Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage
The Hermitage is built in a secluded meadow that was chosen as a house site by Rachel Jackson, wife of Andrew Jackson. From 1804 to 1821, Jackson and his wife lived in a log cabin. Together, the complex formed the First Hermitage, with the structures known as the West, East, and Southeast cabins. Jackson commissioned construction of a more refined house, and the original mansion was a two-story, Federal-style building built with bricks manufactured onsite by skilled people. Construction took place between 1819 and 1821. The house had four rooms on the ground floor and four rooms on the second level, each with a fireplace and chimney. The large central hallways opened in warm weather from front to back to form a breezeway. A simple portico was added later. In 1831, while Jackson was residing in the White House, he had the mansion remodeled under the direction of architect David Morrison. The new structure included flanking one-story wings, a one-story entrance portico with 10 columns, and a small rear portico that gave the house a Classical appearance.
In 1834, a chimney fire seriously damaged the house, with the exception of the dining room wing. This led to Jackson having the current 13-room, Greek Revival structure built on the same foundation as the former house. It was completed two years later. The architects for the house were Joseph Reiff and William C. Hume, who also built Tulip Grove across the road. The mansion has a rectangular layout, about 104 feet (32 m) from east to west and 54 feet (16 m) from north to south. The south front is the location of the main entrance and includes a central block with a five-bay, two-story structure with a portico supported by six modified Corinthian style, wooden columns with a simple entablature resting on the capitals. Within the portico is a second-story balcony with simple square balusters. One-story wings with single fenestrations flank the mansion and extend beyond it to the front of the portico, enclosing it on three sides. While the southern façade gives the appearance of a flat roof, the three other elevations show that the tin-covered roof is pitched. The front façade was painted a light tan, and a sand coating was added to the columns and trim to simulate the appearance of stone. A near replica of the front portico is found on the north end of the house, although it features Doric-style columns and is capped with a pediment.
The mission of the Andrew Jackson Foundation is to preserve the home place of Andrew Jackson, to create learning opportunities and to inspire citizenship through experiencing the life and unique impact of Jackson. The Andrew Jackson Foundation, a 501c(3) nonprofit organization that was originally named the Ladies’ Hermitage Association, operates the Hermitage daily. Their aim is to increase the public’s understanding of the life and times of Andrew Jackson, to discuss their relationship to events of today and to inspire citizenship and pride in our nation. The Andrew Jackson Foundation endeavors to accomplish this through preservation, interpretation, exhibition, education, research and publication. The Hermitage opened to the public in 1889. Occupying 1,120 acres, it is one of the oldest and largest historic site museums in the United States. Guests have been welcomed to The Hermitage for more than 130 years. It ranks as one of the most visited historic site museums in the country. It attracts visitors from all over the world; thus, tours are available in five languages. Nashville’s premiere historic site, The Hermitage, was once home to our 7th U.S. President, Andrew Jackson, from 1804 until his death in 1845. Remodeled by Jackson after a fire destroyed much of it in 1837, the mansion is a National Historic Landmark maintained to look just as it did in then. Costumed interpreters lead visitors through the mansion, in which more than 90 percent of the objects are original to Jackson’s lifetime. On the acres surrounding the mansion are the humble log homes where the enslaved community lived and where the Jackson family first settled.
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