Belle Meade Historic Site
Neighborhood: Belle Meade
Belle Meade Historic Site located in Belle Meade, TN (right in the middle of Nashville) was bought in 1807 by Virginian John Harding. He named the site “Belle Meade”, French for beautiful meadow, and used it, not for farming but instead for a great many things such as a blacksmith shop, cotton gin and most famously boarding horses. Under the Harding family Belle Meade came to be known as the “Queen of the Southern Plantations” and there is much to be researched about the Harding family and the plantation as it stands to the Civil War but for now we’ll just skip that and tell you to look it up on Wikipedia.
In 1886, Belle Meade gained international fame by purchasing Iroquois, the first American-bred race horse to win the highly prestigious Epsom Derby and they’ve also bred famous horses like Bonnie Scotland and Enquirer. Through the years the plantation has hosted many famous guests ranging from neighbor Andrew Jackson in the early 19th century to Grover Cleveland, Robert Todd Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant and William Sherman in the latter half. The plantation remained in private ownership until 1953 when the state of Tennessee purchased it and surrounding buildings and deeded the property to the Association for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities. Today, the plantation serves as a winery, popular wedding destination and hosts year-round tours for those interested.