The grounds of City Park have a long heritage that goes back to 1785 when General Robert Irvin was granted the land for his service during the Revolutionary War. Until 1944, the property stayed in the family, with stately Mooreland Mansion, built by Irwin’s grandsons, being the focal point. But in the 1970s Mooreland was threatened to be torn down by developers, which lead to it being placed on the National Historical Register in 1975.
After Brentwood became a city, developers became interested in various properties, the Mooreland land being one of them. The first group to make plans for the area was Mercantile Company, which owned the Castner Knott stores in Nashville. Mercantile wanted to turn the area into a retail development and tear the mansion down. But the mansion was historically significant for many reasons, one of which was its architecture. The design was a copy of other Greek Revival homes created by Minard LeFever, a famous architect from the era.
While most plantation homes built in what we now call Brentwood had Greek Revival elements, Mooreland was true to all elements of the style, and it had windows that went to the floor and raised up so they could be passed through to the outside veranda. Birds Eye Maple was used for the woodwork, and a metal roof was imported from England. It also had a basement, where the slaves lived. They too had a unique element to their quarters, a screened in patio that, due to its location, remained cool on the hottest night and was a gathering place.
Eventually, the Mercantile Company was talked into saving the mansion, but the deal fell through and the land was bought by the Koger Company. They, too, were planning to raze the building, but they were talked out of their plans and instead they spent a million dollars restoring it and making it into their management building for the office park they built around it, incorporating many of the trees that were part of the Mooreland property.
The next group to get involved with the property was Service Merchandise. They had plans to build a retail development with the mansion as the focal point, but that plan fell through and it remained an office park for many years. After the Koger management office moved out of the mansion, for a while it was a gourmet restaurant.
In 1975, the Tennessee Historical Commission applied for Mooreland to be placed on the historical register. Many concerned citizens shared stories about the mansion on the application. The home weathered Indian attacks, an earthquake, the Civil War, and the more recent corporate kind of skirmish, but it has remained standing. And is sure to add its gracious elegance to Brentwood for many years to come.
Currently, Mooreland is incorporated into the structure of the Hilton Garden Inn, a beautiful centerpiece to the new development in the area and the remodel of the Koger Office Park into City Park.