Belle Meade Plantation, located in Nashville, Tennessee, is an historic Greek Revival Antebellum Mansion whose grounds now function as a museum. The plantation is located on a 30 acre site 6 miles west of Nashville. On the front of the mansion is a wide veranda supported by 6 massive square columns made of solid limestone quarried from the property.
In 1807 John Harding bought 250 acres and founded the Belle Meade Plantation. He sold blacksmith services, farm products, and lumber. He also established the stud farm business. expanding the plantation to 1200 acres.
In 1839 John Harding turned the business over to his son General William G. Harding. He was a college educated General in the state militia. Under his management, he became one of Tennessee's wealthiest men and larger landowners.
In 1853, General William Giles Harding built the Belle Meade Mansion during a time of great prosperity. Starting from a 250 acre farm that his father owned and growing into a 5,400-acre plantation that was world renowned as a thoroughbred horse nursery and stud farm. Some of the best racehorses in the south were produced here including Iroquois, the first American-bred horse to win the English Derby.
During the Civil War, the plantation became the headquarters of Confederate General James R. Chalmers. In 1864, during the Battle of Nashville, Union and Confederate forces fought in the front yard. Bullets riddled the mansion's massive stone columns and are still visible today.
The picture above is the stable and carriage house of the plantation, where a carriage for every occasion was kept.
After the Civil War buyers from all over the world would come to this first-class breeding establishment for the annual yearling sale. During this time the plantation was managed by Hardin's sons-in-law. After their deaths, financial stress forced the property to be auctioned off in 1904 ending the oldest and largest thoroughbred farm in the country.
Above is the dairy that supplied the plantation with fresh milk, cream, and cheese. The dairy wasn't very large because it was just for the needs of the plantation.
Above is a one of the slave cabins on the Belle Meade Plantation. They had two rooms and housed one family per room.
Above is the plantation greenhouse it was needed to get an early start on the gardens. Life required that you grow everything that you need to live. Only staples that couldn't be grown or made were bought. Even though they had slaves, the plantation owners still worked long days.
Below is a YouTube video about Belle Meade Plantation
There is a visitor's center on the site with a gift shop, restaurant and restrooms. This is where you need to pick up your tickets. The parking is free. Located at: 5025 Harding Pike Nashville TN, 37205 Monday - Saturday 9:00 am-5:00 pm, Sunday - 11:00 am-5:00 pm Last tour starts daily at 4:00 PM For additional information call: 615-356-0501