Saturday, December 26, 2015
The Ancestral Home of James K. Polk- Columbia Tennessee
There is a certain obscurity to Polk, at least as far as Presidents go. There aren't many relics, or monuments to him still around. AND, other than the White House, his Ancestral Home in Columbia Tennessee is the only house James K. Polk lived in that still stands. We did visit the inferior James K. Polk Historic Site in Pineville, North Carolina early this year, but that is a replica.
THIS house/museum is PERFECT. I will go ahead and say that this is easily one of the nicest Presidential sites we have ever visited. The staff obviously cares about the legacy of James K. Polk and his wife Sarah.
We had an excellent tour guide named Zack. He let us know that the Ancestral Home has an amazing collection. He pointed out some great relics.
The home has the first known letter written by Polk! Also, the Presidential portraits on display of James and Sarah are the ORIGINALS! Other than Washington's (his is still in the White House), the Polk's are the only original Presidential portraits not owned by the Smithsonian!
The James K. Polk Ancestral Home also has the largest collection of White House China outside of the White House!
One item that I think I was most impressed with was a coat owned by James Polk. It is the only known piece of James Polk worn clothing known to exist. This may be because of the fact that he died of Cholera, and most of his clothes may have been burned after his death.
On display while we were at the Home were items from Polk's former house in Nashville, Polk Place. I have no doubt that Nashville wishes Polk Place was still around for tourists, but it was bought and demolished in 1900 so apartments could be put in its place. A nice fountain from the home is now displayed at the Ancestral Home.
Zack let us know that, for some time after James Polk's death, his wife Sarah would give tours of Polk Place! She dressed in mourning clothes for the rest of her life. James and Sarah did appear to be very much in love, and their story is a very sweet one.
I could go on about how great this home/museum is. Being the only Polk Home left, and the fact that they have pretty much all of the key items associated with James Polk, this is the definitive James K. Polk site.