Cheekwood | Nashville Historic Homes
Christopher T. Cheek moved to Nashville in the mid 1880s and founded a wholesale grocery business which his son Leslie later joined as his business partner.
It was around this time same that a cheek cousin, Joel, had developed a superior blend of coffee that was marked through Nashville’s Maxwell House hotel. The extended Cheek family had invested in this business venture and had their investments returned in 1928w when Postum (now General Foods) purchased Maxwell House’s parent company, Cheek-Neal Coffee, for more than $40 million.
Using the money receiving from the coffee sales, the Cheek’s bought 100 acres of woodland in West Nashville and hired New York architect and landscape artist Bryan Fleming to design and build a home. The Cheek’s gave Fleming complete control of the design process which resulted in a limestone mansion with extensive gardens. Fleming’s masterpiece, appropriately named Cheekwood, was completed in 1932.
The home remained in the Cheek family until the 1950s when it was offered as a site for a botanical garden and art museum. It opened its doors as a public facility in 1960.
Cheekwood’s art collection was founded in 1959 and the museum has since become accredited by the American Association of Museums. The core holdings in the museum including collections of American art, American and British decorative arts, contemporary art and outdoor sculptures.
The mansion itself is also considered art, with its authentic wood and marble floors and original murals lining the main corridors.
The Carrell Woodland Sculpture trail extends the art collection to the outside of the home, focusing on outdoor art not commonly found in American museums. The Cheekwood Botanical Gardens extends throughout the 55-acre site with an emphasis on display, education and study.
Cheekwood is open to visitors Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Visit www.cheekwood.org for more information.