Visiting the James K. Polk Home in TN

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The James K. Polk Home and Museum in Columbia, Tennessee is the only surviving residence of the nation’s 11th president other than the White House. There’s a lot of history in this notable house, and that’s just one of the many reasons why you should visit the James K. Polk Home.

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Learn About the 11th President of the United States

How much do you know about the 11th president? In Tennessee, James K. Polk is overshadowed by Andrew Jackson, and you rarely hear anything about Polk.

The James K. Polk Home and Museum gives Polk his time to shine. 

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Polk had a very accomplished political career as a U.S. Congressman, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Governor of Tennessee, and finally President of the United States. During his presidency, he reshaped the nation by overseeing the largest territorial expansion in American history.

The home contains plenty of original belongings of Polk and his wife Sarah, which put into context the life of the 11th president and his family. In the Polk Presidential Hall building, you can peruse original and traveling exhibits that relate to the presidency, society, and culture during Polk’s lifetime. 

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Great for History and Architecture Lovers Alike

Not only is the house the only surviving private residence of James K. Polk, but it was also the first two-story building in the city of Columbia. The painted brick house is one of the best examples of Federal-style architecture in Tennessee.

The house was built in 1816 by Polk’s father Samuel Polk. The property also contains the 1818 Sisters’ House where Polk’s sisters lived with their families, which now serves as the museum’s visitor center. A detached kitchen, reconstructed in 1946 on the original foundation, is also located on the property, allowing guests a look at period cooking implements and household accessories. 

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The gardens and landscaped grounds feature objects and plantings from James K. Polk’s final home in downtown Nashville, which was torn down in 1901. These features include a cast iron fountain, decorative urns, and other external features. 

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Walk-In Tours Daily

A knowledgeable docent will lead you through James K. Polk’s pivotal role in U.S. history and guide you through the objects and stories of the 11th president. Guided tours are available daily and there is no reservation required. 

The museum is open daily throughout the year, only closing on major holidays. Admission for the museum with a guided tour costs $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, $8 for youth ages 6-18, and free for children under 6. If you only want to visit Polk Presidential Hall, admission costs $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 6-18.

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A Great Thing to Do in Columbia, TN

The James K. Polk Home and Museum is located in downtown Columbia, just a block from the historic Maury County courthouse square, one-of-a-kind shops, and excellent restaurants. When you’ve finished your tour of the home, you can explore one of the best small towns in the South! 

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Welcome to Travel the South!

Travel the South is run by Melody Pittman and Taylor Hardy. With the help of some fantastic travel writers, they help you plan your travels to the Southern states.

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