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Photographer: Kelbert McFarland Photography


Polk's Palace

Our next president in the presidential houses series is James Polk. Like Lincoln, he was born in a log cabin! Like Lincoln, this was not much of a reflection on his family status- just a "fluke" residence you could say. He was born to a slave-holding, well-connected family. The Polks were Scots-Irish and the president's great-great grandfather came to colonial America. His grandfather was a Colonel and the Polks remained very politically active over the years. According to one source, when the family first came to Maryland one branch of the maternal side of the family may have settled at Whitehall Manor Plantation (below).

The immigrant Polk was a refugee who had fought in Cromwell's army. His father was Sir Robert de Pollock. The following describes in detail what happened to his castle according to Eric's Family Tree: "Castle Pollock was constructed in the 1600's by Sir Robert Pollock, but was destroyed by fire in 1880. The final Castle Pollock, completed in 1889, was reported to have 88 bedrooms and 365 windows. Although reconstructed, it was demolished in 1954 and the lands were sold. For the first time in eight centuries, the lands of Upper Pollock were no longer Pollock lands. Remaining today are two gatehouses, a stable, and the gardner's cottage, all occupied; the stone foundation and a few massive stones of the castle wall still remain. The Castle was requisitioned by the British Army for storage of ammunition for WWII. Miss Jane Dunlop Ferguson-Pollock continued to live in one wing of the Castle until 1942. She willed the Castle to her nephew, Robert Ferguson-Pollok, who sold the Castle, surrounding woodlands and fields for only 8,000 pounds (less than $14,000 at today's exchange rate). In early 1954 the Castle was destroyed. It stood in the area of present day Barrhead and Dodside Roads, along Dodside Road back towards Glasgow. Only the foundation of the ancient tower remains as a memorial to the oldest landed family of Mearns."

Oddly I cannot find more information on the previous castle of Clan Pollock. The clan is now without a chief. Skipping ahead to the president's house before the White House...The James K. Polk Home in Columbia, Tennessee. The below is from the James K. Polk Home website.

The house was actually built by his father in 1816. The president's great-great niece and the state of Tennessee acquired and turned it into a house museum.

From History Travel US

The house is full of Polk's actual items. It shows a transition from traditional colonial style to a more Victorian era look. I found the following pictures on The Decorologist Blog. It covers the house during a Tennessee Holiday Historic Homes Tour that looked so fun!

The entry looks much more "colonial" than the following wallpapered rooms.

Loving the peach woodwork here. It is the perfect color and according to the blog it matches Benjamin Moore "Hugs & Kisses." We are excited to see this transition from colonial to what it coming next with Zachary Taylor. We may even do a double post today!