For the first time since 1856, the vast majority of the land U.S. President Andrew Jackson owned at the time of his death will be under one ownership, that of the Andrew Jackson Foundation.The Board of Trustees of the Andrew Jackson Foundation held its regularly scheduled fall meeting on Friday, October 26 on the grounds of The Hermitage. At the conclusion of the meeting, Governor Bill Haslam joined the board for an historic event.
The State of Tennessee has owned approximately 460 acres of land formerly owned by Andrew Jackson. Governor Haslam delivered to current Regent Bob McDonald and Frances Spradley, immediate past Regent, a quitclaim deed, transferring owner ship of the property to the Andrew Jackson Foundation.
In addressing Governor Haslam, Bob McDonald, president and CEO of Lebanon based CedarStone Bank, expressed appreciation to the governor and committed to preserving the legacy and protecting the land of Andrew Jackson with the same determination as the state. “Thank you for placing trust in the foundation with the gift of this land, and we know that with that trust comes responsibility. We take this responsibility very seriously and we will protect the land and legacy of Andrew Jackson with great diligence,” McDonald said. He continued, “just as your predecessors, you will be forever remembered and revered for your action today”.
Governor Haslam’s action is consistent with that of other Tennessee governors in the protection of Andrew Jackson’s land and mansion. Upon the death of Andrew Jackson in 1845, his son lived in the property until 1856, at which time he decided to sell the plantation to pay off debts. He sold half the land to a private party and the mansion and the other half of the land to the State of Tennessee. Governor Andrew Johnson had the vision of purchasing the property to preserve Jackson’s land and legacy. In 1972, Governor Winfield Dunn purchased the other half of the land from a private party to keep it from commercial development. In 1991, Governor Ned McWherter deeded the mansion and half the land to the Ladies’ Hermitage Association, now the Andrew Jackson Foundation. And now with his action, Governor Haslam has deeded the remaining half of the land.
“Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage is one of the best preserved and most visited presidential homes in the country. We are grateful to Governor Haslam and his administration for their support of this national landmark,” Andrew Jackson Foundation President and CEO Howard J. Kittell said. “The land transfer is much more than a symbolic gesture. It is confidence in the Foundation’s stewardship of these historic lands into the distant future. It will be a great benefit to the visitor experience in years to come. We are excited about what lies ahead for this remarkable site of our nation’s history.”
Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage: Home of the People’s President is one of the largest, most well preserved and most visited presidential homes in the United States. Opened to the public in 1889, The Hermitage is one of America’s first presidential museums. Today, The Hermitage is a 1,120-acre National Historic Landmark with 27 historic buildings, including Jackson’s mansion and tomb, restored slave cabins, a church, and gardens. In recent years, new interpretive initiatives and educational programs such as on the history of slavery have enhanced the experience of the 228,157 visitors in FY 2018. For more information, visit www.thehermitage.com.