If you didn’t know – Granny White, the namesake of the Brentwood City Park and the road, was a real person.
She ran an inn called Granny White’s Tavern on what was then called the middle road from Nashville to Franklin in the early 1800s.
The Brentwood Historic Commission has memorialized her with a new historic marker in her park.
Before Franklin Turn Pike (Franklin Road) was built in the 1830s, what is now Granny White Pike was the main north-south route.
According to various local historians, it was known to travelers as the best inn “between Louisville and New Orleans.” Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren and other notable persons of the day traveled the road and surely knew of her inn. Thomas Hart Benton, who worked for Jackson and later became a long-serving Senator from Missouri, was a longtime patron.
Granny White herself had come to the area after tragedy with her two orphaned grandchildren and a slave on a hard journey across the Smokey Mountains of North Carolina to begin anew. Her hardscrabble story, and the success she had with her inn, greatly impressed Benton.
He was prone to pontificate in the Senate on the value of freedom, independence and hard work as the American way. And in a speech, he invoked the story of Granny White. Of course, the Washington and national media wanted to know who this woman was, and she and her story, perhaps exaggerated and idealized by Benton, became known across the country. The actual story of whatever became of her and her inn seems to be uncertain, but in the end, the road and local park came to bear her name.