Eastern facade of Cherry Mansion in 1974
|Location||265 Main St., Savannah, Tennessee|
|Area||7 acres (2.8 ha)|
|Built by||David Robinson|
|NRHP reference #||77001274|
|Added to NRHP||August 16, 1977|
Cherry Mansion is a historic antebellum house in Savannah, Tennessee, located on a bluff overlooking the east bank of the Tennessee River. It has historical significance for its role as General Ulysses S. Grant's headquarters at the time of the Civil War Battle of Shiloh.
Description and history
Cherry Mansion is a white Georgian building with a two-level porch on its west front, which faces the Tennessee River. A series of terraces descends from the house to the river. The house sits atop the site of a palisaded prehistoric settlement, established some 2000 years ago, that is marked by Indian mounds that were largely obliterated by later construction.
The house was built by David Robinson, who was among Hardin County's early settlers and owned extensive acreage on both sides of the Tennessee River. Sources differ on the date of the house's construction. Most accounts state that it was built circa 1829–30 as a wedding gift for Robinson's daughter Sarah and her husband, William H. Cherry. Analysis for the Historic American Buildings Survey found evidence that the house was not completed until around the time of Robinson's death in 1849, and that ownership was transferred to Cherry in 1855.
During the American Civil War, Cherry was sympathetic to the Union side. From March 13 to April 29, 1862, before and after the Battle of Shiloh, his house served as headquarters for Union Army Generals Ulysses S. Grant, C. F. Smith, Don Carlos Buell and W. H. L. Wallace. According to Cherry family accounts, General Grant and his staff had just sat down at the breakfast table on April 6, 1862, when they heard distant cannonfire indicating that the battle had begun about 7 miles (11 km) up the river. They boarded a steamboat at the landing below the house to travel to the site of the battle, leaving their meals uneaten. Generals Smith and Wallace died in the house in the aftermath of the battle.
The Cherry family continued to own the house until 1935. Queen and Alex Haley, the grandparents of writer Alex Haley, worked for the family at Cherry Mansion after the Civil War. Queen was a domestic worker in the house and her husband operated a ferry for the Cherry family. Haley's novel Queen: The Story of an American Family and related television mini-series were based on Queen Haley's life.
In the late nineteenth century, the Cherry family made alterations to the building, replace some of the house's original porticoes with woodwork of Victorian design. The next owner, Bob Guinn, undertook in 1935–36 to restore the porticoes to their original design, based on recollections of living members of the Cherry family. The restoration of the porticoes was part of a more extensive restoration and remodeling project, based on design plans by Memphis architect Hubert T. McGee, that included addition of a new kitchen and bath facilities, replacing weatherboard on the east wall with brick, and adding emphasis to the house's west front.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cherry Mansion.|
- National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- Hulan, Richard H., Giebner, Robert C. (July 1972); McCown, Susan (1985)."Cherry Mansion, Pittsburg Landing, Hardin County, Tennessee" (PDF). Historic American Buildings Survey.
- "Shiloh Indian Mounds National Historic Landmark" (PDF). Shiloh National Military Park. National Park Service.
- "Cherry Mansion". Hardin County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Archived from the original on March 1, 2014. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
- "Cherry Mansion, Savannah, TN". civilwaralbum.com.
- "Shiloh Battlefield and Area". CivilWarTraveler.com. December 24, 2013.
- "Savannah, TN: Cherry Mansion (Grant's Headquarters)". civilwaralbum.com.
- "Savannah Historic District Tour & Cherry Mansion". Tennessee River Trail. Tennessee Department of Tourism. Archived from the original on January 14, 2014. Retrieved February 22, 2014.
- "Queen Jackson Haley". Find a Grave. Retrieved February 22, 2014.
- Cole, Regina. "Preserving a Civil War Landmark". Old House Online.
- Images of Cherry Mansion, Tennessee State Library and Archives