Monday, May 9, 2011

President James K. Polk, 11th President

Today we visited a home of President James K. Polk.  All the furnishings in the home are the actual furnishings they had in their homes and in the White House.  I was amazed at all the furnishings.  If I remember correctly, the guide said there are over 1300 items from their estate.

Here is a little bit about the home and history.

The James K. Polk Ancestral Home in Columbia, Tennessee is the only surviving residence of the eleventh U.S. President (excluding the White House). Samuel Polk, a prosperous farmer and surveyor, built the Federal-style brick house in 1816 while his oldest son James was attending the University of North Carolina. When the future President graduated in 1818, he returned to Tennessee and stayed with his parents until his marriage to Sarah Childress in 1824. While living in his family's Columbia home, James practiced law and began his political career by successfully running for the State Legislature. Today, the Home displays original items from James K. Polk's years in Tennessee and Washington, D.C. including furniture, paintings, and White House china.
In addition to touring the main Home, guests may visit the adjacent ca. 1820 Sisters' House where two of the President's married sisters lived at different times. The Sisters' House offers a 12-minute orientation video, a museum room, temporary exhibits, and a shop. The museum features some of the most unique and significant artifacts from the site's collections including daguerreotypes of President and Mrs. Polk, White House gifts and mementos, campaign memorabilia from the Election of 1844, and Sarah Polk's Inaugural fan with miniature portraits of the first eleven Presidents.

I was allowed to take pictures but without the flash so these are not sharp --

This is a water pitcher.  Mrs. Polk would offer visitors water and the trey is for their calling cards.

This is Mrs. Polk's piano forte and parlor chair.

Parlor furniture.  The table was a gift to the President - an Eagle and 30 stars for the 30 states.
 Table was made from marble.
Also, one of her gowns.  She was 5' 2". He was around 5' 11".
The carpet, wall paper, drapes were typical of the time period.

 President Polk's reading chair that he used at the White House.
Sorry for the blurry picture.

Day Bed that President Polk used at the White House.  It was in his office and has the original coverings.
He worked long hours and it was probably used for naps.

Their bed has an acorn atop the post.  The Polk's used the acorn as a family symbol.
 Note the chamber pot.

Mrs. Polk's portable writing table.

Her washing basin and pitcher.

Canopy bed.  Mrs. Polk's shawl, gloves and walking stick on bed.
She lived 42 years after his death and only wore black after he died.
He died 3 months after he left the White House.

Inaugural Gown
Inaugural Fan

She had small feet.

Fan was a gift after the Mexican War.  She only used it for special occasions.
 She said it was too heavy.

Indian beaded purse and I think a belt. A gift from Indian visitors to the White House.  

White House China

The gardens were beautiful with boxwood, azaleas and other flowers.
 I don't know what this flower is, but I thought it was beautiful.

1 comment:

Laurence and Sidney said...

What a great post!! The pictures are wonderful. Thanks so much for the wonderfully entertaining/educational post!!
So glad you're having such a great trip!!