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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Hermitage in Davidson County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
 

The Work Yard

The World Behind the Mansion

 
 
The Work Yard Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 25, 2010
1. The Work Yard Marker
Inscription. The stately trees and park-like grounds of today’s Hermitage bear scant resemblance to the working plantation of Andrew Jackson’s time. As the farm developed, trees were cleared to make room for fields and pastures.

By the time the first photographs of The Hermitage were taken after the Civil War, few trees remained on the landscape.

In Andrew Jackson’s day, the yard behind the mansion hummed with activity and contained a mismatched assortment of log, frame, and brick buildings. These structures include slave housing, poultry houses, and workrooms, as well as wood stacks and animal pens. The backyard area closest to the mansion was fenced. It is likely that access to this area was limited to the enslaved who actually worked in the kitchen or mansion. The Jackson’s did not trust the slaves, and so located the smokehouse and icehouse, where valuable food was stored, within the backyard fence for greater security.

A great deal of work, such as butchering, chicken plucking, candle and soap making, and laundry took place outdoors. Poultry and hogs roamed freely. The area was muddy when wet and dusty when dry. It was noisy, messy, and above all else, a working landscape.
 
Location. 36° 12.93′ N, 86° 36.775′ W. Marker is in Hermitage
Cotton Gin image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 25, 2010
2. Cotton Gin
No pictures exist of the cotton gin Jackson built in 1807, and it is likely that his gin and press went through two or three different versions. This print shows a typical press for baling cotton and a gin house where cottonseeds were removed and processed cotton stored.

With its gleaming white façade and ornamented landscape, the front of the mansion blocked visitor’s view of the backyard and fields where the entire economy of the plantation rested on the backs of those Jackson held in bondage. Letters, photographs, and archaeology suggest that, in addition to the buildings still standing, these work areas, buildings, storage facilities, and structures may also have been on the farm.

Slave Cabins•Horse Paddocks•Carriage House•Laundry•Blacksmith Shop•Icehouse•Bathhouse•Cotton Gin•Distillery•Spinning and Weaving Shop•Overseer’s House•Brick Kiln•Poultry Houses•Horse Training Areas•Corncribs•Animal Pens•Stable•Carpenter Shop•Woodpiles•Barn•Cotton Press
, Tennessee, in Davidson County. Marker can be reached from Rachels Lane 0.3 miles east of Hermitage Road. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4580 Rachels Lane, Hermitage TN 37076, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Alfred’s Cabin (a few steps from this marker); A Landscape Of Inequality (within shouting distance of this marker); The Triplex (within shouting distance of this marker); Icehouse (within shouting distance of this marker); Explore The Hermitage Grounds (within shouting distance of this marker); The Hermitage Garden (within shouting distance of this marker); The Garden Privy (within shouting distance of this marker); The Architectural Evolution Of The Hermitage (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line). Click for a list of all markers in Hermitage.
 
Also see . . .  The Hermitage, The Home of President Andrew Jackson. (Submitted on February 10, 2012, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
 
Categories. Antebellum South, US
 
Landscape behind The Hermitage image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 25, 2010
3. Landscape behind The Hermitage
Although taken sometime around 1885, forty years after Andrew Jackson’s death, this photograph shows the open landscape behind the Hermitage mansion. A variety of fencing and laundry lines contribute to the disorganized appearance of this area.
Missing Buildings image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 25, 2010
4. Missing Buildings
Some of the building now missing from the rear landscape, especially in the backyard, can be seen in this detail view of the same photograph.
The Work Yard image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 25, 2010
5. The Work Yard
Hermitage archaeologist located two buildings that once stood between Alfred’s Cabin and the garden fence. These frame buildings left no foundations except for the bases of the two chimneys and pier stones at the corners. One of these buildings is visible in the detail photo above (see arrow) and its chimney base is the one shown here in the background.
Barn and Carriage House image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 25, 2010
6. Barn and Carriage House
Although this picture, from around 1867, was taken to show the two Jackson family carriages, it also documents a now missing building, Jackson’s brick barn, and carriage house.
Jackson's Carriage image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 25, 2010
7. Jackson's Carriage
The Brewster Carriage and The Phaeton image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 25, 2010
8. The Brewster Carriage and The Phaeton
The Work Yard Marker and Alfred's Cabin image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 25, 2010
9. The Work Yard Marker and Alfred's Cabin
To the far right is the Work Yard Marker and to the far left is Alfred's Cabin marker.
Wide view of The Work Yard Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. Makali Bruton, June 14, 2015
10. Wide view of The Work Yard Marker
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. This page has been viewed 464 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on , by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa.   10. submitted on , by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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