This historic house was the summer residence of Adelicia Acklen and her family in 1853-1887.
Acklen was the wealthiest woman in Tennessee and a plantation owner after the death of her first husband. She built this mansion with her second husband from 1849 to 1853.
Besides the 36 rooms Italian villa-style house, it contained a guest house with a bowling alley, art gallery, lavish gardens, water tower, greenhouse conservatories, aviary, lake, and a zoo.
Acklen opened the zoo to the public since there weren’t public zoos at this time.
In 1890 it was bought by two women from Philadelphia who converted the house to a girls’ school, which later became present-days Belmont University.
Today, the mansion is one of the largest house museums in Tennessee and one of the few 19th-century homes in the US whose history revolves around the life of a woman.
A visit to the house will bring you back in time to the life of a celebrity in the 19th century. On display are in the many rooms are unique furniture, Acklen’s art collection, Glassware, and more. Guided tours are offered at additional cost.
Besides the standard guided tour, there is also an art tour, focusing on the art collection, and a garden tour, which focuses on historic gardening experts, as well as the Lasting Impression tour, which captures the story of Tamera Alexander’s novel A Lasting Impression.
The mansion holds special events like concerts, Victorian Christmas tours during the holiday season, Victorian Mourning Traditions, lectures, and more. The house can be rented for private events and is also a favorite spot for weddings.