United States of America, Tennessee, Davidson, Nashville
The Craighead House and Garden (Nashville, Tennessee)
A natural wood picket fence along the street opens to a brick pathway through a shade garden and lawn with a contemporary sculpture, "Merging Steel" by Steve Bennyworth, ending at the front door of an historic Federal style brick house. Like other period homes there is no driveway between the house and the street. Fences enclose the entire one acre, with lushly planted deep borders around three distinct lawns, under the shade provided by mature trees. There are tropical plants in pots that are moved to a greenhouse in the winter, as well as flowering shrubs, vines and perennials. A circular brick terrace next to the house and several brick walkways were built from bricks made on the property by slaves in the 19th century, and are laid in "chicken grit" ground granite to protect the tree roots underneath. The foundation of the old kiln where the bricks were fired was discovered by a previous owner and converted into a water feature. In the service area at the rear of the property there is a kitchen garden for vegetables and herbs entered through an arch with espaliered pear trees. The greenhouse is located at the end of the pea gravel path, with a cutting garden for flowers as well as fruit trees and espaliered grapes on a toolshed nearby. Even the designated car park is utilized for beehives, blackberries, and pots of succulents.
The original four room Federal style brick house built circa 1810 has been significantly enlarged by subsequent owners, and the 194 acre farm that comprised the original property has been reduced to a one-acre lot in an historic Nashville subdivision. Earlier gardens were laid out by a previous owner, Frances Moore Ewald, and have been redesigned starting in 1998. The house and gardens are frequently opened for tours and entertaining. Craighead House is listed on the Tennessee Register of Historic Places, is included in the Tennessee conservation easement program through Historic Nashville, and won an architectural award from the Historical Commission of Metropolitan Nashville-Davidson County in 1999. One of the hackberry trees in the garden won first place in a Nashville big old tree contest in 2000.
Persons associated with the garden include: John Brown Craighead and family members (former owner, 1818-1890); Samuel A. Murphy (former owner, 1890 -1905); Richland Realty company (former owner and sub-divider of property, 1905-1914); W.E. and Sarah Watson (former owners, 1914-1915); Homer T. Derryberry (former owner, 1915-1934); Bonnie A. McGraw (former owner, 1934-1954); Jack and Sarah Gillaspy (former owners, 1954-1957); W.E. and Frances Moore Ewald (former owners, 1957-1971); John and Ann Nixon (former owners, 1971-1973); Dr. and Mrs. George V. Mann (former owner, 1973-1997); Carl Hasty (former owner, 1997-1998); Steve Bennyworth (sculptor, 1998); Bill Ralston (sculptor, 1996, 1999); Steve Sirls (garden designer, 1998-present)
The folder includes worksheets, photocopies of articles and other information.
Garden has been featured in A Past Remembered - A Collection of Antebellum Houses in Davidson County by Paul Clements, Clearview Press, 1987; "Home Is a Living History" by Clara Heironymus, published in Tennessean, June 27, 1971; Children of Nashville - Images from James Robertson by Sarah Foster Kelley, Blue and Gray Press, 1973; "Garden as Gallery" by Elizabeth S. Betts, published in Tennessean, April 3, 1999; "Garden Gives Artists Another Place to Display Works" by Alan Bostick, published in Tennessean, April 3, 1999; "On the Way Home" by Jim Molphus, published in Nashville Life, April/May 1999, p. 25; "The Craighead House and Gardens" by Madison Culler, published in Tennessee Homes and Gardens, September/October, 2003, p. 18; "Craighead House a Rarity: A Home from 1800's Still in Use" by Nancy Deville, published in Tennessean, April 29, 2009; "Craighead House on Home tour" by Julie Pursell, published in the Nashville Banner, April 1978; "One of City's Oldest Brick Homes Continues to Evolve" by Mean Moriarty, published in Nashville City Paper, August 2003