This Georgian-style mansion was once home to the Cheek family, but it opened as a museum in 1960.
Christopher Cheek founded a wholesale grocery business in Nashville in the 1880s. His son, Leslie Cheek, joined him as a partner, and by 1915 was president of the family-owned company. Joel Owsley Cheek, Leslie's cousin, had developed an acclaimed blend of coffee that was marketed through Nashville's finest hotel, the Maxwell House Hotel. Leslie's wife, Mabel, was a member of the prominent Clarksville, Tennessee family and both families were invested in Joel's coffee. After the sale of Cheek-Neal coffee to Possum cereal (later General Mills), Leslie Cheek bought 100 acres of woodland for his estate.
New York architect, Bryant Fleming, designed the house and gardens. In 1932 the limestone mansion and its formal gardens were complete. Unfortunately, Leslie Cheek passed away after 2 years of the mansion's completion. His wife and daughter lived here until the 1950's when the mansion was offered as a museum.
The art collection at Cheekwood was founded on the holdings of Nashville's former Museum of Art. It includes a broad collection of American art; American and British decorative arts; and contemporary art, notably the outdoor sculptures in the Woodland Sculpture Trail. The core holdings of the decorative arts collection include the third-largest Worcester porcelain in the United States, and a 650-piece silver collection, spanning the 18th-20th centuries. The Cheek Mansion is itself considered part of the collection. A year-long renovation, completed in June 2017, restored much of the original building, which revealed authentic features (wood and marble floors that had been carpeted), and conserved historical architectural motifs, such as the illusionist murals that line the main corridor.
Extending across the grounds from the Museum of Art, the Botanical Garden encompasses the entire 55-acre site with an emphasis on display, education, and study. The plant collections include boxwood, conifer, crape myrtle, daffodil, daylily, dogwood, fern, herb, holly, hosta, hydrangea, Japanese maple, magnolia, Southeastern US natives, redbud, and trillium.
Cover image by Michael Hicks is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0. Information courtesy of Wikipedia.