Two Rivers Mansion

1678 3130 McGavock Pike

Metro Parks Nashville
Written By Metro Parks Nashville

The mission of the Parks Department is to provide safe recreational and cultural activities within a network of parks and greenways.

Two Rivers is one of the best preserved early Italianate houses in Middle Tennessee. It is located on the fertile, rolling land between the Stones and Cumberland Rivers. This junction led William Harding, an early owner, to give the plantation its name. When Harding purchased the initial 476 acres of property in 1819, it included a Federal style brick house built in 1802.

In 1930, Harding married Elizabeth Clopton. The couple soon had a daughter, William (Willie) Elizabeth Harding. Harding died in 1932, by which time he'd acquired additional land and the plantation was over 1,100 acres.

Willie inherited the entire plantation when she married married David McGavock in 1850. David, Willie, and their son Frank lived in the 1802 House on the property until the Italianate style Two Rivers Mansion was completed in 1859.

In the late 1880s, son Frank McGavock took possession of the farm. The estate became known as Two Rivers Stock Farm. It had a thriving dairy operation and was also the center for Morgan horses in Middle Tennessee. When The Panic of 1893 created a financial depression, the farm almost went bankrupt. Frank's only son Spence leased it out in the early 1900s while he worked as a shoe salesman.

In 1928, Spence McGavock married Mary Louise Bransford. The couple remodeled the house, adding plumbing, electricity, and heat and stayed there for four years. Caretakers continued the farming operation after they moved.

Mary Louise McGavock returned to Two Rivers in 1954 and lived there until her death in 1965. Her will named many family members, friends, and employees as beneficiaries. She wanted the remainder of her estate sold and the funds given to the Division of Hematology at Vanderbilt Hospital and Medical School. The William S. Bransford Fund, named in honor of her father, still provides assistance today.

After Mary Louise's death, the local government bought Two Rivers Mansion and the surrounding 475 acres for nearly one million dollars. This historic site includes the mansion and small brick house built in 1802. It is listed in the National Register of Historic places.

Cover photo credit: nashville.gov

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