William Giles Harding, architect
The grandeur of this Greek Revival Antebellum mansion belies its humble beginnings. In 1807, Belle Meade Plantation consisted of a log cabin on 250 acres. The grand house was built in 1853. By this time, the plantation had become a prosperous, world-renowned 5,400-acre thoroughbred horse nursery and stud farm. It produced some of the best racehorses in the South, including Iroquois, the first American-bred horse to win the English Derby.
During the Civil War, Belle Meade Plantation was the headquarters of Confederate General James R. Chalmers. In 1864, part of the Battle of Nashville was fought in the front yard. Bullet holes can still be seen in the columns.
Financial hardship forced an auction of the property in 1904, at which time Belle Meade was the oldest and largest thoroughbred farm in the United States. Belle Meade remained a private residence until 1953, when Belle Meade Mansion and 30 acres of the property were sold to the Association for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities.
Today the Belle Meade Plantation house is decorated with 19th-century antiques, and is open for tours. The grounds include a large carriage house, stable, log cabin, and several other original buildings.
Belle Meade Plantation is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is featured on the Antebellum Trail of Homes.