When people think about visiting presidential places, it’s easy to get caught up in visiting Washington, D.C. However, there are a couple of presidential sights in Nashville people can visit.
Andrew Jackson and The Hermitage
Andrew Jackson, who served as the seventh president from 1829 to 1837, is the most famous presidential resident of Nashville. He moved to Nashville in 1788 following his appointment as a prosecutor in the Western District of North Carolina. Tennessee did not become a state until 1796, and was a part of North Carolina up until that time. Jackson eventually married Rachel Donelson in 1794, and purchased the plantation that would become known as The Hermitage in 1804.
The Hermitage includes the mansion, gardens, numerous outbuildings, and Jackson’s tomb in a small family cemetery (see more here). Admission pricing varies depending on the type of experience you want. General admission provides access to the mansion, the grounds, the exhibit gallery, and the souvenir store. You can upgrade to the general’s tour, the president’s tour, or the VIP tour for an additional cost. Tickets can be purchased online through The Hermitage’s website (click here to find the right out for you) or at the souvenir store. Self-guided tours of the mansion are not available. People wishing to visit the mansion are required to participate in a tour, which is led by a costumed guide.
James K. Polk’s Grave at the Tennessee State Capitol
The other president associated with Nashville was a Jackson protégé, and was also born elsewhere before his family moved to Middle Tennessee. After graduating from college James K. Polk moved to Nashville and began his law career in 1818. He eventually served as the eleventh president from 1845 to 1849.
Polk primarily resided south of Nashville in Columbia while he served in a variety of roles in the Tennessee government. Following his departure from the White House, Polk and his wife Sarah toured the South en route to their recently purchased home, Polk Place. However, Polk reportedly died from cholera a few months after moving to Nashville. He was initially buried in Nashville City Cemetery to prevent the spread of cholera. He was later interred at Polk Place per the instructions of his will. Sarah was buried beside him in 1891, but both their bodies were moved to their current location at the Tennessee State Capitol in 1893. The Polk Tomb is located on the northeast side of the capitol grounds (see more here).
There is no fee to visit the grounds of the Tennessee State Capitol. Tours of the building are also free, and run on the hour from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Monday to Friday. Visitors can also take a self-guided tour of the building from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the week. You can take a virtual tour of the building through the Tennessee State Museum’s website (click here).
Andrew Jackson at the Tennessee State Capitol
The state capitol is also home to a statue of Andrew Jackson, which is located in the east plaza of the grounds. The statue is a replica of the Clark Mills sculpture that was erected in front of the White House in 1853. There are four versions of the statue with the most famous version residing in front of Saint Louis Cathedral in New Orleans.
More presidential sights
Many people may be unaware of the connection between Jackson and Polk, but it is fitting that the connection between these two presidents is displayed virtually side-by-side in downtown Nashville. If you want to see presidential sites closer to you, check out my Presidential Pathways page.