During our Summer Adventure of 2021, we had the chance to stop and tour the Carnton House also known as the Carnton Plantation, even though it was never a plantation, in Franklin, Tennessee.
Tour tickets can be purchased at the visitor center. Unfortunately, no video of photography is allowed inside the house during the tour, but you are allowed to take as many pictures as you want of the grounds.
Your ticket gets you an hour-long tour of the Carnton house as well as a self-guided tour of the garden, grounds, and Civil War cemetery on the property.
What is most interesting for me, is that the Carnton House was used as a field hospital during the civil war and you can still see bloodstains on the floor from those who were treated (I wish I could have gotten a picture, but photography is not allowed).
The garden next to the house was a prize possession of the McGavock’s and was originally located in front of the house until about 1847 when the original garden was removed and a new garden was established west of the house.
The First House
Next to the main house are remnants of a small house which was actually the first house built on the property by Randal McGavock in 1815. It wasn’t until 1826 that a much larger structure was built and adjoined to the older structure. The first house was damaged by a tornado in 1909 and eventually removed, but if you look closely you can see the imprint of it between the Main House and the Smokehouse.
The smokehouse which is located next to the main house was used to smoke hogs in the 1800s which helped feed the over 40 people that lived and worked at Carnton.
The Main House
In the mid-1840s John McGavock inherited the property when his father Randal died. In 1874, he extended the front walk, changed the location of the garden, and added a small Greek revival-style front portico according to the Battle of Franklin Trust. In the 1850s, he continued with improvements to the home by adding a large addition as well as a porch and upper balcony.
The home consists of 8 rooms, a full basement, and a third-floor attic.
Located on the property is a confederate cemetery and is the final resting place of nearly 1,500 confederate soldiers that were killed in the Battle of Franklin. The cemetery is organized into two long columns and divided up by state.
The family cemetery is located directly next to the confederate cemetery and consists of two sections. One section consists of the McGavock family members and friends and the other section is believed to have those that were enslaved by the McGavock family.
1345 Eastern Flank Circle
Franklin, TN 37064
Mon – Sat: 9am – 5pm
Sunday: 11am – 5pm
Last tour starts at 4pm daily.
$18 for adults, $8 for children (ages 6-15)
Know Before You Go
The grounds close at 5 pm. If you do the last tour of the day and want to explore, make sure to arrive early so you can explore the grounds before your tour starts.
No Photography or Video in the house. You cannot take photos or videos inside the house. Around the grounds is permitted for personal use only.
No drones. Drones are not allowed on the property.
No firearms or weapons. Firearms and weapons are not allowed on the property, even if you have a permit.
Cell phones. You must turn your cell phone off or have it on silent during the tour. If you must take a call, you will have to step outside to do so.
Children. Families with active or restless children may be asked to take turns when touring the house.