Abbey Leix Mansion (O’More College Of Design)
The building seen today is the second at the site, and the college is the second educational institution here. An earlier house, owned by Professor and Mrs. S.A. McNutt was of the classic antebellum design found in the South at the time and served as a school for boys built in 1866. During the War, the McNutts were banished from town for perceived disloyalty, and came back afterwards to discover the house had burned to the ground. Sparing no expense William O’Neal Perkins purchased the property and built this house. After several years, Perkins realized he could not afford to keep and maintain the house and sold to William Winstead who renamed it Winstead Place. Eloise Pitts O’More founded the college bearing her name in 1970. She was a Tennessee native who as a young woman studied art in Paris, and wanted to create an art school modeled after the college she attended in Paris. Mrs. O’More moved to Franklin in the 1960s and founded the school in her home on West Main Street, moving to this location in 1979. She lived on campus and remained involved in the college’s operations until her death in 2002 at the age of 95. The administration building’s name was changed to Abbey Leix Mansion, after the name of an abbey founded in Ireland in 1183 by an O’More ancestor. The grounds at the rear of the mansion offer a sensory garden and park-like setting. This outdoor area is open to the public during school hours. There is also a café in the mansion open to the public called Eloise’s.