One House Filled with Millions of Stories

There’s no such thing as “just a house.” Houses become homes and each house no matter how big or small…elegant or simple has stories of individuals and families living within the walls.

Houses are filled with joys, sorrows, tragedies, celebrations, love and mystery.

I recently had the pleasure of visiting one house filled with millions of stories and its right in my neighborhood.

I have a confession to make…I’m a real “looky-loo” and I LOVE to look at houses, but this was something special and magical. Come on…let’s go inside.

A glimpse into the library

The McGavock – Gaines House is rich with history and as I wandered the halls and stood in the rooms, I wondered about all the stories that lived within its walls.

The formal dining room. Just look at the chandelier!

Built in 1835 by Randal McGavock, Sr. – yes…that Mr. McGavock of Carnton Plantation, was a wedding gift to his eldest son, Randal McGavock and his wife, Louisa. Pretty nice wedding present I’d say.

The formal living room.

While the main house was being built, the newlyweds lived in the log cabin that still stands behind the property today.

I think this would make the most wonderful artist’s studio, but then I could see writing here also.

***This house is for sale and the log cabin, along with a banquet hall and guest quarters, plus a smokehouse, carriage house, pool on 6.7 acres is magnificent and it can all be yours!

The upstairs bedroom in the cabin.

But back to the story. Randal McGavock, Sr.,once the mayor of Nashville was friends with Andrew Jackson. Upon hearing that his friend was building a home for his son, Jackson loaded up a cart full of cedar saplings and made the trip to Franklin where Andrew Jackson personally planted the young trees around the property.

A view from the banquet hall and guest quarters.

When the Battle of Franklin broke out in 1864, most of the family sought shelter in the basement. I wandered down the narrow staircase that leads to the cellar to see if I could even begin to imagine what it must have been like to hear the canons and guns firing all around the family. They had 11 children and as a mother, myself, I kept thinking how I would comfort my babies when fear and danger was surrounding you.

Some family members ventured to the brow of the hill overlooking the Harpeth River and witnessed the bloody battle firsthand. At some time during the battle, General Forrest and his Cavalry crossed the Harpeth onto Riverside (where the McGavock house stands). It was this event on a bridge just south of the home that gave the area its name – Forrest Crossing, a well established neighborhood today with a vast amount of history.

Following the Battle of Franklin, Riverside was often used as a place of respite and recovery for wounded soldiers. You may recall that Carnton Plantation was used as a hospital for Confederate Soldiers during the battle.

Riverside is very different today from the original farmhouse. Architect James Gaines was the second owner of Riverside and restored the home using the original brick walls. I might add that the brick walls are about two feet thick and have withstood the test of time.

A glimpse into the kitchen from the family room. Notice the brick. All walls, whether covered in plaster or not, are made of brick.

The family area just off the kitchen.

Gaines added the white pillars in front of the house and the vast second story veranda to transform the simple working plantation into an elegant Neoclassical Antebellum Home. Today the home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Over the years, Riverside has been home to many families and each family updated, restored and preserved the historic beauty of property.

One of the guest bedrooms in the main house.

As I made my way around the property and into the outlaying buildings I pictured children playing on the lawn…adults sipping a sweet tea or a mint julep on the veranda. I imagined fires warming the home (11 fireplaces altogether on the property) in the winter and and I thought about how this house has been so carefully cared for over the years.

A tiny person’s room.

I wondered what it would be like to live here? The current owners have given it a lot of love and you can tell that they’ll miss it, but it’s time for a new family to take over the helm of Riverside.

But not just any family. It beckons for a family who gets it…who honors it…and who loves it.

Master bedroom

A home like Riverside comes with responsibility, because in a world that is ever changing and casting aside tradition…some things are worth preserving and keeping them just the way they are.

I believe Riverside is such a place.

Cozy sitting area in Master Bedroom.

If you’d like more information about Riverside please contact Donnel Milam – The Milam Group at Fridrich and Clark. Office: 615.263.4800 or email

Can you imagine the celebrations you could have at Riverside? If this house speaks to you, give Donnel a call.

#FranklinTennessee #CindyLaverty #NationalRegistryofHomes #WhatsFranklinlike #blogsaboutFranklinTN #BestSmallSouthernTown #DiscoveringFranklin #RiversideMcGavockGainesHome #FranklinTN #ForrestCrossing #WilliamsonCounty


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