We started the day by driving across about 70 miles of back roads through central Tennessee from Crossville to McMinnville. Our goal was to find and tour the Falcon Rest Mansion located just north of McMinnville, we arrived there just as a tour was getting ready to start so we joined them and brought the total number up to four.
The tour starts on the front veranda with a history of the house and families that have lived in it. Clay Faulkner promised his wife that he would build her the grandest mansion in all of Tennessee and build he did, a 10,000 sq foot brick mansion right near his textile mill, complete with all the modern conveniences he could muster. Electric lights, indoor plumbing, central steam heat and even a primitive form of ice conditioning, he had cold spring water pumped through a series of pipes in the floor to help cool it in the summer. The mansion was converted into a hospital in the 40's by Dr Dietrich and continued as such with additions being added until he closed it in 1968, from what we picked up it was because of a disagreement with Medicare about payments. He wanted to tear it down but because it was built so solidly it was cost prohibitive so it sat abandoned and empty for 15 years.
Then along came the current owners George & Charlien McGlothin, be sure to ask her about the story of how George bought the house in 1989 at auction. Over the next four years they started their restoration of the house, working seven days a week and doing a majority of the work themselves. No photography is allowed inside the house but every room is filled with some fascinating antiques and artifacts.
Did I mention that the mansion is haunted, each tour guide has there own story of their experience with the friendly ghost. I looked in every corner and behind every door but was unable to make contact with him.
For more info on the mansion and ghost click here for their
Before leaving we spent some time walking around the grounds taking pictures and made a stop at the Tea Room located next to the gift shop for lunch, we both had the chicken salad on a croissant which came with a super fruit salad, sweet potato fries, a really super swirly type brownie and our drink of choice. Everything was delicious.
Now normally this would have been enough for the day but like they say on TV. “But wait there's MORE”
We took US70 north to Rock Island State Park, the Falls City Cotton Mill is located in the park on a bluff above the Great Falls, this was a mill that was built by Faulkner owner of Falcon Rest. The park has a dam operated by the TVA, Great Falls which is a series of cascading waterfalls during low water levels, during high water the gorge fills and submerges the falls. There is a trail from the parking lot to the base of the gorge. From the overlook we were able to see another waterfall down at the bend of the river but not really sure on how to get there, we took off trying to find the right road, as usual we made a few wrong turns but eventually we found what we were looking for, Twin Falls Overlook.
Twin Falls is very unique, there was no Twin Falls until the Great Falls Dam was built, the dam caused the Caney river to rise, the water seeped into some underground caverns in the gorge it is then carried down stream and exits the gorge wall at the falls. We hiked down the gorge a little and took some pictures of the falls, it's strange seeing the water just coming out of the wall of the gorge.
Click to enlarge and notice how the water is coming right out of the side of the gorge.
All in all it was a pretty good day.