum. Today the museum houses exhibits that document the life and work of John Overton, the history of the Overton Plantation and Nashville in the Civil War. It is located at 636 Farrell Parkway in Nashville.
Nashville is known as the Athens of the South and The Parthenon in Nashville’s Centennial Park is a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens. It was built in 1897 as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition. Originally built of plaster, wood, and brick, the Parthenon was rebuilt on the same foundations, in concrete, in a project that started in 1920.
Today the Parthenon is an art museum housing the permanent collection of 63 paintings by 19th and 20th century American artists donated by James M. Cowan. On the interior, Alan LeQuire’s 1990 re-creation of the Athena Parthenos statue is the focus of the Parthenon just as it was in ancient Greece. The Parthenon served as the location for the political rally in the climactic scene of Robert Altman’s 1975 film Nashville.
In 1849 Adelicia Hayes Franklin married Joseph Alexander Smith Acklen and they immediately began construction of Belle Monte (Belmont) on 180 acres outside of Nashville. Adelicia and Joseph used Belmont as a summer home to escape from the heat of Adelicia’s seven Louisiana cotton plantations.
Beside the 19,000 square foot house stood a guest house and art gallery. The grounds also included lavish gardens, conservatories, aviary, lake and a zoo. Despite a two-week occupation by Union General Thomas J. Wood prior to the Battle of Nashville, Belmont Mansion and its contents went undamaged during the Civil War.
Gilt frame mirrors hang over marble mantels reflecting the elaborate gasoliers and elegantly furnished parlors. Much of the original Venetian glass still adorns the windows, doors, and transoms of Belmont. 1700 Acklen Avenue, Nashville, TN 37212.