The Maneys transformed Oaklands from a small house into a large mansion. Barns, slave quarters, a kitchen, as smokehouse, a carriage house, stables, brick kilns and other buildings once stood on the grounds of Oaklands. Today, only the mansion and portions of the spring house and root cellar remain.
An eight-to-10-acre lawn greeted visitors at the front of the mansion, surrounded by a white picket fence and dotted with shade trees. The front carriage drive of Oaklands extended originally to present day Lyle Street, just one block short of Main Street. The plantain once covered almost 1,500 acres.
An Evolving Mansion
The first section of the house (Section A) is believed to have been constructed between 1815 and 1820, and consisted of a one-and-one-half story, masonry residence. In the 1820s, section B was erected to the west of the original structure. Section C, added between 1830 and 1840, included a second story addition to Section A and a two-story rear wing.
After Sally Maney’s death in 1857, her
Section D consisted of the front verandah and arched entrance, four spacious front rooms and a beautiful freestanding spiral staircase at the back of the front hall. This work, completed in 1860, made Oaklands one of the most elegant homes in Middle Tennessee. Lewis and Adeline lived in their newly finished and expanded home for about one year until the Civil War broke out.
Historians believe further renovations were made to Section A and B from 1912 to 1928.
The second phase construction was a two-story addition, probably in the Federal style, attached to the west end of the original structure during the 1820s.
The base structure for Oaklands mansion was a one-and-one-half story, masonry building constructed between 1815 and 1820.
A Change of Fortune
Like many prosperous Southern families, the Maneys lost the bulk of their wealth and property during and after the Civil War. The emancipation of the slaves removed the free labor upon which the plantation depended, and that, combined with other economic hardships,
In the late 1860s, the Maney subdivided and sold most of the front drive into lots to create a residential neighborhood, originally called “Maney’s Addition.” It later became North Maney Avenue which intersects present-day Main Street.
Advertisements for lots in Maney’s Addition appeared in local newspapers assuring prospective owners of free access to the Maney’s spring. In 1892, eight years after she left Oaklands, Adeline Maney moved into a home in Maney’s Addition known as “Big Holly.”
In 1872, Dr. Maney sold 20 acres to the city of Murfreesboro to create a new public burial ground. Evergreen Cemetery, located east of the mansion, contains the graves of Lewis and Adeline and several of their children and relatives. Many of the Maney’s slaves are also said to be buried here. James and Sally Maney are buried in the “Old City Cemetery” on Vine Street.
In 1884, the mansion and surrounding 198 acres were sold at public auction to cover the debts of Lewis Maney. Elizabeth Swope, a wealthy widow from Memphis, purchased Oaklands and the property for $8,505. It was eventually inherited by her daughter Tempe and son-in-law George Darrow. The Darrows were one of Murfreesboro’s firs millionaires and entertained often at Oaklands.
In 1912, the Darrows sold the
Abandoned and Rejuvenated
The Jetton family lived at Oaklands for 18 years. Rebekah Jetton, the last surviving Jetton sibling that lived here, moved to a hotel in 1954, leaving the house vacant. It was sold to the city of Murfreesboro in 1958. During these years, the house sat empty and was vandalized and looted. While some viewed the deteriorating mansion as an eyesore, others in the community wanted to preserve it.
In April 1959, a group of concerned local women formed the Oaklands Association, Inc., to save the mansion from demolition. The city agreed to convey the house and 0.3 acres to the association for the purpose of establishing a museum.
Oaklands opened for tours in the early 1960s and is one of Murfreesboro’s most treasured landmarks. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 and welcomes thousands of visitors each year. The Oaklands Association continues its work today. In 1993, historian Caneta Hankins described the association’s success in reclaiming Oaklands as “nothing short of remarkable.”
Location. 35° 51.289′ N,
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Maney Family (here, next to this marker); Forrest’s Murfreesboro Raid (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Oaklands Mansion (about 300 feet away); N. B. Forrest's Raid on Murfreesboro (about 300 feet away); Agriculture and Gardening (about 400 feet away); The Civil War (about 600 feet away); Wetland Plants and Animals (about 600 feet away); Evergreen Cemetery (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Murfreesboro.
Categories. • Antebellum South, US •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 26, 2015, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. This page has been viewed 243 times since then and 49 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on November 26, 2015, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.