Falcon Rest Mansion & Gardens
In 1896, entrepreneur Clay Faulkner told his wife Mary he'd build her "the grandest mansion in Tennessee" if she would move next to their woolen mill, 2-1/2 miles from downtown McMinnville.
Mary agreed, and Faulkner supervised construction as enthusiastically as he promoted the mill's "Gorilla Pants" (so strong even a gorilla couldn't tear them apart) and mineral water at the Faulkner Springs Hotel, the "ideal health and pleasure resort" he would eventually open on the lake across the road.
Faulkner's solid-brick, 10,000-square-foot mansion had all the "modern conveniences" when it was built -- electric lights, indoor plumbing, central heat, and more. That's one reason PBS dubbed it "Tennessee's Biltmore."
In the 1940s, Clay Faulkner's mansion was converted into a hospital and nursing home. An early ad boasted a quiet location and an ideal climate, at rates of $5.00 to 8.00 per day -- according to care required. By the mid-1950's, Dr. J.P. Dietrich had added onto the building and renamed it the Faulkner Springs Hospital. Local folks still tell fond stories about the doctor and the house where he dispensed medicine and love. The doctor closed the hospital in 1968. He stripped out much of the woodwork in an unsuccessful attempt to tear down the solid brick structure, then let it sit empty for a decade an a half.
When George McGlothin bought the old house at auction in 1989, it was a ghost of its former glory. He and his wife Charlien began four years of restoration, tackling 95 percent of the work themselves. Their efforts were rewarded with the National Trust's Great American Home Award for restoration in 1997. Today, the mansion is filled with museum quality Victorian antiques, and some say it's presided over by a friendly ghost -- perhaps the proud builder himself.
It's open seven days a week year round for historic home tours, group entertainment shows, delicious meals, 1890s shopping, weddings and other special events -- all of which live up to Falcon Rest's well-earned reputation as "the Victorian mansion where history is fun."
For More Information
2645 Faulker Springs Rd.
McMinnville, Tennessee 37110
- The Birthing Tree, 1.7 miles away
- Collins River BBQ & Cafe, 2.5 miles away
- Main Street Bakery & Cafe, 2.5 miles away
- Warren County Farmers Market, 2.6 miles away
- Historic Black House , 2.6 miles away