Belle Meade Historic Site

Belle Meade Historic Site and Winery, located in Belle Meade, Tennessee, is a historic mansion that is now operated as an attraction, museum, winery, and onsite restaurant together with outbuildings on its 30 acres of property. In the late 19th century, the plantation encompassed roughly 5,400 acres with over a hundred slaves. A Winery and Visitors’ Center have been constructed on the property. Preserved original outbuildings, including the original Harding Cabin where Belle Meade began, a Dairy, a Gardener’s House, a Carriage and Stable House built in 1892, one of the largest Smokehouses in Tennessee, and a Mausoleum may also be seen. Since the 1990s, the executive leadership of the site began an effort to reconcile the past and to tell the stories of African Americans who were brought to and born at Belle Meade and worked there before and after emancipation. By 2018, this emphasis resulted in developing two tours through which the story of Belle Meade is told. The Mansion Tour tells the century-long history of Belle Meade through the stories and experiences of the Harding and Jackson families, as well as the enslaved women, men, and children who were held in bondage here. The Journey to Jubilee Tour invites discussion and explores the stories of the enslaved African-Americans who were brought to, and born at Belle Meade from 1807 through the years following Emancipation.

Belle Meade is dedicated to the preservation of Tennessee’s history, architecture, hospitality, and equestrian legacy. Guests can enjoy Historic Tours, Family Tours, Wine & Food Pairings, Bourbon Tastings, and Chef-Inspired Food & Wine Pairings, knowing that the purchase of these experiences supports the educational mission of Belle Meade. Additionally, guests can explore the history and natural beauty of Belle Meade on a Guided Segway Tour of our arboretum and grounds. From the complimentary wine tastings to our on-site shopping loved by the locals, Belle Meade provides many activities for guests to be immersed in Tennessee history and hospitality.

The 14 feet (4.3 m) high central Entrance Hall runs the full length of the house from west to east, following the prevailing wind direction for natural cooling. The walls display thoroughbred horse paintings by 19th-century painters Edward Troye, Harry Hall, Henry Stull, Herbert Kittredge, and Henri De Lattre that depict some of the most famous horses. On the north end of the hall, double parlors feature poplar wood, Tennessee’s state tree. The library and dining rooms are found to the south. These rooms feature portraits of the Harding family and chandeliers that were once lit with methane gas. The central hall configuration is found on the second and third floors as well, accessed by the winding cantilevered, Second Empire-style staircase carved from cherry. The second floor contains two connected bedrooms to the north and a guest bedroom and master bedroom to the south. William Hicks Jackson, son-in-law of William Giles Harding, modernized the interior of the house in 1883, adding three full bathrooms, complete with hot and cold running water. In 1907, just after being sold, the home was outfitted with an additional bathroom complete with a surrounding needlepoint shower which was believed to help circulation and those suffering from arthritis. The third level is known as a Garret and has two single rooms flanking the central hall with 8 feet (2.4 m) high ceilings. The Mansion also has a cellar, which was uncommon at the time. It contained a steam engine and a boiler to power the hot and cold running water for the home.

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