Spirits of the past linger at Two Rivers Mansion

Haunted Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Two Rivers Mansion is one of the last of its kind in the Nashville area. It’s also one of the most well-preserved and ornate homes in Middle Tennessee.

The mansion was built by David McGavock in 1859 for his bride William Elizabeth Harding. The home was not finished until the 1870’s. The McGavock family lived at this property until 1965 when Mary Louise Bransford McGavock died. She instructed that the remainder of her estate be sold to be used for the operation or expansion of the Division of Hermatology at Vanderbilt Hospital and Medical School. News 2 spoke with Mansion Events Coordinator Laura Carrillo about the history of the property.

“The house gets a listing of 1859, built by David H. McGavock and his wife Elizabeth. They were married in May of 1850. The smaller home was built in 1802. Her father purchased that in 1825.”

After setting up housekeeping in the 1802 house, Carrillo said the family quickly began to work on the mansion. Carrillo explained the reason the home wasn’t finished until the 1870’s, was because the Civil War brought everything to a halt.

When the last heir of the family died, the property was purchased by the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County.

Now, the space is used for events like weddings, anniversaries, baby showers or concerts. Carrillo told News 2 she is honored to be working in a place like Two Rivers Mansion.

“Just being a part of something that has so much history, I come from a three-generation family in Davidson County. Growing up down the street, just seeing the care that has been taken with it, they were in debate when they first bought it, they didn’t know what to do with it. It was in too good of shape to tear down, it was magnificently built. They spent a lot of money and care into the house.”

The property has a lengthy history, one that some say is filled with ghosts of the past.

“It’s like every older house, you do have people that remained after their passing. Our most famous is Mary Louise McGavock. I have seen her once in an apparition in the early 90’s. She was in the pocket doors. She always appears in a white dress. She is fond of playing with the electricity and the water. She likes to unscrew lightbulbs and chandeliers, turn lights off and turn lights on– run the water… it’s more like antics.”

Carrillo recalled a time she was so frightened, she had to leave the mansion.

“We were setting up and I was down here and there was nobody here, my husband left to grab us some food. All the doors were closed and all of the sudden the chandelier, it makes a particular noise with the prisms, it was like someone hit the chandelier and rattled the prisms. Truly, it got my attention. And I’m like okay.. and I tried to ignore it. A few minutes later it happened again and it was louder. It was a little scary and I decided to leave.”  

Carrillo explained that you can also hear certain chilling sounds on upstairs near the bedrooms.

“You’ll hear a ball bouncing on the hardwood floor, you’ll hear giggling. You’ll see streaks flashing by and the smell of roses. You’ll walk in and smell a rose garden.”

Carrillo shared a few photos with News 2 that go along with a few ghost stories on the property.

“These are some of the photos we have picked up through the years. Over here on the south lawn on the McGavock High School side– this is an amateur photographer, he picked up all this orb action in the next shot. We were having a wedding back in the late 90’s and it was drizzling rain. The bride had gone out front to look at something and the photographer snapped her coming up the back stairs on the veranda. You can see there’s a figure in the window looking down.”

Carrillo continued by sharing other stories and photos, including a figure in the front yard and the famous ghost dog seen by staff, grounds crew and occasionally guests. She also shared photographs she took in the attic of the 1802 house.

“I had my camera up there and started snapping. There’s a door… I snapped this and a few minutes later you can see all of the orbs up in the attic.”

Carrillo told News 2 the 1802 home was built by David Buchanan.

“There were two other owners before William Harding purchased the home before 1825. When you think of William Harding, you think of Belle Meade. When he purchased the home, it was only about 400 acres, which in that time period was not a lot of acreage. He kept acquiring

Carrillo said at the time, it was a grand home. Most people in Middle Tennessee lived in small cabins, but this home had several rooms and could sleep at least 20 in the attic.

“Having access to both rivers, it was prime farmland on the banks of the Cumberland.”

Carrillo told News 2 that not many people can stay inside the home for long.

“There is a feeling of heaviness and even nausea. Activities in the windows, seeing visions of images like a person looking out of the windows. There’s a lot of activity in this house.”

There are tours on the property that you can buy tickets to this spooky season. Each one incorporates a historical tour of the Two Rivers Mansion and the 1802 House with various paranormal occurrences discussed. To buy tickets, click here.

For more bone-chilling tales from across Tennessee CLICK HERE if you dare!

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