Tuesday, February 9, 2016

'Two Rivers' the David McGavock House, Nashville, TN

'Two Rivers', Nashville, TN. 1859 Photo: Brent Moore
Photo: Wikimedia
If this plantation, built in 1859 for the very wealthy McGavock family could have something elaborate, it does. In fact, it's a surprisingly urban design one might see in a wealthy city rather than in the countryside, which testifies to the taste and wealth of the family. It was eventually sold to the city which built a golf course around it. The house has a symmetrical plan, but the facade is far more elongated than the typical symmetrical box, somewhat dwarfing the windows in a sea of brick. The house creates rhythm and emphasis by defining the side bays with paneled brick pilasters and causing the central bay to project through its heavy, elaborate porches. As usual, the central bay differs from the side bays. The sides have rectangular windows topped by flat hood moldings with swirling rococo foliage. The central window is a segmentally arched with Venetian tracery that has not two but three windows contained within it, an uncommon design. This is topped by a drip molding. The central door is recessed and flanked by arched windows.

The porches run across the facade on the first floor and the central bay on the second, creating that all important central emphasis on a symmetrical house. In that, this house has some affinity with the New Orleans Porch Facade type. The thick paneled pilasters create filleted rectangular openings which feature brackets with carved acanthus leaves, raised diamond panels, and rosettes, no doubt reproduced carefully from a Greek Revival pattern book. The balusters are a Renaissance type, another indication of wealth (turned balusters cost money, especially that many). The cornice is paneled, with variations of s scroll acanthus leaf brackets and simple s scroll designs that are paired on the main facade. The central section is topped by a boxy paneled attic with a few carved moldings and vegetable accents. The cornice wraps around the entire house, but the facade treatment is not repeated on the sides which have a simpler design. HABS documented the house and provided the interior views and plans seen below.


  1. Exterior images?

    And floorplans?

    AND interior images?

    I am a happy man!!!!!!!!

    1. I try. When I can access all this data in a way that doesn't violate copyright, it satisfies me too!