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Colemere/ Colemere #2 - Cole's retirement country estate/ New Orleans Manor/ Monell's

Updated: Jun 15

1400 Murfreesboro Rd., Nashville, TN

Built in 1893 as a 2-story home in classic Colonial style


Colemere was built by Col. Edward William (E.W.)”King” Cole (1827-1899) and Anna Virginia Russell Cole (1846-1926). They wed in 1872. Anna’s parents lived in Augusta, Ga, and her father was a prominent cotton merchant and had served as mayor of Augusta.


Sherry Jackson


Cole and his first wife Louisa McGavock Lytle Cole (1831-1869) had started off at 2001 Lebanon Rd. (Cole House, NR 1974). They wed in 1851. Then, his family had lived in downtown Nashville for about twenty years from 1873-1893 during his business career at his home, the 3 story townhouse Terrace Place, at 305 Church St. and Polk Ave. and at 710 Church St. about 1890. After the Cole family left, Terrace Place became a boarding house by 1914. Two years later, in 1916, it was demolished, and the Doctor Building erected for medical professionals in the early twentieth century. He had built a 6-story building in Nashville.


Colemere sat on 17 acres. The property was renowned for its beautiful gardens which were designed like traditional English gardens. At least 5 U.S. presidents visited Colemere. Earlier, in 1865, Cole had moved his family to Augusta, GA because of the fall of Fort Donelson. He became superintendent of the Georgia Railroad and Banking Co. and remained in Augusta until 1868. In 1868, Cole had been a founder and president of American National Bank which merged with Fourth National Bank and became First American National Bank. He also became president of the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad in 1868. He purchased four more railway companies and renamed the entity the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railway in 1873. He remained superintendent of the Georgia Railroad Co. until 1875. In the late 1860s to the la1870s, he made extensive investments into the iron and coal mines in Sheffield, AL and increased his real estate holdings in the Nashville area.

Adam Bowie


In 1885, Col. Cole established and funded the Randal Cole Industrial School on 92 acres on Murfreesboro Rd. (it was later renamed the Tennessee Industrial School). The school, named for the Cole’s son, Randal, who died prior to adulthood, helped boys and girls learn an industry and a craft. Col. Cole was also managing director of Sheffield Coal, Iron and Steel Co. in Sheffield, AL.


E.W. and Anna Russell were married by Bishop Holland McIntyre who helped establish Vanderbilt University the next year. In 1892, the Coles established the Vanderbilt University Divinity School Cole lectureship endowed with $5,000. E.W. served as treasurer on the Vanderbilt University Board of Trust. After Cole passed, Anna Russell gave Vanderbilt money for a library, an office of dean of women, and a men's dormitory built in the 1950s Whitefoord Russel Cole Hall. She also funded an annual prize in the arts for the Nashville Art Association. In 1914, she endowed the Southern Sociological Congress.


Their daughter, Elizabeth Josephine “Josie” / “Johanna” Cole Edwards, wed S. Walker Edwards and later built Bellwood on Bowling Ave. (then Golf Club Ln). Their son, Whitefoord Russell Cole, later served as President of the Vanderbilt Board of Trust from 1915-1934. E.W. had Colemore built in preparation for his retirement. The original house burned in 1929.


In the next two years, Colemere was rebuilt by the youngest Cole daughter Anna Russell Cole Weaver (1887-1973) and her husband Dempsey Weaver, Jr. (1874-1938). Anna Russell and Dempsey had married in 1911. Dempsey’s grandfather, Dempsey Weaver, had owned Kingsley, and his grandfather’s brother, Thomas Shadrack Weaver, built Sevenoaks - both nearby. The style was based on Arlington Mansion in Natchez. Their residence was short-lived. After Dempsey died, Anna Russell purchased Greystones on Franklin Rd. from the G. Jackson family and moved into it.


In 1940, the City of Nashville purchased it and planned for its demolition in 1944 for Nashville airport expansion. That demolition did not occur. In 1948, it was used by politicians who started Colemere Club. From 1948-1973, politicians used Colemere Country Club as a place for government business and brought celebrity guests to dine and show off and entertain. In this era, a famous Easter Egg Hunt was held annually.


In 1977, Iona Senecal leased the mansion to start New Orleans Manor - the original of which had been successful in New Orleans. In 2008 the restaurant closed. Recent owners included Douglas and Heather Wright.


In 2018, Michael King owned the property and opened a location of Monell’s Restaurant. It remains on 17 acres. The name roughly translates as Mother Cole. In 2024, the Metro Nashville Airport Authority (MNAA) declined to renew the Monell's at Colemere lease. MNAA is planning runway expansion as the Nashville airport grows. The fate of the mansion is unclear. See also Bellwood, Greystones, Kingsley, Sevenoaks


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