Victorian Society at Belle Meade Plantation

Victorian Society at Belle Meade Plantation The Belle Meade Plantation Victorian Society is a society focusing on all things Victorian!! She had strict standards of personal morality.

Queen Victoria (1819 – 1901) was the sovereign of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1837, until her death in 1901. Her reign lasted longer than any other British monarch, and is the longest of any female monarch in history. Her reign is known as the Victorian era, and was a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military progress within the United Kingdom. Vi

ctoria was of mostly German descent and she inherited the throne at the age of 18. She ascended the throne when the United Kingdom was already an established constitutional monarchy, in which the king or queen held relatively few direct political powers and exercised influence by the prime minister's advice; but she became the iconic symbol of her nation and her empire. Her reign was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire. Her 9 children and 42 grandchildren married into royal families across the continent, tying them together and earning her the nickname "the grandmother of Europe". She was the last British monarch of the House of Hanover.


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Hey new Mom's have a Victorian Malt Beer!! It makes things allllll better!!


Knoxville Brewing


William H. Gerst was born in 1847, coming from a long line of brewers in the Bavarian region of Germany. A short time later the National Brewing Company was established in 1859 and changed hands several times. In 1890 Christian Moerlein and William Gerst went into partnership to open the Moerlin-Gerst Brewing Company, until Gerst bought out Moerlin and the brewery became William Gerst Brewing Company in 1893. The brewery was located on 6th Avenue South here in Nashville, Tennessee. William Gerst received a Master Brewers Certificate in 1888, and in 1889 was elected the second President of the United States Brewmaster’s Association. Gerst had a passion for horse racing. In 1910 his horse by the name of Donau won the Kentucky Derby in 2 minutes, 6.5 seconds, and is to this date the only horse owned by a Tennessean to win the derby. Gerst was a prominent business man and also a family man with 4 sons and 2 daughters. The sons all worked in the brewery and eventually would come to run the brewery. William Gerst retired from running the brewing business due to Prohibition. He died on March 10, 1933 and never got to see his brewery after the Prohibition law was repealed that same year.

The brewery closed in 1954 and the original building was demolished in 1963


Throughout its history, from its beginnings to the present, people of vision have inspired the St. Philip Catholic Community in Franklin.

The first owners of the land on which St. Philip Catholic Church now stands were North Carolinians, one of whom, John Henry Eaton, built a home on the site of the original church. The Eaton’s left Franklin in 1830 and the property was sold to James Woods, a local farmer. In 1847, the land was purchased by Bishop Miles of Nashville with $400 in gold given to him by the Franklin Female Academy for the purpose of building a church.

The Mission Church
One of the greatest missionaries to Tennessee was the Dominican Father James L. Orengo, who was born in Italy in 1820. Father Orengo arrived in Franklin in 1871. By that time, more Catholics had built their homes in the town, and a church was badly needed. Most of the Catholics were Irishmen who had come to work on the railroad and decided to settle in the area.

With Father Orengo's arrival, work on the church was begun. Bricks were made and burnt on what was to be the churchyard, and all the work was done by the Catholic townspeople themselves. Father Orengo purchased property adjacent to that owned by the church, possibly, it was said, because he liked Franklin and intended to settle in the community. But his health failed before the completion of the church, and he was called back to Italy. The adjacent land was sold to the Sheas, a Catholic family in town.

In spite of Father Orengo's departure, the church was completed. Father Maroon, who oversaw the final stages of work, was assigned by Bishop Feehan of Nashville to be the first pastor of Saint Philip Church. The dedication took place on November 6, 1871. The Cathedral choir sang High Mass, and Bishop Feehan preached the sermon.
In 1872, Father Eugene Gazzo, who, like Father Orengo, was Italian, replaced Father Marron. Father Gaza recorded the first baptism at Saint Philip, that of Daniel Sheer, on August 11, 1892.

Building the church had been an expensive project, especially in the difficult financial times following the Civil War. At one point, there was talk of selling the church to pay off mounting debts. In the midst of this crisis, Father Timothy Abbott, the first Tennessean to be ordained as a priest, was named pastor of Saint Philip. Through thrifty management, he was able to pay off the church's debts and save Saint Philip from the auctioneer.

The first 26 years of Saint Philip's history were filled with challenges, but the determination shown by both parishioners and priests to keep a Catholic church alive in Franklin set the tradition for those who would carry the vision forward.

The Parish
When Father John A. Nolan, a priest of great talent in many fields, arrived in 1897, Saint Philip was still a mission, with no rectory. When he left, about 1904, it was a thriving parish with a priest in residence. Father Nolan led Saint Philip through years of true change.

Bishop Byrne declared Saint Philip a parish in 1898. Soon after, on March 3, 1898, ground was broken for the rectory, with Father Nolan as the architect. He worked with the parishioners to complete the building; Father Nolan decorated both the house and the church with his carvings. Father Nolan carved the old altar. He ordered prints of the Stations of the Cross from Rome around 1900 and personally carved the frames for each. These frames remain in the church today.
In 1921, the parish prepared to celebrate its Golden Jubilee with its new pastor, John V. Cunningham, who remodeled the interior of the church for the occasion. The celebration was held November 6-8, 1921. To mark the occasion, Father Hardeman donated a beautiful tabernacle, paid for with his personal funds. Stained glass windows for the church were donated by parishioners. Many who attended the Golden Jubilee had been present for the dedication of the church in 1871.


The Franklin Theatre opens on Main Street 1937 with the film Night Must Fall, starring Robert Montgomery and Rosalind Russell. Admission is 10 cents for children and 25 cents for adults


He stands proudly in the middle of Historic Downtown Franklin, Tennessee. Morning, noon and night, he stands with his chipped hat and rifle. You have probably driven, walked, jogged and passed him millions of times…but did you ever stop to wonder who he is and why he is camped out on Franklin’s square?

The statue represents the Confederate soldiers that fought in the Civil War.
Franklin Chapter Number 14, United Daughters of the Confederacy raised $2,700 in funding for the monument.
The statue’s bases are made of granite. The statue itself is made of Italian marble and is six feet, six inches tall.
The grassy knoll that the statue rests on was purchased for over $500.
Thirty-five years after the Battle of Franklin, on Nov. 30, 1899, the statue was erected.
The soldier faces third avenue, because that is where most guests arrived by train.
The chip on the soldier’s hat occurred a few weeks before the unveiling, when it was being raised the statue cracked against the granite shaft.

Williamson County Convention & Visitors Bureau

What a great resource that may be helpful!!!

Williamson County Convention & Visitors Bureau The Visitor Center is located in Historic Downtown Franklin, Tenn., just off Main Street and 4th Avenue. It is open daily to serve visitors. The knowledgeable staff offers visitors assistance in planning their visit with brochures, guides, maps, and oth...


Rare Prints Gallery is well-known in the print field among galleries, dealers, and those who simply enjoy collecting fine antique prints. The collection of rare prints ranges from the 1500’s to the 1900’s and includes authors such as John J. Audubon, John Gould, William Curtis and Giovanni Piranesi just to name a few.
420 Main Street
Franklin, TN 37064


Landmark Booksellers

114 East Main Street
Franklin, Tennessee 37064
United States (US)

Recently estimated to have now been built around 1808 (previously believed to be 1828), this building was also known as The Old Factory Store and has had visitors such as Andrew Jackson, Sam Houston and Davy Crockett.

In 1799 Franklin founder Abram Maury sold Lot 20 to Joseph McBride. By 1825 Dyer Pearl, Thomas Parkes, and Joseph L. Campbell operated a steam-powered cotton and grist mill on East Margin and owned Lot 20 upon which was built a brick store in the Greek Revival style, complete with four distinctive Doric columns supporting a Grecian pediment. Other antebellum owners included Anderson & Baldwin (1833), Plunkett & Parkes (1843), M.G.L Claiborne (1855) , Spencer & McCoy (1858). On December 12,1862 U.S. Brig. Gen. David Stanley ordered the machinery destroyed at the cotton factory and the stones of the grist mill but he spared the factory store after taking five wagon loads of flour and whiskey.

Like other public buildings and homes in Franklin, this local landmark served as a hospital for the wounded after the horrible conflict on November 30, 1864. In 1869 Enoch Brown purchased the building from M.G.L Claiborne for. $ 1,300, separating its economic connection with the mill on East Margin. Jeremiah Shea purchased the Factory Store in 1884, which remained in the family until 1940.

During the 20th century, the building housed Shea’s Grocery, A.J. Edwards Antiques & Furniture Repair, Elva Givens Antiques, Dotson’s Restaurant (1954-1978) and First Citizen’s Bank.

Before-after photo
photo courtesy of KSA Architects
“For many years, in its later life, the building housed Dotson’s Restaurant before falling into severe disrepair. Kline Swinney Associates Architects worked closely with the Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County and the owner to restore the building while converting it for use as the main office for a local bank. Additionally, they assisted the owner in having the structure placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Factory Store was placed on the National Register of Historic places in 1972”.


Timeline Photos


Edwardian Period Bridge / Whist Card Suit Marker - No Trumps Card Suit Marker.

Pointers from the Flag Code, just in time for Flag Day

Pointers from the Flag Code, just in time for Flag Day

Hat on or off? Right or left hand? What if it gets dirty? These are some typical questions people have about customs and rules surrounding the American flag. No worries. In honor of the 200th anniversary of "The Star-Spangled Banner", the song that became our national anthem, intern Talia Berday-Sac...


Royal cousins playing cards from left, Princess Louise of Wales, Crown Prince Constantine of Greece, Tsarevich Nicholas of Russia, Prince George of Greece and Denmark, Grand Duke George of Russia, Prince Albert Victor of Wales (Denmark ca 1888)


The Gentleman look angry!! Victorian Society at Belle Meade is much more civilized!


Is she Cheating? Hiding huge cards in her fan???

Hugh Mangum photographs: N246

This link contains a plethora of amazing pictures of normal everyday goofy people from the 1890's - 1922. It is an amazing resource for fashion and smiling Victorians. The Collection of African American pictures is also very interesting.

Portrait from the Hugh Mangum Photographs collection at Duke University Libraries. Item N246. Date taken: ca. 1890-1922. Add your comment to help us identify the subjects of these portraits, and tell their stories. For information about copyright and reproduction of material from the Hugh Mangum Pho...


An advertisement for New York Consolidated Card Company's playing-cards. Two figures drawn in the style of court cards outside a doorway. On the back is a verse describing the game of Whist Chromolithograph Circa 1884

Piano roll production at QRS Music

Have you ever had a player piano? Did you know how the rolls are made? This is such a cool process!!

A late-1980s tour of QRS Music's piano roll manufacturing facility in Buffalo, New York, originally aired on the TVOntario children's show "The Acme School o...




Parlor games have long been a part of Victorian Society here at Belle Meade. An evening filled with games music and fellowship. You do not have to be experienced at Whist to join this evening, all players are welcome and we will teach beginners how to play this beloved game. Join us June 25, 2016 at 6:00 pm.


We had a great morning at the May Victorian Sociery event. We hope to see you at the next event.


Fish tanks and Fern cases were especially popular during the Fern Craze.


The Belle Meade Greenhouse uses the pit greenhouse method of heating from the sun and soil! Check out this cool diagram!


Ink Spatter Photogram of Fern and Flowers on Paper' by Caroline Emily Tallis 1904

Hanging Fern Plant Crochet Pattern

Even if you don't have a green thumb you can still participate in the Fern Craze!! Check out this Crochet Pattern!!

A fun project to make. Crochet this fern plant and give it as gift; it never needs watering.. Materials: 6 oz. of a sport yarn Size F


How many of you would love to explore nature for that perfect fern, while camping in a tent like Annie Oakley's!!


Pressed flowers can be used to create lovely displays. Check out the birds made from pressed flowers!!


The Victorian era saw a new vacation movement. Leisure activities were once frowned upon as frivolous.However, if one could combine that leisure activity with continued learning and spiritual growth it was no longer a waste of time. The birth of the Sunday School Assembly gave way to education, spiritual exploration, an opportunity to leave the city and explore the natural world. The most famous of these assemblies is the Chautauqua Institution in New York. Many people do not realize that a branch of the institution was founded in the 1880's right here in Middle Tennessee. Monteagle Assembly is still in operation today near Swanee University in Grundy County. Another Victorian era Assembly is Beersheba Springs also in Grundy County. I have included pictures of Bersheba because it has a connection with Belle Meade. John Harding Founder of Belle Meade had a brother named Thomas. Thomas Harding house is not far from Belle Meade on Old Harding Pike in Bellevue, Tennessee . Thomas Harding had a cabin at Beersheba Assembly and was involved with the movement there. I thought the idea of Victorians in nature fit well with our current topic.


5025 Harding Pike
Nashville, TN

Opening Hours

Monday 8am - 5pm
Tuesday 8am - 5pm
Wednesday 8am - 5pm
Thursday 8am - 5pm
Friday 8am - 5pm
Saturday 9am - 5pm
Sunday 9am - 5pm


(615) 356-0501


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I have the old Indian 1892 Victoria Queen's Coin, I want to sell May, if there is a Real Legal Bayer, call me +91 8451880409 / +91 9146402097 or email [email protected] , I send you a picture.