Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage

As Lee and I travel we try to see a variety of things (National Parks, Museums, local landmarks, etc) and one thing we have added to our list this year is seeing presidential home, libraries or tombs. Really anything presidential. To be honest I was surprised when Lee mentioned Andrew Jackson was buried outside of Nashville, because I had no idea he was even from there. I wasn’t thrilled about taking the time to see his house, because I am not a fan of his, but ultimately decided to check it out and was glad that we did.

The grounds and house were extremely well kept and even though we couldn’t take pictures inside the house itself I enjoyed seeing it. Almost everything in the house is original, and the tour took us upstairs which many of them don’t do. My one complaint was they glossed over many aspects of his presidency. They dealt with his being a slaveholder head on, but they mentioned next to nothing about his forcing the Native Americans out of Florida and Georgia and being president during the Trail of Tears. This post is not meant to be a referendum on his presidency, however, I am just going to share the pictures and say I did feel the value of what we saw was largely worth the admission price.

Andrew and Rachel
Jackson was orphaned at 14 but became a military man and became a hero at the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812
As the Seventh President he was the very first who was “common” and he was very popular with the people.

One of the most interesting things I learned about Jackson was how supportive he was of his wife. They never had children and he was her second marriage. He adopted her relatives when she had family members die and ultimately they inherited his house. There was some irregularity about the timing of their marriage and the society women in Washington D.C. largely ostracized her, which he always felt led to her death. From everything I saw and read he was completely devoted to her and did everything he could to make her happy.

The grounds are relatively large and we were able to walk through them
My favorite thing that I saw was this spring house. Cool water from the spring ran underneath which kept it cool enough they could store food.

Unfortunately he was not a kind slave owner. He was adamantly against ending slavery because he felt it would break apart the country and when he died some years before the Civil War he did not free any of his slaves as other landowners did. According to what we read, his slaves all left the area as soon as they were freed and the only reason the grounds and house were undisturbed during the war was because both sides admired him as a military hero and former president.

Because the tours were timed for COVID, we walked the grounds first. Unfortunately his tomb was completely covered and actively being restored but we were able to see the family graveyard and peek in.

This gravestone was in the family graveyard and is the coolest tombstone I have ever seen.

I didn’t expect much from the gardens but they were actually really pretty. All local flowers and beautifully tended, it was a small area, but pleasant to walk through while we were waiting for our tour.

When it was our turn to take the tour we went in the house and right away I noticed the wallpaper. It was incredibly beautiful and hand painted and looked practically new. The house itself was built in two pieces (first the main house and then the wings) and as I stated we were able to see all the original furnishings which was really nice. Here are some pictures supplemented by some that came from our guidebook.

The tour guides were all dressed in traditional costumes, which was a nice touch.
The foyer was gorgeous, especially the spiral staircase
Dining Room
The kitchen was a separate building. Common for the time because of fires.
The smokehouse was actually fascinating. We pushed a button and heard them explain how pigs ran wild in the fields and they would covered them in salt in one of these troughs for several months and then smoke the meat.

Again I felt the tour and grounds were worth the $25 price tag and the gift shop was a really nice one as well. Lee bought this shirt which really suits him!

Update: Turns out James Polk is buried in Nashville also and we totally missed that. Need to do a better job researching in future but this gives us an excuse to go back to Nashville!!

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