Jacksonian Gazette


A Spirited Defense


2014 marks the 125th year that the Ladies’ Hermitage Association has been preserving Andrew Jackson’s beloved home, The Hermitage.  One day after the January 8th commemoration of Andrew Jackson’s great triumph at New Orleans, the Association will continue its spirited defense of Andrew Jackson’s home against the depredations of time and the elements. 

The focus of this preservation effort is addressing drainage problems around the  Hermitage mansion foundation, re-pointing all failed foundation mortar joints, and replacing the brick pathways immediately surrounding the home.  All three of the projects will work in unison to keep water away from and out of the mansion foundation, especially the new pathways.  The existing pathways are comprised of hard surfaces that do not allow water to flow through them, forcing it to run off against the mansion foundation.  The new pathways will be comprised of brick in sand beds and pervious pavement, both of which will allow water to drain naturally through the soil.  The Ladies Hermitage Association retained noted preservation architect Joseph K. Oppermann of Winston-Salem, NC  to design this work and recently hired Grau General Contracting of Williamsport, TN  to complete the construction work.

In addition to exterior work, the Ladies  Hermitage Association will undertake much needed interior repairs in the  hallways of the mansion.  Since completion of the Hermitage mansion interior restoration nearly 20 years ago roughly  3.25 million people have walked the same halls where General Jackson once trod.  As you can imagine, that volume of people causes a great deal of wear and tear.  As part of this project, interior hall woodwork damage caused by modern intrusions will be repaired and then all the woodwork in these halls will be repainted.  The exterior doors will also undergo structural repairs and then be re-grained to their current mahogany finish. 

This significant preservation project is funded under an agreement with the State of Tennessee.  The Hermitage WILL REMAIN OPEN for visitation during this construction work, except from January 20th to 24th when the site is already scheduled to be closed for maintenance and staff training. Much of the interior repairs work will take place during this brief closing.  Both the interior and exterior work are scheduled for completion prior to Andrew Jackson’s Birthday on March 15th.