Nashville’s Belmont Mansion: a history lesson!

The moving spirit behind the Belmont Mansion is Adelicia Hayes Franklin Cheatham. She was born on March 15th of 1817 into a prominent Nashville family. Adelicia married her first husband, Isaac Franklin, who was a wealthy business man and a plantation owner. She was 22, and he was 50. They had four children together, all of whom died before they turned 11 years old. After they were married for 7 years, Isaac died unexpectedly of a stomach virus while he was visiting one of his plantations in Louisiana. When he died, his estate included but was not limited to 8,700 acres of cotton plantations in Louisiana, Fairview (a 2,000 acre farm in Tennessee), more than 50,000 acres of undeveloped land in Texas, stocks and bonds, and 750 slaves. In 1846, when she was only 29 years old, Adelicia was independently wealthy and had a total worth of about $1 million. On May 8th of 1849, she married Joseph Alexander Smith Acklen, who was a Mexican War hero and a lawyer from Hunstsville, Alabama. Together, they built the Belmont Mansion. Construction was completed in 1853. The structure was built in the style of an Italian villa and was set amidst a multitude of elaborate gardens. There were numerous outbuildings, including a water tower that still stands today. The water tower was responsible for providing irrigation for the gardens and supplying water to the fountains. A 200 foot long greenhouse and conservatory stood in front of the water tower. Also on the grounds were an art gallery, a bowling alley, a zoo, a bear house, and gazebos that are still standing today. Adelicia opened the estate to the citizens of Nashville to enjoy the zoo since there were no other public zoos in the city at the time. Joseph died on September 11th of 1863 in the midst of the Civil War while he was managing Adelicia’s land holding of Angola plantation in Louisiana. At the time of his death, there were 2,800 bales of Acklen cotton, worth literally a fortune, in storage. Afraid of losing her fortune to destruction of theft, Adelicia undertook a very risky trip to Louisiana with a female cousin to negotiate the illegal sale of her cotton to a broker in Liverpool, England for $960,000 in gold. In 1867, she married Dr. William Cheatham, a prominent Nashville physician. Their wedding reception took place at Belmont Mansion with about 2,000 guests in attendance. By the 1880s, she began spending more time in Washington, D.C. with Pauline, her only surviving daughter. In 1887, she sold the mansion to a land development company after she moved to Washington, D.C. permanently. She contracted pneumonia on a shopping trip to New York City and died in a Fifth Avenue Hotel later that year. Her body was then returned to Nashville so she could be buried in the family mausoleum at the Mount Oliver Cemetery. The Belmont Mansion was purchased by two women from Philadelphia in 1890 and opened as a girl’s school. Later, after merging with Nashville’s Ward Seminary, the school was renamed Ward-Belmont and became an academy and junior college for women. The school’s ownership changed again in 1952 and became the present-day Belmont University. Nashville’s Belmont Mansion is a must-see attraction for anyone who is interested in Tennessee history, the Civil War, architecture, art, and decorative arts. Adelicia and Joseph Acklen, who were once among the richest citizens of Nashville, built the Italian Villa house in 1853. Belmont was part of a larger country estate created as a summer getaway from the Louisiana Plantations of the family. The Acklens were not immune to the trouble of the war, despite their wealth. In December of 1864, the 4th Corps of the Union Army occupied the house and grounds before the Battle of Nashville. A significant majority of the rooms in the Belmont Mansion have been carefully restored, including but not limited to the display of original furnishings, statuary, and artwork.

  •  Hours:
    • Monday – Saturday (10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.)
    • Sunday (12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.)
    • Tours begin every half hour
    • The lat tour begins at 3:30 p.m.
    • Opening at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 29th due to the Music City Marathon
  • Admission:
    • Belmont University Faculty, Staff, and Students: Free with Belmont ID
    • Children (under 6): Free
    • Youth (6 – 12): $3.00
    • Seniors: $11.00
    • Military: $11.00
    • Adults: $12.00
    • Group Rate: $10.00
  • Tours:
    • Start every half hour
    •  Last about an hour each
      • Standard tour:
        • No minimum number of guests
        • No reservations needed
        • $12.00 per person
      • Group Tours:
        • Groups of 15 or more guests
        • Reservations are required
        • $10.00 per person
      • Curator’s Tour:
        • Reservations are required

        • $20.00 per person

      • Art Tour:
        • Reservations are required

        • $20.00 per person

      • Gardens and Grounds Tour:
        • Reservations are required

        • $20.00 per person

      • A Lasting Impression Tour:
        • Reservations are required

        • $20.00 per person

      • Battle of Nashville Tour:
        • Reservations are required

        • $40.00 per person


Posted in Historic Places | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Hermitage in Nashville: a history lesson!

  • Seasonal Hours:
    • Day before Thanksgiving hours (9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.)
    • Christmas Eve Hours (9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.)
    • Open every day of the year except Thanksgiving and Christmas
    • October 16th – March 14th (9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.)
    • March 15th – October 15th (8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)
  •  Admission:
    • General Admission:
      • Children (5 and under): Free
      • Active Military: Free
      • Youth (6 – 12): $10.00
      • Veterans: $10.00
      • Students (13 – 18): $15.00
      • Seniors (6 and up): $17.00
      • Adults: $20.00
      • Family Pass (2 adults + 2 children/students under 18): $54.00
      • Includes:
    • Multimedia Experience:
      • General Admission cost + $8.00
      • Includes:
        • An upgraded device to enhance your visit with period images, maps of the property, and an interactive timeline that is not available anywhere else on the tour
        • A 10% discount in the Museum Store
    • VIP Admission:
      • All general admission amenities + the following:
      • A 1.5 hour guided VIP Tour through the grounds of the mansion with an experienced guide and a small group of visitors
      • Special access to the mansion balcony
      • Guided tour of the grounds, Jackson’s tomb, and gardens
      • Limited group size
      • Currently being offered at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays
      • $50.00 per person


Posted in Historic Places | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

First Saturday Art Crawl in Nashville!

If you are a lover of art, make sure you mark your calendar for the first Saturday of every month, when art galleries throughout downtown Nashville host receptions and art openings. Over a thousand people attend this extremely popular event every month. Presenting local and world-renowned artists and artwork, the galleries offer rare opportunities to view diverse exhibitions, featuring every genre of art. With free admission, the First Saturday Art Crawl is a festive atmosphere with participating venues located along Fifth Avenue of the Arts and in the Historic Arcade, all of which welcome the community to experience downtown Nashville as a center for art.  Most of the galleries that participate also serve free wine and other refreshments. Exhibits change out each month and additional galleries are often added to the list. For updates, be sure to subscribe to Downtown Details. View a list of all of the art galleries located downtown and watch for more galleries to open soon! This growing arts community is one of downtown’s treasures. The gallery crawl is a great free night on the town! Click here to see the Gray Line Trolley stops and map of where the galleries are located. For parking options, please use the online interactive parking map. SP+ is offering an $8 rate to art crawl attendees at their 5th Avenue of the Arts Garage, which is located at 147 5th Avenue North. You must pay for parking in advance (1. Select the date of the crawl; 2. Use promo code: ARTCRAWL). Are you interested in showcasing your own artwork? Artists should contact the individual galleries directly. Each gallery has their own submission requirements and guidelines, all of which can be found on their individual websites. If this information is not posted on their website, please contact the gallery via phone. Links to the galleries’ websites can be found here.

  • 2017 Art Crawl Dates:
    • Saturday, January 7th
    • Saturday, February 4th
    • Saturday, March 4th
    • Saturday, April 1st
    • Saturday, May 6th
    • Saturday, June 3rd
    • Saturday, July 1st
    • Saturday, August 5th
    • Saturday, September 2nd
    • Saturday, October 7th
    • Saturday, November 4th


Posted in Events | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Things to know about the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville!

  • Hours:
    • Tennessee State Museum:
      •  Tuesday – Saturday (10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)
      • Sunday (1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.)
      • Closed: Mondays, New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day
    •  The Military Museum:
      • Tuesday – Saturday (10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)
      • Closed: Sundays, Mondays, New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day
    • The State Capitol:
      • Open for guided tours Monday – Friday (9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.)
      • Closed: Holidays
  • Admission:
    • Admission to the museum’s permanent exhibits, the Military Museum, and the State Capitol is always free
    • Most temporary exhibits are also free, although admission may be charged to some
  • Photography:
    • Allowed in the museum
    • Flash must be turned off
    • Some special exhibits prohibit photography
    • When a special exhibit prohibits photography, a sign will be posted at the beginning of the exhibit stating the ban
Posted in Historic Places | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Nashville’s Belle Meade Plantation: a history lesson!

“Belle Meade” translates to mean beautiful meadow in old English and French. Founded in 1807 by John Harding, the property began with just a single log cabin and 250 acres. The estate quickly grew to become a 5,400 acre thoroughbred horse farm complete with a Greek Revival Mansion, deer park, train station, and rock quarry which supported five generations of owners, their servants, and enslaved workers. Today, Belle Meade Plantation, which has a rich history, retains 34 acres of its original property and several outbuildings, including the Mansion and original homestead.  Today’s site functions as an educational resource dedicated to the preservation of Tennessee’s Victorian architecture, history, and equestrian history. Belle Meade Plantation is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with some exceptions, including Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Visitors can enjoy tours, educational outreach programs, wine tastings, dining, weddings, shopping, and other events, knowing that their partonage supports the educational mission of the Belle Meade Plantation.

Posted in Historic Places | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A little bit about the Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville!

  • Hours:
    • Open 7 days a week
    • 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
    • Reduced hours/closed on certain Holidays
    • Please call to confirm your visit
  • Admissions:
    • General admission: $18.95
    • AAA: $17.95
    • Military: $17.95
    • Seniors: $17.95
    • Youth (6 – 15; with adult admission): $14.95
    • Children (5 & under; with adult admission): Free
    • Purchase tickets here
    • Group rates
  • Café:
    • Open 7 days a week
    • 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
    • Menu
Posted in Historic Places | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Downtown Nashville’s Otaku Ramen! (iMovie)

For dinner tonight, my boyfriend and I went to a little place in downtown Nashville called Otaku Ramen. Be sure to check out my video!

Posted in Food | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The statue of Athena: the most widely known attraction of Nashville’s Parthenon!

In the 1920s, the Parthenon was rebuilt in Nashville‘s Centennial Park as a full-scale replica of the ancient Grecian Parthenon with one very large exception. The enormous statue of the Greek goddess Athena was left out of the replica. In 1982, after six other sculptors submitted their proposals to recreate the Athena statue in Nashville, the city of Nashville commissioned Alan LeQuire to build a full-scale replica of Athena Parthenos. Soon after LeQuire was commissioned, a group of citizens formed the Athena Fund. Starting with money accumulated over the years from the nickles and dimes of school children and tourists, the Athena Fund eventually began to grow rapidly through private as well as commercial donations. There is a colorful history behind the original Athena Parthenos. Pheidias, who is considered the greatest sculptor of classical antiquity, constructed the original Athena Parthenos on a wooden framework with carved ivory for skin and a gold wardrobe. The statue was unveiled and dedicated in either 438 or 437 BC. This date can be almost pinpointed because of the building accounts of the temple as well as other equally important sources. For example, there are ancient authors, such as Pausanias, who referred to the incredible Athena statue in writings. Athena also appears on Athenian coins of the second and first centuries BC. Later, the Romans copied the statue in small-scale. Even today, on the Acropolis of Athens, you can see the outline of Athena’s base on the floor of the Athenian Parthenon. All of this evidence culminates in LeQuire’s representation of Athena. The replica of the Athena statue was constructed from 1982 to 1990. After exhaustive research, LeQuire created two small-scale versions of the statue out of clay. First, he created a 1:10 model from clay. Later, he sculpted a 1:5 scale model. From this later model, LeQuire spent about three years enlarging and casting the full-size Athena Parthenos. Athena was cast out of gypsum cement in many molds and assembled inside the Parthenon. Each section was attached to a steel armature for support. For twelve years, the replica stood in Nashville’s Parthenon as a plain, white statue. In 2002, Alan LeQuire and Lou Reed were put in charge of the project of gilding the massive statue. The gilding itself too less than a month and makes Athena appear that much closer to the ancient Athena Parthenos. In addition to gilding, the project included painted details on Athena’s face, wardrobe, and shield.

Posted in Historic Places | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A little bit about the Parthenon in Nashville’s Centennial Park!

IMG_1328The Parthenon is located in the center of Nashville‘s famous Centennial Park. The building is an exact replica of the original Parthenon, now in shambles, that once stood proudly in Athens, Greece. Within the Parthenon stands the famous 42-foot statue of Athena, the Greek goddess of reason, intelligent activity, arts, and literature. Originally built for Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition, the replica of the Grecian Parthenon serves as a monument to what is considered to be the pinnacle of classical architecture. The plaster replicas of the marble of the original Parthenon found in the Naos are direct casts of the original structures, which adorned the pediments of the Athenian Parthenon dating back to 438 BC. The originals of these powerful fragments are housed in the British Museum in London, England. The Parthenon also serves as Nashville’s art museum. The focus of the Parthenon’s permanent collection is a group of 63 paintings by 19th and 20th century American artists that were donated by James M. Cowan. Additional gallery spaces provide a venue for a variety of temporary shows and exhibits. To learn more about the 40-foot statue of the Greek goddess Athena that resides inside of the Parthenon, be sure to come back to check out my upcoming blog post! To learn more about membership with the Parthenon, click here. To learn more about educational programs and fun activities that the Parthenon has to offer, click here.

  • Admission:
    • Members: Free
    • Children (under 4): Free
    • Youth (4 – 17): $4.00
    • Adults (18 – 62): $6.00
    • Seniors (63 and up): $4.00
  • Hours:
    • Closed Monday
    • Tuesday – Saturday (9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)
    • Sunday (12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.)
  • Tours:
    • Guided tours of the Parthenon are offered for groups of 10 or more by reservation only
    • School groups are not allowed to go through the Parthenon on their own without a guide
    • Reservations must be made at least seven days in advance of your tour (reserve as early as possible; as dates and times fill quickly sometimes during the year)
    • Guided tours are offered for special audiences (tours for the sight-impaired describe the art and architecture of the building through interesting touch exercises)
    • Group tours for ages pre-k – 12th grade must be guided by a Parthenon staff member or docent leader
    • Student tours are limited to 40 students (schools wishing to bring larger groups must schedule multiple tours in a single day or over multiple days)
  • Group Admission Rates:
    • Rates apply to groups of 10 or more people
    • Metro-Davidson County Public Schools: Free
    • Adult Group: $5.50
    • Tour Company Groups: $3.50
    • Student & Senior Groups: $3.00
    • When you reserve, you will receive a Parthenon Tour Confirmation sheet via fax or email (you must bring this sheet with you on the day of your tour)
  • Galleries:
    • West Gallery
      • A Day at the Fair with the David Ewing collection
    • The Cowan Collection of American Art
  • Architectural Facts of the Parthenon:
    • The original Parthenon was carved out of Pentelic marble
    • It took the Greeks approximately 10 years to construct the original Parthenon (447 – 438 BC)
    • Nashville’s Parthenon was created from brick, stone, structural reinforced concrete, and cast concrete aggregate
    • It took the City of Nashville approximately 10 years to construct the replica of the Grecian Parthenon (1921 – 1931)
    • All horizontal architectural elements arch slightly in the center (this means that there re no true straight horizontal lines in the Parthenon; these  architectural refinements made the Parthenon look alive and flawless to the human eye; this curvature is repeated in Nashville’s Parthenon)
    • The Parthenon is 65 feet high at its apex (peak)
    • The peristyle consists of 46 Doric columns (17 on each side, 6 on each end, not including the corner columns twice)
    • All of the exterior columns incline slightly inward (the corner columns are diagonally inclined; that is, they are angled toward both sides)
    • The columns of the building differ in diameter from the ones beside them and are all spaced slightly differently
    • All of the columns share a refinement called the entasis, a slight bulge or convex curvature of the shaft (although the shaft tapers, the largest diameter is about one-third of the way up rather than at the base)
    • The interior of the Parthenon is divided into two rooms (the east room is called the Naos and it houses the statue of Athena; the Naos is 93 feet long and 63 feet wide and has a two-story colonnade around three sides; the west room is 44 feet long by 63 feet wide and is called the Treasury Room; this room housed the treasure of Athens and the Delian League)
Posted in Historic Places | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nashville’s Famous Broadway! (Photos/Slide)

If you’ve ever heard anything about Broadway in Downtown Nashville, you will know that it’s an absolutely amazing place. The sounds of talking and laughter mix with live country music to fill the air, making Broadway enjoyable and fun. This part of Lower Broadway has earned the name “Honky Tonk Highway” because it is packed full of Honky Tonks, which are fun for everyone that goes to them. Be sure to check it out my presentation to learn a little bit about Nashville’s famous Broadway!

Posted in Historic Places | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment