the secrets • Experience the mysteries • See the beauty
In 1896, entrepreneur Clay Faulkner
told his wife Mary he'd build her "the grandest mansion in Tennessee"
if she would move next to their woolen mill, 2-1/2 miles from downtown
Mary agreed, and Faulkner supervised
construction as enthusiastically as he promoted the mill's "Gorilla
Pants" (so strong even a gorilla couldn't tear them apart)
and mineral water at the Faulkner Springs Hotel, the "ideal
health and pleasure resort" he would eventually open on the
lake across the road.
Faulkner's solid-brick, 10,000-square-foot
mansion had all the "modern conveniences" when it was
built -- electric lights, indoor plumbing, central heat, and more.
That's one reason PBS dubbed it "Tennessee's Biltmore."
In the 1940s, Clay Faulkner's
mansion was converted into a hospital and nursing home. An early
ad boasted a quiet location and an ideal climate, at rates of $5.00
to 8.00 per day -- according to care required. By the mid-1950's,
Dr. J.P. Dietrich had added onto the building and renamed it the
Faulkner Springs Hospital. Local folks still tell fond stories about
the doctor and the house where he dispensed medicine and love. The
doctor closed the hospital in 1968. He stripped out much of the
woodwork in an unsuccessful attempt to tear down the solid brick
structure, then let it sit empty for a decade an a half.
When George McGlothin bought
the old house at auction in 1989, it was a ghost of its former glory.
He and his wife Charlien began four years of restoration, tackling
95 percent of the work themselves. Their efforts were rewarded with
the National Trust's Great American Home Award for restoration in
1997. Today, the mansion is filled with museum quality Victorian
antiques, and some say it's presided over by a friendly ghost --
perhaps the proud builder himself.
It's open seven days a week year
round for historic house museum tours, group entertainment shows, delicious
meals, 1890s shopping, weddings and other special events -- all
of which live up to Falcon Rest's well-earned reputation as "the
Victorian mansion where history is fun."
from the Gent
The Victorian Gentleman is the talent behind the
fun and the visionary behind the restoration at Falcon Rest Mansion.
Whenever you see our "Gems from the Gent" logo, click
for some of his entertaining stories about the mansion.
For a start, follow this link to find out more
about The People
Behind the Victorian Gent and Lady. To read more of his
first-person stories, go to the "Gent's