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Claiborne Mansion/ Tennessee School for the Blind

The Claiborne Mansion was built on a hill called Reservoir Hill because Nashville's reservoir was nearby. The street was originally Fillmore St. (current 108 Hermitage Ave.). It was a 4 story huge mansion built in 1866. The site is now under part of the I-40/ I-24 interchange to the east of Nashville.


Lt. Micajah Green Lewis Claiborne (1808-1876) had a distinguished naval career and then retired in 1849 to become a farmer. He married Lavinia Thompson Cannon Claiborne (1828-1905) in 1848. Claiborne's parents were Dr. Thomas Augustine Claiborne and Sarah "Sally" Terrell Lewis Claiborne.[Evidently, the Claiborne brothers enjoyed a double wedding ceremony with the Lewis sister: Dr. Clairborne wed Sally Lewis and William Claiborne wed Elizabeth Lewis. William became the first governor of Louisana.]


His grandparents were William Tyrell Lewis, Jr. and Mary Ann H. Lewis of Fairfield on Hermitage as well. Her parents were Gov. Newton and Rachel Cannon of Williamson Co. Sally died young. Micajah was raised by the Lewis family. After his navy stint, the Lewis grandparents gave Micajah a portion of the Fairfield plantation on which to build a home. Among other interests, M.G.L. Claiborne also owned the Old Factory Store in Franklin from 1855-1869; Landmark Booksellers is enjoyed a great run in the building now.


About 1875, Judge John M. Lea bought the building and donated it to the Tennessee School for the Blind. The school was there for 80 years until a part of it moved to Stewarts Ferry Pk in 1952. Judge Lea was encouraged by Francis J. Campbell's advocacy of the civic idea. About 1942, Claiborne home was razed, and TSB's Primary Building was constructed. The family is remembered by nearby streets of Claiborne St., Maury St., Green, Cannon, Fairfield Ave and Lewis St.


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