Belle Meade, Tennessee, is one of the most iconic Southern towns in the United States, and its significance has been recognized through its designation as a National Historic Landmark. As the only suburban city in Davidson County, Belle Meade has been shaped by its history as a plantation, horse racing, and racing thoroughbreds and its involvement in the nearby Vanderbilt University. Belle Meade is a city that embodies Southern history, and its distinctive character has been preserved to this day. Information can be found here.
Belle Meade traces its roots back to 1807 when John Harding bought the 1000-acre plantation from Revolutionary War veteran Isaac Franklin. Harding had already made his fortune as a merchant, fur trader, and land speculator, and moved to this location to escape the economic depression in Nashville. His wife, Selene, gave the plantation its name, Belle Meade, French, for a beautiful meadow. By the mid-19th century, the plantation was a self-contained economic and political powerhouse, and the Hardings eventually became the wealthiest family in the region. The Hardings were highly successful in many different ventures, including horse racing. In 1873 they established Belle Meade Race Course, which quickly became widely known as of the country’s top tracks. Discover facts about Berry Hill, Tennessee: A History of Music and Tranquility.