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Buford-Ellison Mansion (By Ma)/ Father Ryan High School

Ed Buford humorously (or not) called his mansion “By Ma” as it was built next door to his mother-in-law’s mansion, Burlington.


By Ma was owned by Edward “Ed” L. Buford (1842-1928) and Lizinka “Zink” Elliston Buford (1852-1919) and built in 1881 on Richland Pike (now Elliston Place). Lizinka’s grandparents were Joe and Elizabeth Elliston of Burlington and her father, William R. Ellison had inherited Burlington. The Ellison family had lived in town at 32 North High St (now Sixth Ave. North) prior to moving west to a palatial estate. Buford was from Williamson County, and after the Civil War, as many veterans did, got a job as a merchant clerk. He eventually worked at a business where his uncle was a partner and learned much.


In the 1870s, his mother-in-law donated a tract of the family land to the east for the founding of a university by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South which was soon renamed Vanderbilt University. Around 1889, Buford founded Buford Brothers Wholesale Hardware. It operated in the Rhea Building at 164 Second Ave. North between 1895 until about 1907. Ed and Zink’s son, Capt. Edward L. Buford, Jr. achieved fame in World War I by becoming Nashville’s Ace, downing several enemy planes. Captain Buford won the Distinguished Service Cross, the French Croix de Guerre and the Legion of Honor. At some point, he reportedly flew under WWI Ace Eddie Rickenbacker. Tragically, after Ed Jr. recovered in Paris from war ailments including the Spanish influenza, he arrived in New York, and his mother Lizinka contracted Spanish flu and died a week later. The son did not return to Nashville to help run the family business. Eight years later, about 1927, the Buford family had sold much of the original Elliston estate to the West End Development Company.


In 1929, the Catholic Diocese purchased the Elliston Place land of By Ma and Burlington and founded a new school, named for a prominent local Catholic priest. The former campus on West End Ave. had grown too small. The Elliston Buford Mansion was incorporated into the Father Ryan campus. In the 1970s, parts of the mansion were renovated. In 1992, the Buford-Ellston Mansion was destroyed by fire after the school campus had moved. In 1904, Nashville renamed many of its streets and Elliston St. became 23rd Ave. North and Richland Pike became Elliston Place. See Burlington

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