Shackle Island Paintings by Susan Brandt

Shackle Island Feed Mill ( Acrylic 12 x 16)

In 1975, we moved from the suburbs of Nashville to an area outside the city limits of Hendersonville. The Shackle Island Community enchanted me with its old grocery stores, barns and family mansions. In the 1700s Indians established old buffalo trails. The Shackle Island area measures approximately 1.2 miles. Many homes and churches in this area are now on the Historical Registry. Over the years, I have painted many of the structures, some are still standing and a few have been leveled for subdivisions or burned. I will be showcasing and selling paintings from my collection November 5th and 6th at my home on Hearthside Ct.N (Studio 5) as part of the Sumner County Studio Tour. The tour is a self-guided tour of eight studios, featuring twenty-one artists. For more information about the location of the studios go to

Shackle Island Feed Mill

My favorite structure to paint was the Shackle Island Feed Mill. This was a good place to buy horse feed, saddles, and bridles. It operated through the 70’s ,was a vacant building for many years, and finally sold at auction and torn down. Now it serves as a parking lot for Long Hollow Baptist Church. Most of my paintings are of the vacant building. Weeds overtook the site. One summer I passed by as the sun was glowing on weeds and it looked like they were on fire. I painted a series of about seven paintings to get that feeling across. One of the paintings below shows the bulldozer parked in the lot before it was torn down.

Worsham’s Grocery Store

In 1889, Worsham’s Grocery Store opened. In 1952, a flood turned the building around and the store remained where nature placed it. The yellow structure was the original store and a brick structure was added later. The store was unique in that farmers were allowed credit until they were paid for their crops. In the 70’s the gentleman in the chair pumped gas for customers. Fire destroyed the store in 2008 and it was rebuilt with a modern building.

Long Hollow Jamboree

A favorite venue for the locals in the 1970s was “Tuesday Night at Hardison’s”. This was a filling station and grocery store that hosted local pickers and fiddlers. Neighbors in the area came to buck dance between the store food aisles. Around 1980, the store was expanded to include a large stage and dance floor as well as a full service restaurant. The name was changed to the Long Hollow Jamboree.


The oldest school that I painted was the New Hope School which was built in 1932. After the school closed it sat vacant for several years before it was renovated into a home. The Ocana school house is now used for community events. Beech Elementary School was built in 1945. This was a large brick building complete with restrooms., a cafeteria and an auditorium. The school was torn down around 1990 and a fire station was built in its place.

Historic Homes

Many of the historic homes were built in the 1800s. I drove past “Old Brick” daily. One day as I drove past, a storm was coming in, but the sun lit up the day lilies in an spectacular way. I stopped and took a photo and painted that scene several times.

Barns on Long Hollow Pike

There are still many farms in the area with beautiful barns.

Food Market

Jim Sutton has a small market, the Garden, for local farmers to sell their produce, pumpkins, mums and firewood. This is the best place to buy good summer tomatoes.

Covered bridge and grist mill

At the end of Tyree Springs Road and New Hope Road, a local builder ,Baxton Dickson, moved logs to a site on a hill and renovated it to a unique home. He also built a covered bridge to cross the creek. I traveled all over Tennessee scouting for grist mills to paint, and I was excited when someone told me that there was a grist mill in the Shackle Island area. I spent many days driving down dirt roads in the area looking for it. I finally asked Bobby Worsham if he knew where it was. He told me that it was on New Hope Road, close to his store. I had passed it everyday. The wheel was not on the structure so it looked like a barn. However, it had enough charm for me to paint it several times.

Beech Cumberland Presbyterian Church

In early 1970, I went to a historic cemetery to do grave rubbings. Many of the graves were of the eighteenth century with Revolutionary War soldiers. I met the minister, Alfred Bennet, of Beech Cumberland Presbyterian Church and later became a member of the church. The first building was a single log structure built in 1828. Later a stone structure replaced the log building.The cemetery was deeded to the church in 1799 for a community burying ground. There are several box tombs which date from the early 1800s. The cemetery is still active and open to anyone for burial and is the oldest current cemetery in Sumner County.

Roads and trails

I taught at a Community College for thirty years. Early on, I discovered a quaint one lane road which was lined by trees on each side, with the branches over hanging the road. I was so excited by the tree tunnel that I drove back home and took my two girls to see the road. Neither of them said a word about it. Years later, one daughter commented that a different road was as lovely as Saint Blaise, so I felt I had made my point after all. Even though this route to the college was longer, it was part of my daily calming drive to work. My favorite time was the fall when the yellow leaves fell like rain and covered the road. I did not encounter any traffic, but was a little late one day when a cow leisurely strolled down the road. We are fortunate to have a Greenway walking trail in the area. The trail follows a creek and has lots of trees and a metal bridge. The Greenway is a great place for my daughters and I to meet to walk our dogs. Actually, our dog Penny does not walk any more. When we get the leash out, she runs and hides under the table.


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