Historic Structures

Fairview Mansion - Isaac Franklin Plantation, Gallatin Tennessee

Date added: January 12, 2018 Categories: Tennessee House Mansion Plantations & Farms

On turning off the main road into the approach to Fairview one is introduced to the grandeur of this magnificant estate by an inspiring avenue of walnut trees, and following this for a pout one half mile to the mansion he passes the family mausoleum, the granary and many lesser important buildings. Terminating this avenue is a grand vista of the mansion house composing itself beautifully on a slightly higher bit of ground, and giving it a commanding view of thousands of acres in all directions.

It is this imposing position of the house that prompted the appropriate name Fairview. Standing back in order to take in the gigantic facade, made up of two distinct sections, as before mentioned in this survey, one is impressed by the graceful silhouette brought about by combining two entirely different, but masterfully joined, types of architecture. The original, or main section, is typical of that dignified form so prevalent in middle Tennessee farm houses. The entrance feature conventionally follows its contemporaries in that it forms a white panel extending from ground to roof in the center of the house made up of first and second floor porches between two sets of simple white columns and terminating in a delicate pediment. Its whiteness is exaggerated, especially in the late afternoon,when the setting sun illuminates the columns, pediment and ballustrade bringing them out in sharp contrast with the soft salmon and red brick of the walls. To the right of the main section is the before mentioned addition consisting of a long wing, stepping down in height as it descends in social importance and as it follows the slope of the ground away from the center feature and thus creating this most delightful silhouette. This wing to the right joins and composes with the original section with such striking harmony that the radical change in architectural detail is at first overlooked, however, it is gradually perceptible that this whole wing is done in a definitely Spanish charactr as existed in the FELIC1ANAS OF LOUISIANA.

On entering the house one is greeted by a large center hall extending through the house and terminating by another entrance feature exactly duplicating the one through which he has just passed, and opening out onto another porch - the treatment of the two story front porch being likewise recalled at the rear. The feature of the center hall is the sweeping stairway separating the front and rear entrances in such a manner as to form a front and rear entrance foyer. To the left of the hall are the two parlors characterized by large sliding doors separating them, high ceilings and marble mantels* To the right of the hall are the music and dining rooms separated by a secondary stair hall connecting the main section with the wing which contains the guests rooms, vault, kitchens and finally the smoke house. Access to the rooms of the wing on both the second and first floors is by two long passages on either side of the wing and constitute on both sides of the house loggias with arch openings in which are located carved wood ballusters of Spanish design. The lower floor of the wing is given over to storage space, two large kitchens facilitating entertaining on a large scale, and to the end the smoke house.

The second floor is devoted to guests' rooms and storage, the attic over the original section is plastered and was used when necessary during entertainment on a large scale. It is interesting to note that on the walls of the attic there remain the names in candle smoke of many Federal Army Soldiers, traced there at the time of their occupancy of the house at some time during the war.

After passing through the house one views the remains of the gardens, out-buildings, race track, barns, etc., that comprise the building group, and immediately finds one's self reconstructing the scene of teeming activity, ranging from slaves cultivating the expansive gardens through the vital work of raising crops to the lavish industry of breeding and racing fine horses.