Battle of Nashville Preservation Society
(Union Gen. Wood's HQ)
Click on the thumbnails below to see a larger image in a new window:
Stairway to the Great Hall
Belmont Mansion Association
1900 Belmont Blvd., Nashville, TN 37212
Call (615) 460-5459
Admission is charged. Group rates available.
Tours are conducted:
Directions: From I-65 South, exit onto Wedgewood Ave. (Exit 81) and travel west. Turn left on Magnolia, turn left onto 18th Ave., and turn left onto Acklen. Mansion is located on campus of Belmont University.
Palatial home of Adelicia Acklen:
The mansion today is furnished in Victorian opulence with original and period pieces, gilded mirrors, marble statues from Europe, and oil paintings. During your guided tour you will learn about Belmont's mistress, Adelicia Acklen, who prevailed throughout the Civil War, three marriages, ten children, and the management of one of the largest fortunes in America.
History of Belmont:
An extraordinary character, Adelicia Acklen was one of the wealthiest women in the United States, with land holdings in Tennessee, Louisiana, and Texas.
At the time of the Civil War, the 180-acre estate included formal gardens with statuary and gazebos, a bear house, zoo, deer park, bowling alley, and art gallery. Many lavish formal balls were held in the mansion, usually on moonlit nights.
Joseph Acklen was forced to flee to Louisiana when Union troops occupied Nashville in February 1862 and never returned to Belmont.
Although the mansion was located at the Union fortification line, it was not damaged during the Battle of Nashville in 1864. Union scouts used the 105-foot-tall brick water tower, which still exists, as a lookout point and to relay signals. The mansion served as the headquarters for Union Gen. T.J. Wood during the battle.
During the war, Adelicias husband died at their Louisiana plantation, and she was forced to travel there to preserve her property holdings. By playing the Union and Confederate authorities against each other, she was able to sell 2,000 bales of cotton to buyers in London. She traveled abroad after the war to collect her money and spent it on a shopping spree across Europe.
Belmont was built on one of the highest hills in Nashville. Originally, the estate was known as Bellemonte, Italian for beautiful mountain.
The exterior and interior walls are solid brick, from foundation to rafters. In 1859, Belmont was remodeled and enlarged to include 36 rooms.
The mansion, the second largest antebellum house still standing, features the Grand Salon, the most elaborate domestic room in antebellum Tennessee. It features Corinthian columns, chandeliers, and fine paintings and statuary. A lavish reception for 2,000 guests was conducted there following her marriage to her third husband in 1867.
Also in the mansion is the grand staircase, the lavishly furnished tete-a-tete room, upstairs bedrooms, parlors, pantries with original china, the library, and the front hall with the marble statues of Ruth Gleaning and Sleeping Children.
In her later years, Adelicia planned to move to Washington, D.C. and began to sell her holdings. In 1887, at 70, she fell ill during a visit to New York City and died at the Fifth Avenue Hotel.
She is interred at the Acklen Family Masoleum, a Gothic structure also containing the remains of her first two husbands, five of her six children, and one grandchild. The masoleum is located at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Nashville and contains a marble statue from the Grand Salon.
Sold in 1887, Belmont became the main building for the Belmont Junior College for Girls, which eventually evolved into Belmont University, a coed institution. Special college and community events are held there, as well as private weddings and special occasions.
Belmont Mansion was named a National Historic Place in 1971 and opened to the public in 1976.