Description: This black and white photograph shows the front porch of a house screened by trees and bushes. The porch has four white one-story white columns above the front steps and two more widely spaced columns on either side that hold a porch roof that stretches across the whole front of the house. The photograph was published in The History of Homes and Gardens of Tennessee in 1936.
Historical Note: John Houston Bills, a close friend and contemporary of President James K. Polk, added a wing and a second story to this house in the small town of Bolivar, Tennessee, which is located in lower West Tennessee, surrounded by plantation lands. He also designed the home's formal garden, remnants of which are visible today. During the Civil War, to which he was heartily opposed, he had cordial relations with Union officers passing through and occupying the town, even as his son-in-law, Marshall Polk, a nephew of James K. and Sarah Childress Polk, served with Confederate forces. He built a small cottage behind The Pillars, for his daughter Evalina Bills Polk, so that she could stay close to her family while her husband was away at war. Pillars served as headquarters for federal officers during the war and also was used as a federal hospital.
Institution: Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art
Publisher: Digital Initiatives, James E. Walker Library, Middle Tennessee State University
Rights: Images reproduced on this website are intended for individual, educational use only. For research inquiries about specific objects or requests for high resolution images, contact the Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art.