The Belle Meade Plantation
For Civil War buffs and horse lovers alike, this home is a must to visit. You can still see evidence of cannonballs from the Civil War in the home. As a breeding plantation for thoroughbreds, the threat of stolen horses became real, thus inspiring a slave to rotate them in fields all over middle Tennessee to avoid being captured by Union Forces. To this day, most of the horses raced in the Kentucky Derby trace back to this line of equines. Step back into time and tour this lovely antebellum home to soak up its rich history. If you’re there at the right time, you may even be able to watch some derby races!
The Nashville area is full of historical places that are both beautiful and sobering. Many of the homes open for public tours stood in the middle of one of the bloodiest scenes of American History: The Civil War. Nestled behind a neighborhood stands The Carnton Plantation. If you’ve ever heard of the book, “The Widow of the South,” it’s based off of Mrs. McGavock, who was the lady of this home. Not only was the house a barricade in the middle of The Battle of Franklin and used as an impromptu field hospital, the largest privately owned veteran’s cemetery rests upon her grounds as well. It was there that Mrs.McGavock catalogued the bodies of soldiers for their families to be able to come pay their respects to. While many folks have used the beautiful Carnton Plantation as a place of celebration for Weddings and other parties, the reminders of lives sacrificed in the fight for unity remain where the carpet that has long since been pulled up, there linger blood stained floorboards of a home that was never to be the same.
In recent years, after an FBI team did a forensics study on the Carter House, they labeled it as, “one of the bloodiest crime scenes they had ever encountered.” It’s no wonder as it served as a primary field hospital during The Battle of Franklin, hosting bodies piled upon one another, with sawed off limbs leaving blood stains halfway up the wallpaper. Cannon ball holes can be seen on the exterior of the home, offering a visual for the attack people faced in this battle. A trip down to the basement offers a sense for where the family of this home escaped the battle. Registered as a National Historic Landmark, be sure to bring your National Parks Passports so you can obtain a stamp for your trip to this piece of history.
Country Music Hall of Fame
I’m a country music fan. But, even if you aren’t, you’ll still enjoy this collection of American Musical History. From early mountain folks bringing backgrounds from each country they originally hailed to Elvis’s Gold Cadillac complete with a record player and telephone to beautiful gowns from Carrie Underwood’s collection, you’ll find lots of treasures sure to enlighten you on how our culture’s music has developed through the years.
Hatch Show Print
If you’re on Broadway, you’ll probably be drawn into this unique little shop on your own. Hosting memorabilia posters from a long span of Music City’s history, you’ll find the nation’s oldest working print shop. Their history is deeply intertwined with the Ryman Auditorium. To have a print made by their legendary shop is an honor indeed. The quality and unique designs are second to none. Make it a point to stop by and soak in this piece of cultural delight.
One of Nashville’s greatest boasts is that it was home to seventh President of the United States, Andrew Jackson, and his wife, Rachel. After Rachel’s death (a year after his Presidential inauguration), he remodeled from afar. The beautiful Greek-Revival style house and its grounds reek of history. You almost feel like Andrew is going to be sitting on the front porch, waiting for your arrival. This valuable national treasure beckoned Civil War soldiers to pay respects to President and Mrs.Jackson’s grave and for Union Soldiers to guard the property. Be sure to bring your National Parks Passports for a stamp of Americana in remembrance of your visit.
James K. Polk’s Home
If you don’t mind driving about an hour south of Nashville, I highly recommend that you add this to your list. President James K. Polk’s home, located in Columbia, TN, is simply intriguing. Here you’ll find a very descriptive historical tour with many original belongings to the 11th President of the United States and his family. Be sure to pay respects to his burial ground at the State Capitol in Nashville as well!
You can’t go to Nashville without paying homage The Mother Church of Country Music, The Ryman Auditorium. Home to The Grand Ole Opry for over 30 years, this place has been enchanted by legends such as Johnny Cash, Elvis, Hank Williams, Mother Maybelle & The Carter Sisters, and more. You know you’re in
the presence of something great when you walk on the stage or sit on a pew in this beloved place. If you go to a music event, the unique acoustics presented by the layout of the room will be some of the most pleasant you’ll ever hear. Take a tour; enjoy a concert, or both. But whatever you do, go. Go to this wonderful place.
Here you’ll find another piece of Civil War History. This site was home to John Overton, who was one of Tennessee’s first Supreme Court Justices, as well as the founder of Memphis. Many a famous figure graced this home with their presence. Even more interestingly, it served as final resting place for many Native American skulls. This South Nashville plantation is well worth the trip for the expansion of your civil war historical experience.