In 1811 Nathaniel Cheairs, III moved his family from North Carolina to Spring Hill, Tennessee and purchased 300 acres for $1,800. He built a large wooden house on the property and raised ten children. His tenth child, Nathaniel (Nat) F. Cheairs, IV was born on the property in 1818. Nat later inherited the land from his father and began construction of the brick mansion we know as Rippavilla.
In 1850, Nat built the smoke house and the kitchen and immediately started building the two-story brick home for his family. By the end of 1855, the Cheairs family resided comfortably in their new home.
Every wall in the house is three-bricks-thick and the floor plan is the same from the cellar up. At the time of its completion the house had a porch that covered the back of the first and second stories. The porch at the carriage entrance and the front porch were originally wooden and the carriage entrance porch only extended as far as the columns.
According to the 1860 Federal Census, the Cheairs plantation consisted of 1,100 acres producing everything from wheat, corn, cotton, tobacco, oats, to raising livestock such as hogs, sheep, cattle, mules, and horses.
During the Civil War, troops of both armies camped and fought battles on and near the plantation. Both Union and Confederate generals used Rippavilla as their headquarters. In the dining room on November 30, 1864, Confederate General John Bell Hood outlined plans for the Battle of Franklin.
In 1893, Nathaniel sold the house and 1,200 acres to his younger son, William, for $40,000. William kept the house until 1920 and in the meantime added the four-car garage and garden walls on both sides of the house.
In 1920, William sold the house out of the family to the Whitfield family of Alabama, this time for $200,000. While the Whitfields only owned the house for about six years, they made many changes to the house. They installed electricity, plumbing and connected the home with the kitchen and smoke house.
The Whitfields sold the house in 1926 and after that it changed hands four or five times and no major changes were made to the house. The land was farmed and at times cattle was raised on the land until 1985 when Saturn Corp. leased the property.
In 2007, General Motors donated Rippavilla and 98.44 acres to Rippavilla, Inc., with the approval of Maury County Government and the Industrial Development Board.
- If a ball is overthrown into an inaccessible area or out of play, the runners will be allowed to advance one base.
5700 Main St
Spring Hill, TN 37174-2408
Phone: (931) 486-9037