In 1896, entrepreneur Clay Faulkner told his wife Mary he'd build her "the grandest mansion in Tennessee" if she would move next to their woolen mill, 2-1/2 miles from downtown McMinnville.
Mary agreed, and Faulkner supervised construction as enthusiastically as he promoted the mill's "Gorilla Pants" (so strong even a gorilla couldn't tear them apart) and mineral water at the Faulkner Springs Hotel, the "ideal health and pleasure resort" he would eventually open on the lake across the road.
Faulkner's solid-brick, 10,000-square-foot mansion had all the "modern conveniences" when it was built -- electric lights, indoor plumbing, central heat, and more. That's one reason PBS dubbed it "Tennessee's Biltmore."
Today, the mansion is filled with museum quality Victorian antiques, and some say it's presided over by a friendly ghost -- perhaps the proud builder himself.
It's open seven days a week year round for guided historic home tours, delicious meals and 1890s shopping in the Victorian Gift Shop and Tea Room, interactive entertainment shows with meals and tours for motorcoach groups, weddings and other special events -- all of which live up to Falcon Rest's well-earned reputation as "the Victorian mansion where history is fun."
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