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Plantations steeped in unsavory history are a natural place to come to learn about the past. We asked our local insiders for their suggestions on the plantations to visit near Nashville.
One thing that strikes visitors is how peaceful plantations seem. The grounds are often lovely. You can go wine tasting, or even get married on one. Yet behind this attractive, well-heeled facade of the Old South – of Gone With The Wind and pretty white clapboard houses – lies the slave labor of millions of African Americans coerced into an institution whose repercussions are still felt to this day.
This typically Southern plantation house in Smyrna was the home of Confederate boy soldier Sam Davis, who took the death sentence rather than betray the Confederate mole passing him info on the movements of Union troops. The house is an attractive white period building that provides a frozen-in-time look at 19th-century life for the wealthy Southern elite. The slave quarters in the plantation grounds and the African-Americans on the Davis Plantation exhibit provide a stark contrast. The plantation’s role as a monument to “a hero of the Confederacy” may be jarring – again, be prepared to leave with difficult questions. Recommended by local insider Erica Commisso