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Rock Castle approved for $7.3 million preservation project

Improvements will elevate mansion as a historical and cultural center

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  – The Sumner County’s legislative delegation today announced $7.3 million has been approved by the Tennessee General Assembly for renovations and enhancements to Rock Castle State Historic Site in Hendersonville.

The 230-year-old stone mansion was built by General Daniel Smith, an American Revolutionary War hero who was one of Tennessee’s founding fathers.

The project includes replacing the existing visitors’ center and pavilion with a new multi-use center featuring indoor and outdoor event space. The plan includes historic reconstruction and design of the mansion’s original smokehouse and garden.

In a joint statement, Majority Leader William Lamberth, R-Portland, Speaker Pro Tempore Ferrell Haile, R-Gallatin, and Rep. Johnny Garrett, R-Goodlettsville, and Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, R-Lancaster said the improvements will greatly enhance the visitor experience.

“Rock Castle is a one-of-a-kind Tennessee treasure,” the lawmakers said. “This investment helps ensure the longevity of Rock Castle as a historical and cultural site that will be visited and enjoyed by generations to come.  We are grateful to the Tennessee Historical Commission for their continued partnership in preserving our shared past and enriching our future.”

Rock Castle is one of the state’s most visited historical landmarks, according to the Tennessee Historical Commission. It was built on part of 3,140 acres that Smith received in land grants for his service in the Revolutionary War.  Smith was a surveyor who produced the state’s first map and is credited with naming the state of Tennessee. He also helped draft the Tennessee State Constitution.

The mansion serves as a venue for several popular cultural events throughout the year including a Songwriters’ Night Concert Series, Folk and Bluegrass Fest, Summer Harvest Days and youth camps.

Construction is expected to begin in 2022. Visit Rock Castle State Historic Site for information about tours and events.

The capital project for Rock Castle includes:

  • Construction of a new state of the art, multi-use visitor center with indoor and outdoor space
  • The mansion and smokehouse will receive some historic restorations including dormers, fencing, and a return of the smokehouse to its earliest known design.
  • Expanded site improvements include sidewalks, replacement of the Bell Tower, and historic reconstruction of the garden, gazebo, garden walks, and decorative fencing.
  • The deteriorated shoreline will be stabilized and rebuilt where needed.
  • The caretaker’s residence will be repaired and renovated.
  • A 2,400 square foot storage barn with working space
  • Parking lot expansion
  • A portable boat dock will be added to serve educational programs
  • The historic cemetery will be cleaned, preserved, and rehabilitated.
  • New interpretive signage across the site.



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