REVIEW

Travel Review: Andrew Jackson's Hermitage Plantation

June 07, 2010
Aaman Lamba

There were few iconic figures in the mid-nineteenth century in post-Revolutionary America quite like General Andrew Jackson. He fought and won key battles in the War of 1812, including the Battle of New Orleans, and two-term President until 1837, he abolished the Second Bank of the United States and the founder of what came to be called Jacksonian democracy that gave rise to the Democratic Party.

After his presidency, he retired in 1837 to his Nashville plantation, the Hermitage, a cotton plantation he had acquired in 1804. This was his home until his death in 1845, and opened as a museum in 1889. This National Historical Landmark sees well over a quarter million visitors each year, and has weathered many storms, from the Civil War to a tornado in 1989 that cut across the frontage of the property, to most recently, the Great Nashville Flood.

Being in the area, I was able to visit the Hermitage. The experience was moving, to say the least. The mansion has been preserved in near verisimilitude to the Antebellum era, which as well-read readers will be aware, refers to the pre-Civil War era, and not a popular country band.

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The Hermitage is home to a small museum of personal effects, paintings, and household items of the Jackson clan.

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The 200-plus year old plantation is an archaeological treasure trove, with many in situ items found as a remembrance of times past.

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The mansion is further into the grounds. It is a colonial-style structure, costing about $6000 at the time, with the costliest item being Rachel's grand piano at $450.

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The rooms themselves are sealed behind glass and the original items are placed almost as they would have been back in the day. The decor is almost contemporary, showing that design trends are quite cyclical.

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Behind the mansion is the English four-square garden that was laid out by the General for his wife, although she did not quite get to enjoy it The garden also has the family tombs, as well as that of Uncle Alfred, loyal retainer, and slave who stayed on post-Emancipation and was guide in the early years of the museum.

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The larger plantation has a cotton patch, a wagon trail past the slave dwellings. and an archaeological trail.

Aaman Lamba is the Publisher of Desicritics.org, a Blogcritics network site. He also blogs, more infrequently nowadays, at Audit Trails Of Self
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Travel Review: Andrew Jackson's Hermitage Plantation

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Author: Aaman Lamba

 

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