Your Things to Do In Nashville List Must Include Exploring Frontier History

There are so many fun and historic things to do in Nashville. Visit some of these great attractions the next time you find yourself in this southeastern city.

Primarily a cotton plantation, the Hermitage's 1000 acres also provided most of the food for 140 slaves and the family. Many of the old buildings have been maintained and you can visit the slave quarters: the smokehouse with its wood troughs for salt used in curing bacon and ham, the kitchen, a freestanding building connected to the main house by a covered passageway and the first hermitage, a log cabin where the Jacksons lived before building the mansion.

The Hermitage is a formal, yet personal house. Almost all of the furnishings are original, including the magnificent wallpaper mural from France that Rachel chose for the front hall. The scene illustrates the legend of the search by Telemachus for his father Odysseus, the hero of Homer's epic poem "The Odyssey." Serene blues and greens, only slightly faded after all these years, contrast with the violence of the Greek myth, which tells of Telemachus helping his father to slay his mother's suitors.

The Jacksons were devoted to one another. Childless, they adopted her nephew Andrew Jackson, Jr., as their son and heir. His children were dear to them. The family living room is furnished with a piano the president purchased for their seven year old daughter. It cost $450 and is the most expensive piece of furniture in the house. By comparison, the painted wood chairs in the dining room cost only $2.50 apiece.

Costumed docents guide visitors through the house, answering questions and sharing gossip. The spacious first floor master suite wears heavy draperies and dark furniture purchased new in Philadelphia. A portrait of Rachel-a short, pleasingly plump woman with a pleasant face-has a place of honor over the fireplace, opposite the bed. It hangs there at Jackson's request. He took it with him to Washington, too, so that it could be the first thing he saw upon awakening in the morning and the last thing he saw at night.

Jackson was no country bumpkin. His office at the front of the house contains more than 700 books. Their pages are marked with passages he underlined and his notes in the margins. In addition, there are bound editions of the more than fifteen newspapers to which he subscribed.

A small museum features memorabilia recounting the president's personal and public life, beginning when the 21 year old Jackson arrived in Tennessee in 1788 for an appointment as a prosecuting attorney. He was elected to the Constitutional Convention. Afterwards he became the sixteenth state's first congressman and a senator. In 1824, he made his first bid for the presidency. He won the popular vote, but the Electoral College voted for John Quincy Adams in what came to be known as the "stolen election." Jackson beat Adams in 1828 and won reelection to a second term.

"Old Hickory"-the nickname given to Jackson when he decisively ousted the British from New Orleans in the War of 1812-was a man of many talents and his home is a fascinating window into our country's early years.

Article provided by Homesteader

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