Once known as the Southern White House, the Hermitage was home to Andrew Jackson and his wife, Rachel. When she passed away on December 22, 1828, Rachel left a much-saddened man to become the seventh president of the United States on March 4, 1829.
While in Washington, Jackson, also known as “Old Hickory,” hired Nashville architect David Morrison to dramatically enlarge the mansion and to construct a Grecian “temple and monument” for his beloved Rachel. The domed limestone tomb with a copper roof was constructed in the garden from 1831 to 1832.
Jackson retired from the U.S. presidency in 1837 and returned to the Hermitage, where he resided until his death on June 8, 1845. He was laid to rest two days later next to his adored wife. At that time, the plantation passed to Jackson’s adopted son Andrew Jackson, Jr. While he did make some improvements to the property, the younger Jackson was not an effective manager, and debts soon forced him to begin selling off parcels of land and mortgaging the remainder.
In 1856, Andrew Jackson, Jr., sold what remained of the Hermitage to the state of Tennessee for $48,000. The state first proposed using the property as a school, but lack of funds allowed the Jacksons to remain there as tenants until both Andrew Jackson, Jr., and his wife, Sarah, passed away. Lack of money also meant that the property was allowed to slowly fall into disrepair, although occasional funds could be found for small repairs, such as to the Jackson tomb.
In attempt to utilize the property, Tennessee politicians proposed converting it into a hospital for invalid Confederate soldiers in 1888, but a public outcry ensued, and the response was to create an organization of Tennessee women who would fight to save the Hermitage.
In April 1889, the Ladies’ Hermitage Association (LHA) was charted by the state of Tennessee, and they took immediate possession of the house by sending two ladies to spend the night. The ladies, however, did not spend a peaceful night, reporting to their fellow LHA members that they were kept awake for most of it by Old Hickory riding his horse up and down the stairs.
Other haunting activities have been reported since, although Old Hickory quieted down once restoration was complete, and a photo of a full-bodied apparition captured in one of the bedrooms was once featured on a Nashville news broadcast. The Hermitage has operated continuously as a museum since 1889.
It continues to offer daily tours, closing only on Thanksgiving and Christmas as well as during the third week of January.
Written by —Donna L. Marsh Founder, Adsagsona Paranormal Society
4580 RACHEL’S LANE HERMITAGE, TENNESSEE 37076 TEL: 1 (615) 889-2941 WEBSITE: www.thehermitage.com
Back to Haunted Tennessee