Tulip Grove Mansion was the home of Andrew Jackson Donelson, Rachel Jackson's nephew. After Donelson's father died, Andrew Jackson served as his guardian and took and interest in his education. Jackson secured Donelson an appointment to West Point and later sent him to Transylvania University Law School in Lexington, Kentucky.
He married his first cousin, Emily Tennessee Donelson, in 1824, and five years later the young couple accompanied Andrew Jackson to Washington. Andrew and Emily Donelson lived in the White House with Jackson, and she served as Jackson's official hostess, while Andrew served as the President's private secretary. Tulip Grove was built while the Donelsons were in Washington. Their new home was completed in 1836, and Emily returned to Tennessee that summer to set up her household. Tragedy struck in December 1836, when Emily died of tuberculosis leaving behind her husband and four young children.
In 1841, Donelson married Elizabeth Martin Randolph, his second cousin, with whom he had eight children. In the 1840s and 1850s, Donelson's political career flourished, but after a failed attempt at the vice presidency, along with presidential candidate Millard Fillmore, Donelson retired from public life. In 1858, Donelson sold Tulip Grove and moved to Memphis where he died in 1870 at the age of 71. Tulip Grove remained a private residence until 1964, when the Ladies' Hermitage Association acquired it.
When Tulip Grove was built, it was one of Tennessee's finest Greek Revival homes and it still is today. The Doric columns, pediment, and cornice were hand made and are original to the house. Most of the design details for Tulip Grove came from Asher Benjamin's 1827 book the American Builder's Companion. The only significant change to the front of Tulip Grove was the addition of the Victorian Era fishscale shingles in the tympanum of the pediment.