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Buddeke-Byrne House

Updated: Apr 19

The first mansion in what soon became Germantown west of the capitol, the Buddeke-Byrne House stood at the corner of Vine and Monroe Sts. - 1226 Vine St. (now 7th Ave. North).

John H. Buddeke (1808-1887) and Mary Jane Ratterman Buddeke (1816-1879) moved from Lebanon Rd. to North Nashville and Germantown and constructed their home in 1840. The mansion was beautifully furnished with the Buddekes traveling to New York, Chicago and Europe to find furnishings. John had founded a very successful mercantile business including groceries and whiskey and invested well in real estate. On his Lebanon Rd. land in 1856, Buddeke with Adrian V.S. Lindsley established Mt. Olivet Cemetary on 200 acres to provide a resting place for a growing Nashville population. It was modeled after Mt. Auburn in Massachusetts.

In 1838, the Buddekes hosted the first Catholic Bishop for Nashville, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Richard Pius Miles, while he got settled at his new job. The Buddeke-Byrne place was a social and religious center of the German community in Germantown. Many German immigrants were drawn to a similar community as their homeland, and Germantown prospered and helped Nashville grow and diversify. Buddeke and his brother-in-law George Ratterman were major forces in developing Germantown as well as North Nashvillle in the 1850s/60s.

After John’s death, the property became an apartment building. Next, in 1894, Rev. Thomas Sebastian Byrne was selected as the Fifth Bishop of Nashville and worked as head of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church. He lived at the Buddeke-Byrne House. Bishop Byrne started to make his mark in Nashville. Four years later, in 1898, he asked the Daughters of Charity convent to start a hospital. The Daughters of Charity purchased a small hospital called Protestant Hospital and renamed it St. Thomas Hospital. [The hospital was successful and outgrew the structure. They then purchased the Ensworth mansion on Hayes St. from Judge Jacobsen in 1902 and renovated it. About 60 years later, St. Thomas wanted to expand west, tried to open at Hillsboro and Sharondale on former Sharon Hill property, but ended up on former Bosley property on Harding Rd. near Ridgecrest Dr. as St. Thomas West.]

About 1900, the place then turned into the Tennessee Academy of Music run by Prof. Franz J. Strahm. In 1910, Bishop Byrne led the fundraising for and oversaw the construction of the new Cathedral of the Incarnation on West End Ave. In 1914, Bishop Byrne got approval from the Catholic Diocese to purchase and reside in the Buddeke-Byrne House. In 2019, the Buddeke-Byrne House hosts Assumption parish offices, meeting space and other functions. See Ensworth, Bonnie Brae/ Sharon Hill

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