Columbia, Tennessee

The Historic Athenaeum - Columbia, Tennessee
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The Historic Athenaeum, located in downtown Columbia, Tennessee, served as the rectory for two popular girl schools from the 1830s until the Great Depression. Construction of the Athenaeum began in 1832 by Samuel Polk Walker, a nephew of President James K. Polk.

Walker, however, never lived in the home. The first residents were the family of Reverend Franklin Gillette Smith. Rev. Smith came to Columbia to oversee the Columbia Female Institute. Smith would continue to work at the Institute until 1851. Then, he started his own girl's school, the Athenaeum.

What is today known as The Historic Athenaeum is all that remains of the once-famous girls' school. The Athenaeum is now a historic site and museum open for tours.

Visitor Hours:
Thursday thru Saturday: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Monday thru Wednesday: open by appointment
Cost: $5 per person, any age
Parking for tours is available on the Athenaeum property or street side.

Contact The Historic Athenaeum

The Historic Athenaeum
808 Athenaeum Street
Columbia, Tennessee 38401 (click to view a map)

From the Natchez Trace - exit at TN Hwy 7 (milepost 416), TN Hwy 50 (milepost 408) or US 412 (milepost 391) and travel to downtown Columbia.

Tell The Historic Athenaeum you found them on!

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