My Little Corner of the Net

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Andrew Jackson's Hermitage

I recently accompanied my wife and a group of students to Tennessee.   One of the highlights was visiting The Hermitage in Nashville.  The mansion was built by Andrew Jackson in 1819 on 425 acres of land. Jackson was a General in the army and the seventh president of the United States.

The original ground floor contained 2 Parlors, a Dining Room and the Master Bedroom.  The second floor has four large bedrooms around a large central hall.  The house has nine fireplaces and is decorated with the original period French wallpaper and contains original furniture and family possessions.

In 1831, the mansion underwent renovations.  These renovations included adding a wing on each side and two story front and rear porticos.

The new wings added a large dining room and pantry to one side and an office and Jackson's library to the other side.  A new kitchen and smoke house were also added behind the main structure.

A devastating fire heavily damaged the mansion in 1834 and the house was re-built to how it stands today including the six two-story greek columns.  These renovations also changed the existing straight staircase with the more elegant curved one.  Renovations and new furniture from Philadelphia was completed in 1837.

These floor plans are from the Hermitage website.  The walls indicated in red show the original structure prior to 1834 renovations.

Our tour began with guides in period costume sharing some history of the estate.

This is the window into Jackson's Library.  The entire front facade including the wood columns, were painted tan and sand was added to the mix to give the look of stone.

The front door is faux painted to look like a more expensive wood.
I don't know what I liked better about the entry, the curved staircase or the wallpaper?

Here is a view of the parlor/music room

This is President Jackson's first floor bedroom

President Jackson's Library is located adjacent to his bedroom.  Notice the chair at his desk - I have the miniature version.

 You can see my "Willits Take-A-Seat Collection"  by clicking  HERE

Directly across from the Library is the office.  This photo gives a great view of the original poplar floors.

 Other first floor rooms include the dining room (above) and the pantry (below)

The kitchen is located in a separate building behind the house

The tour continued upstairs.  The metal rail was added to protect the original wood one.

There is a large hall upstairs with great wallpaper that was selected by Jackson's wife and illustrates the story of Telemachus adapted from Greek literature.
The tour guide stated that upstairs hall contained large linen closets because guests would sleep in this hall if the bedrooms were full.  The wooden baseboards were faux painted to look like marble.
One of the upstairs guest bedrooms

 The plantation style home had more than 160 slaves at one point.  This is one of the slave quarters on the grounds and the picture below shows the interior.

The grounds also contained a one acre English style garden

President Jackson and his wife Rachel are laid to rest in this tomb just off the garden and as part of the family cemetery.

Here is a view of the rear porch.

The side doors to the English garden are also faux painted.

The visitors center had a great miniature model of a cabin

 We were told that they will soon be replacing Jackson's image on the twenty dollar bill with a female - Susan B Anthony, however, my vote is for this lady!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Elvis Presley's Graceland

I accompanied my wife and a group of students recently to Tennessee.  One of the highlights of the trip was touring Graceland, Elvis Presley's famous home in Memphis.

Here is the stately home from the front

and here is a photo from the rear.

Elvis and his parents purchased the home in March of 1957.  They paid $103,500 for the house and nearly 14 acres of land and began renovations.  It was said that Elvis was away from home so much that first year, that it it was different each time he came home. Renovations were complete by December of 1957 in time to celebrate Christmas.

The home is actually small by most standards.  The photo above shows the stairs in the entryway.  Visitors are not allowed upstairs.

As you enter the house the living room and music room are on the right

Gladys and Vernon, shared this first floor bedroom 

The dining room is to the left off the entryway.  The table is set with Elvis and Priscilla's wedding china.

Through the dining room you enter the kitchen.  Fairly modern and typical for its last remodel in the late 60's?  It contained one of the first microwave ovens.

The basement has the media room.  It was stated on the tour that after Elvis heard that the president had 3 televisions to keep up with current events, he wanted to do the same thing.  There was also a projector and film screen to watch movies.

Another room in the basement is the billiards room with hundreds of yards of fabric coving the walls and ceiling.  It was stated on the tour that it took seven days to install!

Back upstairs into the famous jungle room complete with a water fall.  It was said that Elvis's daughter loved this big circular chair.

After the tour of the main house, the tour continues on to the grounds and some of the out buildings.  There was a 1" scale miniature model of the birthplace and childhood home of Elvis on display.  The actual house in Tupelo Mississippi is open for tours and details his humble family beginnings.

This is a photo of the inside of the birthplace home in Tupelo Mississippi.

There are literally hundreds of items on display of the Graceland Estate.
One of the displays that caught my eye were these original renderings that the interior designer did for the first renovations of Graceland back in 1957.

Across the street from Graceland is huge museum that contains many of Elvis's vehicles, and artifacts and clothing.

The gates to the estate.  The brick walls around the estate are covered with thousands of fan signatures.

The article below came across my Facebook feed.The article is about a 1" scale miniature version of Graceland from an Elvis Presley fan in the Netherlands.  I was surprised at the the detail and how much the rooms look like the actual rooms at the estate.