The Hermitage in 1905

The Hermitage

Nashville, Tennessee

by Sarah E. Mitchell

The Hermitage is a fine example of Greek Revival architecture; it also deserves fame for being the home of United States' President Andrew Jackson and his wife Rachel Donelson Jackson (born in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, my home county).

Andrew Jackson built the Hermitage for Rachel in 1819. Reportedly the site for the house was picked by Rachel and the home was built according to her wishes. At the time, Andrew had been ill and feared he would not survive Rachel, so he wanted to build her a pleasant home. (As fate would have it, Rachel predeceased her husband by many years.)

As you can see in the picture above, the Hermitage has a false front; the Greek Revival entablature rises above the roof line and the columns are roughly equal with the roof height. (At one point in the 1800's, it was written that rose vines grew on the columns. By the time that this photograph was taken circa 1905, the rose tendrils were no longer attached, though a plant of some sort is growing against the front wall.)

The Hermitage is now open to the public; see the Official Website for more information.

Notes: the picture of the Hermitage above is from Oliver Bronson Capen, Country Homes of Famous Americans, Doubleday, Page & Company, New York, 1905 (photograph edited by Sarah E. Mitchell). Some of the information comes from Laura C. Holloway, The Ladies of the White House; Or, In the Home of the Presidents. Being a Complete History of the Social and Domestic Lives of the Presidents from Washignton to Hayes -- 1789-1880. Bradley & Company, Philadelphia, and R. H. Curran & Co., Boston, 1880, pp. 228-230.

Copyright © 2003 Sarah E. Mitchell