Byrd's Eye View - The Fontanel Mansion
THE FONTANEL MANSION
Just on the outskirts of town in White’s Creek lies one of the largest log homes in the United States. It is known as The Fontanel Mansion and it was once the beloved home of legendary country artist Barbara Mandrell. She built the 27,000 square foot compound in 1988 specifically to her liking with unique features throughout the home including 18 rooms, 13 bathrooms, a helicopter landing pad, a soda shop, an indoor pool and spa with a three story tall sprawling ceiling and even an indoor shooting range. In fact, the home is so palatial that it took 11 miles of logs and lumber to construct.
Now, the property is owned by music managers Dale Morris and Marc Oswald who have successfully crafted the careers of such artists as Alabama, Kenny Chesney, Big & Rich and Gretchen Wilson and memorabilia from those stars is on display throughout the home. It has also been the site of countless music video shoots and television shows including CMT’s Gone Country and an appearance as John Rich’s abode on Cribs.
And now, for the first time in more than 20 years, the home and surrounding 135 acres of property will be open to the public for tours and private events starting in June. To celebrate that development, the owners threw a lavish affair over the weekend beautifully catered by TomKats where the city’s special event planners were invited to attend and explore the home.
“It’s like the Grizzly River Rampage…with earrings,” quipped local event designer Hugh Howser of H3 Events noticing the large carved wooden bears that adorn several of the massive logs that support the interior of the house.
Indeed the sheer structure and size of the residence can take your breath away. Plans for further progress on the site include The Restaurant at Fontanel, which will feature home-cooked southern favorites, The Woods at Fontanel, an outdoor music amphitheater capable of entertaining 2,500 guests at a time, The Trails at Fontanel for horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking and The Distillery & Museum at Fontanel which, according to the website, will showcase “two of Tennessee’s finest treasures, music and moonshine.”
PICTURED: A long drive leads up to the main house.