Belle Meade Plantation
5025 Memphis-Bristol Highway
Nashville, TN 37205Phone:
Before the Civil War, the 1853 Greek Revival mansion Belle Meade flourished; today, bullets from the Battle of Nashville scar the house, used as Confederate Gen. Chalmers' headquarters.
Once one of the largest private estates in Nashville encompassing 5,400 acres and home to five generations of the Harding-Jackson family, Belle Meade Plantation today is a 30-acre historic site 6 miles west of Nashville. Before the Civil War, Belle Meade flourished; today bullets from the Battle of Nashville scar the house.
Known as "Queen of the Tennessee Plantations," Belle Meade was widely known for its horses. Owner John Harding, who expanded the home from its original log cabin, loved horse racing and bred horses to win. He was also a supporter of the Nashville Female Academy. His son Gen. William Giles Harding became expert in the breeding of Thoroughbreds. He was the first man in Tennessee to use the auction system for selling Thoroughbreds and won more purses than any man in America.
Belle Meade had a large population of slaves, many of whom developed specialized skills as tradesmen, while others became jockeys, trainers, and groomsmen. Best known among them was Robert Green, head groomer, much sought after for his knowledge of horses. After the Civil War, he stayed on as a valued--and the highest paid--employee.
During the Battle of Nashville, Belle Meade's front yard was the site of skirmishes, and the mansion was riddled with bullet holes. It served as headquarters for Confederate Gen. Chalmers.
Visitors to the mansion through the years included Andrew Jackson, President and Mrs. Grover Cleveland, Robert Todd Lincoln, General U.S. Grant, General William T. Sherman, General Winfield Scott Hancock, and Adlai E. Stevenson.
Experience frontier life of 1819 through living history demonstrations at the Harding Cabin. Demonstrations available every Friday and Saturday April through October. Guided tour of the 1853 Greek Revival mansion available year round.
Belle Meade Plantation also produces hams and honey. The restaurant, Martha's at the Plantation, open from 11 am to 2 pm daily, sets the standard for locally raised seasonal food with a network of farmers and organic suppliers. The Harding Garden, Martha's on-site urban farm organically supplies the restaurant with heirloom tomatoes, purple okra, sweet corn, rainbow chard, herbs, peppers and more. Martha's: 615-353-2828
- "Queen of the Tennessee Plantations," Belle Meade was known world-wide for thoroughbred horses.
- Once one of the largest private estates in Nashville and home to five generations of the Harding-Jackson family.