4580 Rachels Ln, Hermitage, TN 37076
Once the home of who could be considered our nation's most controversial president, Andrew Jackson's Hermitage is a look into President Jackson's life and love. Visit the Hermitage for a walk into the past. But prepare yourself, the past is still alive and tends to repeat itself inside the gates of The Hermitage.
Only one U.S. president has an entire era named after him. And it's not Washington, Kennedy, Roosevelt or Lincoln. The man who holds that distinction is Andrew Jackson, a two-term commander-in-chief who served from 1829 to 1837. ~ Nathan Chandler
The ghosts of The Hermitage seem to inhabit and roam the entire property. Seen and heard in hallways and rooms, on staircases, and even on the grounds. These ghosts get around, and their stories have withstood the test of time.
The ghost stories of Andrew Jackson's Hermitage date back to the late 19th century. In Mary Dorris's book,
The Ladies Hermitage Association had just taken ownership of the beautiful house. It had not yet hired a caretaker for the property. So a couple of the ladies in the Association volunteered to stay in the house overnight to ensure it wouldn't be vandalized. (These gals were brave.)
The two women prepared their pallets to sleep on in the front parlor and retired for the night. Then the noises began. Loud, aggressive sounds from the butler's pantry, like chains, rattling. The mystery noises became louder and suddenly a rolling boom that could have shaken the home right off the foundation. The women described the bone-shaking sound as a horse being ridden through the main hallway. Had Jackson returned to his home on his faithful steed?
The experiences carried over through the decades. More recently, on a night after an event, an employee shared the evening with something determined to be heard. The employee began to make his rounds, making certain everything was in its place in preparation for locking up for the night. He whistled to himself as he walked the empty halls and checked the empty rooms when he noticed something. He wasn't the only one whistling.
He frantically searched for who it could be. Who was the other person whistling with him in the middle of the night, in what he believed to be an empty Hermitage? He searched everywhere, top to bottom. The whistling continued. He eventually called his boss to come to meet him, as the phantom whistler had him entirely out of sorts.
The spirits who haunt the Hermitage are not contained by the walls of the home. These ghosts have no boundaries.
In 1819, Andrew Jackson hired an English gardener to design the perfect garden for his wife, Rachel. Rachel added beautiful flowering plants to the garden in 1825, creating a favorite place for her to spend time. But in 1828, Rachel passed away after three years of suffering, leaving her husband to enter the Whitehouse as a widower.
When Rachel died, Andrew buried her in the garden. An architect designed a tomb for her in 1831. Under the tomb is where Andrew Jackson was laid to rest. His love for Rachel was eternal. Before he passed, he would visit her grave every afternoon, smoking a cigar and talking to his Rachel with longing in his heart.
Heaven will be no heaven to me if I do not meet my wife there. ~ Andrew Jackson
Today, many report seeing and feeling the ghost of Andrew Jackson in the gardens. People have heard footsteps roaming between the foliage, and have seen the garden gate swing open on its own. Then there is the undeniable smell of cigar smoke near the Jackson's tomb. Could this be Andrew's residual energy still talking to Rachel?
Strolling through the groves of the Hermitage sounds like a relaxing way to spend a day. The trees appear to be curated specifically for the space, and in fact, they were. Each tree was removed from a battle site where Jackson fought, and replanted in the grove of the Hermitage. These trees hold all of the tragic history and memories of violent battles and lost lives. The trees never forget.
Guides at the Hermitage have reported seeing the ghostly apparitions of soldiers wandering through the grove. Visitors claimed to have felt cold spots or experienced moments of extreme temperature drops and full-body chills while visiting the old displaced trees. Are these the ghosts of the soldiers who lost their lives in battle? Have they attached themselves to the trees that now live at the Hermitage? All we can do is speculate, and offer solace.
It's no secret that mentioning Andrew Jackson's name is certain circles can ignite a heated argument or awkward discomfort. The man has tasked us with the large burden of distilling his character and understanding his intent. His legendary skills in battle and innate leadership, as well as his appreciation and love for family and unity, cannot be denied.
The people are the government, administering it by their agents; they are the government, the sovereign power. ~ Andrew Jackson
For all of the controversial decisions he made and acted upon as a leader, he also held a long resume of hardships and challenges. Many of which undoubtedly influenced his loyalty and dedication to his wife and family.
If you find yourself in Nashville, Tennessee, a visit to Andrew Jackson's Hermitage is a must. The Hermitage is located at 4580 Rachel's Lane and is open 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM. Spend the day in the grace and grandeur of the spectacular home, and maybe stop by the gardens to say "hello" to Rachel to Andrew.