One of Nashville's greatest unrestored antebellum mansions, which also sits on one of its most historic pieces of land, is in poor shape. It will take about $1 million to stabilize the Glen Leven house and farm.
Just this week the Land Trust of Tennessee received permission to do some very limited public access events at the site. While the place is not yet quite ready, this is the first opportunity to share the land since 1790.
The Glen Leven house is a gorgeous old plantation house surrounded by its perhaps even more gorgeous grounds.
"This place is so beautiful. That ginkgo tree is the largest one in the county. And this is the largest walnut in the county," said historian Ridley Wells II. "Just spectacular."
The property has been privately owned since 1790, and it was completely hidden from public view until the property was recently transferred to the Land Trust of Tennessee.
They were given the land but not the dollars it will take to fix it up.
"It needs a lot of work. And this is a stabilization campaign. We're not bringing it back to a certain period. We're not thinking of it as a house museum. We're not going to be open to the public all the time. We really think of this as a sanctuary where people can come connect with the land," said Glen Leven director Liz Edsall McLaurin.
Already, there is a brand new beef cattle project, as Red Poll cattle, like the ones Queen Elizabeth II owns, now populate part of the 65 acres with a state of the art grazing design.
And in the gardens at Glen Leven, the produce is carefully grown by Tyler Brown, the nationally celebrated executive chef of the Capital Grille at the Hermitage Hotel.
"I feel like when you come through that gate you enter a whole new world in a sort of utopian situation where the birds seem to be chirping a little bit louder and a little more clear. It sounds a little too sensual, but that's the reality and my relationship with the garden," Brown said. "There's just something about it, and a story, too. And that plays with what were trying to do at the hotel and here in the restaurant. We want to have a story behind what we are doing."
And the story at Glen Leven is to save it - save it all.
"It is a rare opportunity for anybody to have a chance to conserve a whole place and tell a whole story of a place," Edsall McLaurin said.
Saturday, May 25 2013 7:04 PM EDT2013-05-25 23:04:10 GMT
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David Michael Matson
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