Belair Mansion



Photo: Stephanie Saujon

Located at the Lebanon Road and Briley Parkway interchange in Donelson, this is one of the city’s few remaining examples of a Greek Revival-style antebellum mansion. The large 30-room brick home was modeled after Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage located a few miles down Lebanon Pike. Originally known as “Belle Air,” the home was built for John Harding of Belle Meade for his daughter Elizabeth V. Harding (1812-1836) who married Joseph W. Clay of Nashville. After Elizabeth’s death in 1836, the unfinished house was purchased by William Nichol (1800-1878) and his wife Julia Margaret Lytle (1808-1890); they added the wings. Nichol was a merchant and steamboat owner who served as the first president of the Bank of Tennessee and mayor of Nashville from 1835-1837. As mayor, he and business partners purchased Capitol Hill and offered it to the State of Tennessee for construction of the new state capitol. In 1850, the 1,250-acre Belair plantation was worked by 73 slaves. Belair was documented by the Historic American Building Survey in 1940 and was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. The 4.55-acre property is currently on the real estate market.

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