James K. Polk’s Home

I was in Nashville to work the booth at a conference. Nate drove down with Karen, and on Monday afternoon we had nothing to do. We drove to Columbia and toured James K. Polk’s home. I was there with Sally and the girls in 1997, but the house was undergoing renovation at that time, and we could only get into the visitor center.

IMG_0640

IMG_0533-862x1024

IMG_0538-769x1024

Nate and I were on a tour with a couple from Minnesota. Our guide could see that all of us were interested and informed and so she took her time, answered our questions and was very informative. In fact, she took so long that we didn’t have time to look around the visitor center in the house next door.

Polk lived in the house, which was his parents’ home, from the time he was 17 until he was married at 23. The furniture now in the house was owned by the Polks, but isn’t from this house. Some is from the White House, some from other homes (now gone) James and Sarah lived in, and some of it was Sarah’s after James died.

This is the entrance hallway. I thought it, and the hallway upstairs, were both very large for a house with only five rooms.

IMG_0619

IMG_0620

The parlor, with furniture from the White House. The table on which I placed the chair (with permission) was given to the President by an African nation. The top is inlaid marble.

IMG_0622

IMG_0537-801x1024

The two portraits show Polk at the start of his presidency and four years later.

IMG_0624

The dining room. The tableware was designed by Sarah for use in the White House. Each setting had a different Tennessee wildflower on it.

IMG_0626

IMG_0621

IMG_0623

The upstairs hallway.

IMG_0655

IMG_0539-882x1024

Polk’s lounging jacket. It’s the only item of his clothing still in existence — the rest was destroyed because he died of cholera.

IMG_0627

The bedroom Polk shared with his three brothers. It contains furniture from Polk’s law office and the daybed he used in his study in the White House.

IMG_0625

Our guide told us that Polk was a workaholic and used to spend the night in his office on this bed.

IMG_0540-799x1024

The bedroom used by Polk’s two sisters.

IMG_0654

The bedroom used by Polk’s parents. Note that the fireplace isn’t centered.

IMG_0658

The two-room kitchen was in a separate building behind the house.

IMG_0659

IMG_0652

IMG_0651

The back of the house as seen from the kitchen.

IMG_0657

This entry was posted in Presidential Sites, Red Chair. Bookmark the permalink.