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Glen Echo at Spring Hill Farm

Glen Echo, built about 1794 by Rev. Thomas Brown Craighead (1750-1824), was located on Gallatin Rd. (between present K-Mart and Briley Pkwy). [In the 1780s, the area became the town of Haysboro.]


He married Elizabeth Brown Craighead (1755-1829). His first home was Evergreen Place. His farm itself was named Spring Hill because of an ever-flowing spring near the house. He taught at a church that became a school - known as Craighead, then Davidson Academy (chartered by North Carolina in 1785), just across Gallatin Rd. It was the first organized school in Davidson County. The church was the first west of the Cumberland Mountains and the first Presbyterian church in middle Tennessee. Rev. Craighead became President of Davidson Academy which merged with Cumberland College. Later it became University of Nashville and then Peabody School for Teachers. The Craighead’s oldest son, John Brown, married Lavinia Robertson Beck of Buena Vista.


Madison Stratton (1818-1893) and wife Mary A. Snow Stratton (1815-1874) bought the farm in 1841. Stratton was the brother of Thomas Stratton of Lynnlawn. Stratton built a depot on the Louisville & Nashville (L&N) Railroad in the early 1860s which formed the basis for the community of Madison to grow.


In 1871, Capt William Walton and wife Emily Donelson Walton (1837-1936) purchased it. (Emily’s parents were Stockley and Phila Anne Lawrence Donelson who married in 1828 and built Cleveland Hall in 1839. Emily was the grand-niece of Rachel Jackson, wife of President Andrew Jackson. Emily’s first husband was John Boddie whom she married in 1856 at Cleveland Hall. He owned plantations in Alabama and they moved there. In 1859 Boddie died of typhoid fever. In 1863, Emily remarried to William Walton who she had met in Alabama. The couple returned to Tennessee after the Civil War and in 1870 to Glen Echo.) Capt. Walton died in 1908.


In 1945, relatives Lunsford M. Hollins and Laura S. Hollins with son John J. Walton lived at the property with aunts Fannie Owen and Alice Donelson Walton. It remained in the Walton family until 1958 when it was sold for development of a shopping center and construction of Briley Parkway. The home was finally torn down in the 1970s for Briley Parkway construction. Emily Donelson Walton named it Glen Echo. Behind the spring, there was a high bluff which Emily thought of in Scottish terms as a “glen.” One could yell across the spring and the sound would echo off the bluff - thus the name Glen Echo. See also Buena Vista, Cleveland Hall, Evergreen, Lynnlawn.

Photo by Betty Hadley

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