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Nashville in Davidson County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
 

Belle Meade Bourbon

Belle Meade Plantation

 
 
Belle Meade Bourbon Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, October 18, 2020
1. Belle Meade Bourbon Marker
Inscription.  
The Belle Meade Distillery once stood 3 miles east of Belle Meade Farm on the Harding Pike (where St. Thomas Hospital stands today). The location was known as Bosley Springs, the waters from which feed the Richland Creek that runs in front of Belle Meade today. Its proprietors were John Sperry and Watson Wade, selling their spirits under the name Sperry, Wade, & Co. and Watson Wade was a cousin to the Belle Meade Harding family.

The name “Belle Meade Bourbon” was created when a deal was struck between the Belle Meade Harding/Jackson families, and Sperry, Wade & Co. for the use of the Belle Meade title only. In exchange for sales under the naming rights, Sperry, Wade, & Co. paid a royalty to the Belle Meade family. A farm ledger shows that in 1878, $514.50 was paid under the agreement.

Belle Meade Bourbon quickly became popular after production and sales began. By January of 1878, 10,000 barrels were produced and shipped by rail to vendors across the country. The firm even expanded their operation to a second distillery in East Nashville on Hyde's Ferry Pike, where an additional 450 barrels could be produced.
Belle Meade Bourbon Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, October 18, 2020
2. Belle Meade Bourbon Marker
By 1879, Sperry, Wade, & Co. paid the most in tax revenues of all distillers across the entire state of Tennessee.

On Monday August 30th, 1885, a massive fire totally destroyed the Belle Meade Distillery. Sperry, Wade & Co. continued to produce Belle Meade Bourbon at their East Nashville location, until the temperance movement and decreased alcohol consumption slowed sales to a crawl. The firm closed its doors and sold its assets in 1887.

Newspaper clipping, top left
Great Belle Meade Distillery,
Sperry, Wade a Co., of Nashville, Tennessee, Proprietors.
At Bosley's Springs, in the fifth district of Tennessee, is situated the famous distillery whose name heads this article. Belle Meade Sour Mash Whisky, which is celebrated throughout the States from the northern lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, has no superior, as it in manufactured from the very best grain that can be bought on the market, and the proprietors are willing to guarantee every barrel sold by them to give entire satisfaction. It is an established fact that the whiskies from Belle Meade for the past two and a half years have far exceeded in the number of sales any distillery ever run in the State. Out of about 10,000 barrels produced since January, 1878, up to the present date, only 450 barrels now remain in the hands of the proprietors
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unsold. They are now running night and day to enable them to meet the demand for their goods. They have three large brick bonded warehouses, fire-proof, with a storage capacity of 15,000 barrels, and are in every way prepared to take care of whisky sold in bond. Their facilities for shipping at low rates are equal to any market in the United States. The office of the firm is at 36 South Market Street, Nashville, Tennessee, where all orders will be promptly attended to. We cordially recommend to the wholesale dealers the house of Sperry, Wade & Co., and Belle Meade, which turns out the most superb and elegant liquors of any distillery on the continent.

Newspaper clipping, bottom right:
Striking at the Root.
Nashville, Tenn., Aug. 31 — The distillery of Sperry, Wade & Co., near this city, burned late Saturday night, together with the granary, warehouse and other outbuildings, involving a loss of $70,000. The warehouse contained over 2000 barrels of whisky, worth nearly $50,000. The insurance will nearly cover the loss.

Caption [Top right]: Warehouse of Sperry, Wade & Co. Market Street now 2nd Avenue, Nashville
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Industry & Commerce.
 
Location. 36° 6.369′ N, 86° 
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51.862′ W. Marker is in Nashville, Tennessee, in Davidson County. Marker can be reached from Harding Pike (U.S. 70S) 0.1 miles north of Leake Avenue, on the right when traveling north. Marker is on grounds of Belle Meade Plantation. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 5025 Harding Pike, Nashville TN 37205, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Ice House (here, next to this marker); Slave Cabin (within shouting distance of this marker); Dairy (within shouting distance of this marker); Slave Burials (within shouting distance of this marker); Belle Meade Plantation (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Belle Meade Plantation (within shouting distance of this marker); War on the Home Front (within shouting distance of this marker); Mausoleum (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Nashville.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 7, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 20, 2020, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 65 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on October 20, 2020, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.
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Feb. 25, 2021