In 1993, we bought BonnyMeade. At that time, the historic mansion was still standing like a sentinel on the hill. In 1998, some kids playing around torched the mansion and it burned from 1:00 a.m. till 8:00 a.m. It was like we had lost part of the family. We left the brick walls standing for 2 or 3 years until they started to deteriorate and become a hazard to anyone walking close to the structure. Eventually, we had someone knock down the walls but left the brick and foundation around and inside the structure that remained. Year by year, the historic bricks were cleaned of the old mortar and stacked till we had accumulated around 15,000. The foundation still remained.
One day while looking at the remaining structure (foundation only) we got the idea - wouldn't it make a beautiful pavilion for people to use. Shortly after, we acquired this old historic log home in Smith County down by the Cumberland River (we believe that is why the logs are so massive - they had plenty of water) and had it moved up on the hill beside the soon to be pavilion location. Over one year later, we had the cottage finished and then we started on the pavilion.
This has been a labor of love for us. Saving and returning the log home, that was set to be burned in a day or two, into a cute resident cottage for folks to visit and vacation in. And although the original BonnyMeade Plantation home was gone, the original foundation, with hand carved stones made around 1810, still remains at the same location without one stone being moved as again a Sentinel for the public to see and enjoy.
We used the original 1810 bricks to brick the back portion of the historic cottage in addition to making the brick columns for the pavilion. We know these bricks were made only a few hundred feet from the old historic Mansion because we found the kiln and the soot field where they had cured them just below the hill of the original Mansion. The old historic bricks were also laid as walkways for the brides to travel going from one life to another with the person they have chosen to live the rest of their lives with.