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Fairfield: Afterward Nashville City Hospital, St. Margaret's Hosp, St. Bernard Acad.

Updated: Feb 6

This property had one of the most varied uses of any historic homes.

Photo from Tennessee State Library and Archives

Fairfield was owned by Maj. (William) Tyrrell Lewis, Jr. (1757-1808) and Mary Ann Hopkins Lewis (1760-1806). The current address would be 130 Green St. - under the exit ramp for I-24 at Hermitage Ave. The home was built in unusual Second Empire style between 1855-1862. The current street Fairfield Ave. was a lane leading to the entrance.

Then Maj. William Berkley Lewis (1784-1866) and Tyrrell’s daughter Margaret (Mary)(1793-1815) lived there in 1813. Maj. Lewis owned an early Nashville "hostelry" which opened about 1796. It's location was just off the Nashville Public Square. By 1806, it was called Winn's Inn. Later, it was the Nashville Inn. In 1856 it was destroyed by fire. He was a friend and appointee of Andrew Jackson. Maj. Lewis was the leader of Pres. Jackson’s Kitchen Cabinet. Tyrrell’s daughter Myra Lewis married Maj. John Henry Eaton in 1813. Maj. Eaton was also a very close ally of Pres. Andrew Jackson and served in his cabinet. After Myra’s death, Maj. Eaton began courting Peggy O’Neill Timberlake whose husband had also recently died. This courtship precipitated the Petticoat Affair in Jackson’s administration. John and Peggy married in 1829. Maj. William B. Lewis stood by his brother-in-law John as did Pres. Jackson. Mary Ann Lewis (1814-1866) married M. Alphonse Yves Pageot (1803-1878) in 1832. Pageot was a French diplomat and son of the French Consul General. [Some research indicates this 1832 wedding in the White House may have been its first one.]

In 1862, William B. deeded the property and 180 acres to M. Alphonse and Mary Ann Lewis Pageot, son-in-law and daughter. Alphonse was French Minister to the United States; they remained in France and reserved the right to return to the property for their lifetime. The couple continued living in France for years, but their son, Andrew Jackson Pagoet, was living with Lewis at Fairfield. After Margaret died, Maj. Lewis married Adelaide Stokes Chambers who died a year into marriage. In 1842, Major Lewis’ youngest daughter married George Augustine Washington of Wessynton Plantation. Maj. Lewis died in 1866; then Mary Ann died the same year.

Alphonse remained in France, and Fairfield remained unoccupied for 15 years. Pageot had property on the market until his death in 1880.

In 1883, the property was sold at auction by Chancery Court to A.C. and William Kidd. Then A.C. gave his interest to William. In 1884, Kidd sold Fairfield and its 128 acres to W.M. Duncan, Samuel Keith, Edgar Jones and John M. Bass. The group sold the mansion and part of the property to the Medical Department of the University of Nashville. City Hospital was opened in the home. In 1890, a new City Hospital was opened on Hermitage Ave. at Rolling Mill Hill.

Next, in 1891, Bishop Rademacher bought Fairfield to open a Catholic Hospital, St. Margaret’s Hospital. The hospital was open to all patients regardless of ability to pay. It did not work out, and in 1894, the hospital was closed.

Bishop Byrne deeded it to the Sisters of Mercy the same year. St. Bernard Academy moved into the mansion in 1895. It was founded in 1866. The school was too far from the city center and moved to North Vine St. two years later. Forty years later, the school moved again about 1906 to 2304 Bernard Ave. in Hillsboro Village.

Fairfield may have remained vacant until 1903 when the Sisters of Mercy deeded it to the City of Nashville. In 1905, Fairfield was razed. In the early 1900s, the city of Nashville purchased the land. In 1906, James F. Lipscomb School was built and operated until 1960. Then the State of Tennessee took over the property, razed the school, and used the land for the construction of I-24 near Hermitage Ave. To the west of I-24, the family is recognized with Fairfield Ave. and Lewis St. See Wessynton Plantation


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