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Belle Meade TN: Richest Places Named by Clowns

Updated on April 1, 2014
Bealle Meade Plantation, National Register of Historic Places
Bealle Meade Plantation, National Register of Historic Places | Source

Promotion of the Natural Environment

Former Vice President and Climate Change awareness promoter Al Gore lives in Belle Meade, within the city limits of southwestern Nashville. This is the 12th richest place in America according to Bloomberg analysts, with a per capita average income of over $333,000. Although sustainability is a dedication of Belle Meade and Nashville, only about 1% of Belle Meade residents use public transport and only a few more residents carpool. About 82% drive alone in their automobiles.

Census2010 reported 3,013 people residing in this suburb, with a 12+% increase over 2000. Incomes rose on average 18% from 2000 to 2008 as well. with an average net worth found to be about $1.6 Million.

In 2010, Sperling's Best Places found a median home cost/value of nearly a million dollars at $899,420. Zillow and Trulia listed a range of prices across 80 homes for sale at : $265,000 to $22,500,00. Median sale price was $949,500; higher than the Sperling findings by about $50K. Rental homes were available in a range of $1,700 to $4,000 monthly.


Although very few of the Belle Meade residents use carpooling, carpooling is important on the highways through the Nashville Metro Area. A carpool lane is clearly marked and enforced during morning and evening rush hours. I have witnessed that a single driver in an auto using that lane during these hours is pulled over by law enforcement officers and ticketed. Further, I have heard from local residents that the driver must sit until after rush hour is over before being allowed to resume his trip.

Green spaces, parks, and large gardens are important in this area of the state, reinforced by the precedent that Al Gore's father dedicated the opening of the magnificent set of gardens at nearby Cheekwood in 1960. Sustainability is part of the metro area's ongoing plans for operation and appears in recycling programs and gardening classes at a number of facilities that include Cheekwood. Vanderbilt University is a proponent of sustainability and renewable energy sources.

Important Landmarks

show route and directions
A markerBelle Meade TN -
Belle Meade, TN, USA
get directions

B markerVanderbilt University, Nashville TN -
Vanderbilt University, 2201 West End Ave, Nashville, TN 37240, USA
get directions

C markerCheekwood Botanical Garden TN -
Cheekwood-Art & Gardens, 1200 Forrest Park Dr, Nashville, TN 37205-4206, USA
get directions

A markerBelle Meade TN -
Belle Meade, TN, USA
get directions

Things You Didn't Know

Looking for the definition of Belle Meade namesake sites in Tennessee and expecting to find "beautiful meadow" in French and Old English, I was surprised to find instead, the circus clowns James Belle and Harvey Meade.

These two men founded an all-white country club of the name Belle Meade in 1866. There is some suggestion that they may even have been members, or at least supporters, of the Ku Klux Klan.

These men worked in the middle 1800s for a little-remembered travelling circus called Shrimp and Harvey's, but got a big idea and quit right after the American Civil War. They applied their carny tactics and knowledge to making a large amount of money after the war by selling tonics ("snake oil") from town to town and later, collecting their country club fees. The tonics were largely alcoholic, so putting together their last names, you might get "beautiful honey-based spirits", as in English mead.

Belle Meade certainly has become synonymous with wealthy status these days, as well as with a city, a neighborhood, and at least one street bearing that name.

Outskirts of Belle Meade
Outskirts of Belle Meade

Upper Room Chapel and Meditation Garden

The Prince of Tennessee

The Prince of Tennessee is a comprehensive documentary type of book about Al Gore that is based on 500 interviews or more.

While his father Al Gore Sr. was an attorney for Big Oil, as well as a law professor at Vanderbilt, Al Gore Jr. has, according to this book, made real changes in his own life and environment for sustainability.

Controversy rages the public media about wheather his Belle Meade Estate is "green" or not, but evidence suggests that it is.

The book is an interesting character study, especially as a part of American History.

Chihuly at Cheekwood


Cheekwood Garden opened in May 1960, dedicated by Albert Gore Sr., Senator from Tennessee. It was built on the Cheek Estate and financed from a fortune that arose from the rlated rise of the Maxwell House coffee brand that was developed by a Cheek cousin. The Cheek-Neal Coffee company was purchased by what is now General Mills for $40,000,000 back in 1928.

The 50+ acres of botanical gardens and the mansion that houses an art museum, art gallery, and restaurant have contributed to the culture of Belle Meade and Nashville since their opening to the public by Senator Gore. The complex is located in the inner suburb of Franklin, Tennessee, along Belle Meade Blvd. a mile south of the City of Belle Meade.

In my visits to Cheekwood, I have most enjoyed the Janpaese Garden and the related sand garden near the mansion. Standing near it, one can almost hear the ocean waves.

The year 2010 was marked by a grand 50h Anniversary celebration for Cheekwood, in which renowned artist Dale Chihuly furnished remarkable glass sculptures throughout the grounds. They were an elegant addition for both day and night viewing. This all was in addition to regular yearly presentations and events that include the 5-week Thanksgiving-to-New Year's Celebration with several events of its own.

Belle Meade Jobs Doubled 2011 - 2014

In April 2014, over 42,000 jobs were advertised for Belle Meade, up from April 2011 and 22,000 jobs and June 2012 with 24,000 jobs.

The city lies along good transportation routes between major interstates I-40 and I-65. The city, an inner suburb of Nashville, is in close proximity to Vanderbilt University and Medical Center, one of the largest combined hiring entities in the state.

The State of Tennessee reported that the following local employers are among the Top 50 Employers in the state, according to personnel pool size.

  1. Vanderbilt Medical Center
  2. Gaylord Entertainment Co - Includes Hotels and Gaylord Opryland Resort
  3. St. Thomas Hospital
  4. Seton Corp - Healthcare
  5. Baptist Hospital
  6. HCA Healthcare
  7. National Nephrology Associates
  8. United Parcel Service Inc (UPS)
  9. Nissan North America Inc.
  10. Vanderbilt Children's Hospital

Largest Numbers of Jobs

  1. Registered Nurses(RNs)
  2. Truck Drivers
  3. Retail Sales Representatives
  4. Graphic and Web Design
  5. Project Managers - IT
  6. Sales Managers
  7. Physical Therapists
  8. Business Analysts
  9. Financial Analysts
  10. Administrative Assistants

Top Hiring Employers

  1. Swedish Medical Center
  2. Vanderbilt University
  3. HCA Healthcare System
  4. Asurion Ttrucking
  5. USA Truck
  6. Physician Services
  7. Saudi Aramico
  8. Elance Web and Design positions
  9. Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC, McDonald's
  10. Community Health Systems

Vanderbilt Medical School

Among the Top 20 Medical Schools in America
Among the Top 20 Medical Schools in America

Top 50 Employers:

Vanderbilt is also listed as Number 17 Best among colleges and universities in the USA by US News and World Report.

Healthcare research is a major thrust of ongoing activity at Vanderbilt University, examining new treatments for Autism Spectrum Disorders and Alzheimer's Disease. Already, Vanderbilt researchers have discovered four additional human genes responsible for Alzheimer's symptoms. other aspects of health researched at Vanderbilt include bullying, childhood obesity, sleep cycles, and Traumatic Brain Injury.

More On the Brain

Genes are at the root of many conditions and characterstics and we find additional genetic connections every day. Recently, brain scans have found physical differences between the brains of GOP followers and of Democrats (Reference: Red Brain, Blue Brain: Evaluative Processes Differ in Democrats and Republicans. Darren Schreiber, Alan N. Simmons, Christopher T. Dawes, Taru Flagan, James H. Fowler, and Martin P. Paulus. UC and UC Law School at San Diego)

Speciifically, the study found that liberal leannig individuals' brains included a formation for understanding complexities that was larger than those in GOP brans. Simultaneously, these GOP followers had a larger amygdala on average, responsible for increased anixety and fear responses. This is not a very attractive brain differentiation for the GOP. Interestingly, a psychiatrist lecturer I know had been rightward leaning politically, but became leftward leaning after suffering a stroke.


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    • Support Med. profile image

      Support Med. 6 years ago from Michigan

      A good idea can go far. Goes to show ya' the person under the clown face has an intelligent brain.

      By the way: My daughter is so afraid of clowns, LOL! And sometimes, so am I, LOL!!!!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      Very interesting and excellent hub. Thank you.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Wonderful info, Patty. Rated it up.

    • jennysbus profile image

      Jenny 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Great Hub I really enjoyed reading it.