Historic Structures

Annesdale House, Memphis Tennessee

Date added: June 3, 2021 Categories: Tennessee House

John P. Caruthers was an attorney and judge of the Common Law Court of Shelby County.

Dr. Samuel Mansfield, who owned the property from 1860 to 1866 after Caruthers, was a wholesale druggist. His firm advertised his products in the Memphis papers throughout the third quarter of the 19th century.

Henry A. Montgomery, the next property owner, had operated a planing mill before the war. He laid the first telegraph line across the Mississippi River (which was severed in 1862). After the war he went into the cotton compress business and was successful at this until his death in 1887. His sale of the mansion coincided with the death of his wife in 1870.

The home was purchased by Annie Overton Brinkley Snowden, a granddaughter of Judge John Overton, principal founder of Memphis. It has since been known as Annesdale in her honor. She was the daughter of Colonel Robert C. Brinkley, whose name figures prominently in the story of the Memphis Ghost House (recorded by the Historic American Buildings Survey as Brinkley Female College, HABS No. TN-189). Miss Brinkley married Colonel Robert Bogardus Snowden in Nashville in 1868; they moved to Memphis in 1870. He was prominent in civic improvements (street railway, turnpikes, sewerage system) and in commerce (factories, banks, railroads, insurance and land companies). His occupation was listed in the City Directories as "capitalist."

This Italian Villa style mansion, constructed of brick, has three pedimented pavilions and a four-story pyramidal-roofed tower. Its floor plan is that of a central hall, having flanking rooms.

The building measures about 70' from east to west and about 80' from north to south. It stands about 36' to top of cornice and about 60' to top of tower. It is a full two stories in height with the first level being about 4' above the grade. There are a full basement and an attic. A four-story tower is situated over the building's main entrance.

The house has a central hall plan with rooms on either side. The double hall extends from the north front to the south rear and is divided by double doors into main and service halls. The building is thus zoned into two distinct sections - the servant and served. Along the east side of the central hall there are a parlor at the north front (with a sitting room to its east), a Music Room (Rear Parlor), a bathroom, breakfast room and butler's pantry. Along the west side are a library at the north front, a large dining room (31'-4" x 20'-4") and the kitchen. A magnificent walnut stairway to the second floor is on the east wall of the hall.

The second floor plan is similar to the first except that the rooms flanking the halls are chambers.

The basement is divided similarly by the bearing walls supporting the central hall walls. In the northeast corner was a wine cellar. A cistern in the central basement hall has been filled in.