Skip to Content
NASHVILLE.gov - Metro Government of Nashville & Davidson County, Tennessee NASHVILLE.gov - Metro Government of Nashville & Davidson County, Tennessee (Print logo)
Parks and Recreation

Two Rivers Mansion

Two Rivers, one of the earliest and best preserved of the early Italianate houses in Middle Tennessee, was part of an 1100-acre plantation located on fertile, rolling land between the Stones and Cumberland Rivers. The junction of the two rivers suggested the name given to the place by an early owner, William Harding.

The mansion, built by David McGavock in 1859, was inhabited by the McGavock family for three generations until 1965.  The property was purchased by the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County in 1966. The fourteen-acre tract, which includes the mansion and a small brick house built in 1802, is listed in the National Register.

There are currently no public operating hours for the mansion. The main house, gazebo and surrounding grounds can be rented for private functions.

Reservation and availability inquiries can be made by telephone 615-885-1112.

Two Rivers Mansion

History

In 1891, William Harding purchased 476 acres from Willie Barrow at the confluence of the Cumberland and Stones River. The property included a Federal style house brick house built in 1802 by David Buchanan. Harding acquired additional land;at the time of his death in 1834, Two Rivers Plantation was over 1,100 acres. In 1830, William Harding married ElizabethClopton; he died in 1832 shortly before  their only child was born. The child, a daughter, was named William Elizabeth Harding for both parents. When Willie married her cousin David McGavock in 1850, she  inherited the 1,100 acre plantation.

David, Willie, and their son Frank lived in the 1802 House on the property until they moved into Two Rivers Mansion, built in 1859 in the Italianate style.

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

Spence McGavock married Mary Louise Bransford in 1928. The couple remodeled the house, adding plumbing, electricity, and heat. They lived at Two Rivers for four years, returning to Melrose, Mary Louse's parent's home, after her mother’s death in 1932. Spence died in 1936 and Mary Louise remained at Melrose for the next 18 years while caretakers continued the farming operation at Two Rivers.

In 1954 Mary Louise McGavock returned to Two Rivers. When she died in 1965, her will named numerous family members, friends, and employees as beneficiaries. She also instructed that the remainder of her estate be sold and the funds used for the operation or expansion of the Division of Hematology at Vanderbilt Hospital and Medical School. This research fund, named the William S. Bransford Fund  in honor of her father, is still providing assistance today.

After her death, the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County bought Two Rivers Mansion and 475 acres for nearly one million dollars. In addition to the 14 acre historic site which included the mansion, the city built McGavock High School, Two Rivers golf course and public park, Wave Country water park, the Skate Park and the Greenway.