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The Hermitage is the home of the 7th President of the United States, Andrew Jackson. It is located in Hermitage, Tennessee, which is near Nashville.
Raised in North Carolina, 21 year old Jackson went to Tennessee in 1788 when he accepted a job as a lawyer. He quickly acheived success as a political leader, judge, lawyer, and gentlemen farmer. He married Rachel Donelson in 1791 and they adopted her nephew, naming him Andrew Jackson, Jr. In 1804, 37 year old Jackson bought the Hermitage property, which was then 425 acres.
At first the Jacksons lived in several log cabins. The Federal style brick home at the Hermitage was built between 1819 and 1821. A library, dining room, and a porch colonnade supported with ten columns were added in 1831.
A month after Jackson's election to the presidency in 1828, Rachel died at the Hermitage. On Christmas Eve he laid her to rest in the garden at the Hermitage. Following his term as president he returned to the Hermitage in 1837 and lived there until his death in 1845 when he was buried next to his beloved Rachel.
Visitors are given an audio wand, which resembles a cordless phone. This device, which gives recorded information, allows tourists to enjoy a self-paced tour while receiving all the details at every room. Tours begin in the impressive center hall with French scenic wallpaper depicting the mythical Telemachus' search for his father Odysseus. Nearby is a leather barrel-shaped chair that once belonged to George Washington. To each side of the hall are double parlors, which were the most formal rooms and primarily used to entertain guests. Many of Jackson's gifts from admirers, including a sword presented to him by the state of Tennessee after the Battle of New Orleans, are displayed in the parlors.
The dining room table is set with silver from Philadelphia, French porcelain, glassware from Pittsburgh and 8 Sheffield plate entree dishes purchased by Jackson in 1833 from Susan Decatur, the destitute widow of Commodore Stephen Decatur. The dining room mantelpiece commemorates Jackson's nickname, Old Hickory, which was given to him by his soldiers during the War of 1812. After an 1834 fire at the Hermitage, the Jacksons purchased many pieces of furniture in Philadelphia, including the dining room sideboard. Following this fire, Jackson also had a new kitchen built away from the main house. This reduced the risk of fire and also kept smoke, noise, and heat away from the rest of the house.
At the time of his death in 1845 Jackson owned 1,000 acres, 200 of which were planted in cotton. Jackson owned a cotton gin for his own crops and ginned his neighbors' cotton for a fee. The baled cotton was transported on a steamboat to New Orleans and from there it was shipped to textile mills in Great Britain. Visitors can see the office where he managed his agricultural interests.
Jackson's library adjoins his first floor bedroom. This room was designed with the needs of an elderly man in mind. A red wool upholstered "invalid" chair has a high padded back to help keep its famous occupant warm. The volumes of books in cherry glassfront bookcases include many titles gifted to Jackson by the authors. The mansion's five other bedrooms are also on the tour.
In addition to the home tour, admission to the Hermitage also includes a chance to see beautiful gardens containing varieties of shrubs and plants common in the 19th century, a political memorabilia museum, a kitchen and smokehouse, the tombs of Rachel and Andrew Jackson, original log cabins in the slave quarters, and Old Hermitage Church where the Jacksons worshipped.