Voting for the 2022 Best Places in Local Government (aka the #ELGLKnope) Round of 32 opens on March 7, 2022 and closes at midnight PT on Friday, March 11, 2022. One vote per person. Learn more about this award online.
Brentwood, Tennessee 37027
- Year(s)/Era: 1825 Antebellum Mansion
- Type of Place: Building
- Nomination: In 2010, the City of Brentwood acquired 320 acres of the historic Ravenswood Farm property on Wilson Pike from the family of the late Marcella and Reese Smith for development as a park. The park, known as the Marcella Vivrette Smith Park, officially opened to the public in 2014. The property also includes the historic Ravenswood Mansion Ravenswood was built in 1825 by James Hazard Wilson II.
The operation of the house by the City of Brentwood is a unique operation for a city municipality. The staff, from the Community Relations Department, operate and manage the home as a rental venue. The space averages more than 75 events per year, including weddings, baby showers, other family events, and corporate gatherings.
- Most notable attribute(s): The brides say it best… “If you’re looking for a dreamy outdoor (or small indoor) wedding venue and place to get ready on the day-of, Ravenswood is your place!,” said Tess a bride in 2020 at Ravenswood. The entire property is gorgeous, full of history and rich in culture. Being located right outside Nashville, gives this venue the best of both worlds. For those wanting the excitement and nightlife of downtown Nashville, but the peaceful venue in the rolling hills of Tennessee, this venue offers both.
- Special designations or recognitions: Ravenswood Mansion was awarded a “Preservation through Restoration Award” in 2020 by the Williamson County Heritage Foundation. The primary goal of the project was to return a structure to a documented earlier appearance. In 2019, the City of Brentwood budgeted for the restoration of the two small, brick dwellings, once occupied by those enslaved on the property. The city oversaw a careful and expert restoration by Midwest Maintenance of Ohio to clean and repoint exterior brick as well as remove non-original doors and other modern elements. These restored slave dwellings will be an important reminder of the full story in this public space.
Brentwood Assistant City Manager and Project Lead Jay Evans said that as the owners of the property, the City of Brentwood is the custodian of its history. “It is incumbent upon us to ensure these important structures survive the passage of time, and those who lived here and endured 19th century slavery are not forgotten,” Evans said. “This project goes a long way in preserving these historical assets for future generations.”
Community Relations Director Deanna Lambert said when you walk into the brick structures and look around, you know if the walls could talk, they would tell stories of the harsh reality of those who were enslaved at Ravenswood. “The City of Brentwood felt it was important to restore these cabins to make sure that future generations learn about the complete history of Middle Tennessee and the sacrifices of many,” she added.
- Three words to describe: Crossroads, Elegant, Historical
- Anything else to share? Ravenswood Mansion was named for Sam Houston whom Native Americans affectionately called “the Raven”. Houston was best man at the wedding ceremony of Wilson and his bride Emeline in 1821.
The City of Brentwood in Tennessee
Brentwood, Tennessee 37024