July 22, 2018
Glen Leven Farm Hosts National Honeybee Day Celebration
On August 19, visitors could take a guided tour of the Glen Leven Farm Honey Bee Sanctuary and watch the bees in action from the viewing area. Experts from the Nashville Area Beekeepers Association were available to discuss the importance of bees, and guests could sample and purchase Glen Leven Farm raw honey. There was a children’s activity of planting a native wildflower to take home, and guests could also tour the Hermitage Hotel’s garden at Glen Leven Farm.
Glen Leven Farm is a working 65-acre farm just four miles from downtown Nashville near Franklin Pike and Thompson Lane. This historic farm was established by Thomas Thompson (1759-1837) through a Revolutionary War land grant for 640 acres in 1790. Thompson was one of the original settlers of Nashville.
Thompson built a block house near present-day 715 Thompson Lane. His son John Thompson (1793-1876) expanded the plantation to 950 acres, and in 1857, built the Federal-style house with Greek Revival details that stands on the land today.
At John Thompson’s death, the property was divided between his two sons. The elder son John M. Thompson (1852-1919), inherited the western portion of the property and the house. In his lifetime he become a state senator, commissioner of agriculture, and as a farmer of the land was a breeder of shorthorn cattle and horses.
Throughout the 19th century, the family cultivated crops typical of the region: wheat, cotton, tobacco, and a variety of vegetables and fruit such as potatoes, tomatoes, kale, apples, and strawberries. In addition to cattle and horses, the family raised hogs, sheep, and chickens.
At John M. Thompson’s death, the farm was divided among his five adult children, three of whom lived at Glen Leven until 1968. From 1969-1971, the house was owned by non-family member, Nashville record producer Shelby Singleton (1931-2009).
In 1971, Susan West, great-great-great-granddaughter of Thomas Thompson, bought back the house and five acres surrounding it, land which adjoined land inherited by her mother. In 2006 Susan M. West bequeathed to The Land Trust For Tennessee for protection of the land in perpetuity. West is the sixth generation of the Thompson family to own the land.
The current Glen Leven working farm operation includes: an heirloom garden planted and maintained by Double H Farms, the Hermitage Hotel’s sustainable farming project; a honeybee sanctuary; an education garden maintained by The Land Trust For Tennessee; a rotational cattle grazing system managed by GL shorthorns; and hops grown by Jackalope Brewery.
Glen Leven Farm is located at 3906 Franklin Pike, Nashville, Tennessee. For more information, visit The Land Trust For Tennessee website: http://landtrusttn.org/glen-leven/
Photos courtesy The Land Trust For Tennessee
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