Following acquisition of Rippavilla in May, Spring Hill Mayor Rick Graham appointed a task force, championed by Spring Hill Economic Development Coordinator Kayce Williams, to oversee the transition of the historic property into city operations.
As part of this ongoing new management structure, Rippavilla has hired Kate Wilson as its Director of Operations to oversee daily operations at the antebellum mansion and grounds.
Kate Wilson, a graduate of Belmont University, has 12 years of nonprofit management experience in the culture and arts sector. Mrs. Wilson previously served as Director of Operations at Belmont Mansion, one of Nashville’s top historic sites. She is currently a graduate student in the sustainability program at Lipscomb University. In addition, Mrs. Wilson serves as an advisory board member for the Pet Community Center in Nashville. When you don’t find her in a historic house museum, you may find her on the Natchez Trace, or hiking with her husband Jesse.
The Director of Operations will serve under supervision of the Chairman of Rippavilla Inc. and will be responsible for ensuring the organization consistently achieves its overall mission and financial objectives. A 24-member Board of Directors governs Rippavilla Inc., which employs 12 (full-time equivalent) employees overseen by the Director of Operations.
The Spring Hill Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Oct. 16, 2017, took the final step in the City’s recent acquisition and management of Rippavilla Plantation by approving the annexation of the historic home, related buildings and its 98.4 acres.
In May 2017, the City officially acquired Rippavilla and its related operational responsibilities, allowing for its permanent preservation. However, until now, the property was within an enclave on the Maury County side of the city, just outside of Spring Hill’s corporate city limits. With this annexation, Spring Hill city limits is now slightly over 28 square miles covering about 17,931 acres.
The 98.4-acre property includes a two-story, brick antebellum-style plantation home, carriage house, an original slave cabin, a freedmen bureau’s school house, historic Cheairs Cemetery, Brown’s Stand, the Ikard Center, Rayburn Amphitheater, and several barns and other structures supporting the agricultural use of the property.
Rippavilla’s current activities include tours to travelers, school groups, civil groups, bus tours, along with hosting living histories and reenactments. The site also operates a gift shop in the 1914 carriage house serving as the office for the site rental coordinator to meet with potential renters as they tour the facility prior to renting the venue. The home includes a fully functioning catering kitchen. Rippavilla also leases remaining acreage to a local farmer for crop production, as well as allowing local Scouting and civic groups to meet in the Ikard Center.