From the outside, the house at 312 E. Marthona Road in the Nashville suburb of Madison looks like the other stately, mid-century houses in the neighborhood. But once you step inside, the walls begin to tell stories.
There’s the recording studio where a Country Music Hall of Fame member recorded. There’s the room where Elvis used to sit and play gospel songs on the piano. There’s the dining room table where country legends had dinner.
The house is the 1950s home of Hank Snow, which has been restored by Snow’s family and transformed into the coolest vacation rental you could ask for. Now for a truly unique and historic stay in Music City, you can spend the night at Hank Snow’s ranch.
Hank Snow was born in Nova Scotia, Canada in 1914 and moved to Nashville in 1945. The baritone-voiced singer became known for his signature songs “I’ve Been Everywhere” and “I’m Movin’ On.” Soon after the success of his first radio hit he purchased the Nashville property, which he named Rainbow Ranch after his band, The Rainbow Ranch Boys.
Cal Blakney, who owns Hank Snow’s Ranch with his wife Sandy, said restoring the house was about saving an important piece of family history.
“Hank Snow was my grandma’s big brother and so for me it was preserving Uncle Hank’s legacy,” Cal Blakney says. “The house was in a bad state of disrepair because it had been vacant for quite a few years. It took a lot of investment of time and money, a lot of volunteer hours, contractors and so on to get it to the point where it was actually a livable house again.”
In the over 40 years Snow lived at the residence, it became a gathering place for his music industry friends — even The King himself. In fact, it was Snow who introduced Elvis Presley to his future manager Colonel Tom Parker.
“In the early days Elvis was the opening act for Hank Snow.” Cal Blakney says. “Hank mentored Elvis in his early career until the point where Elvis got so popular that Hank didn’t want to go on after him anymore because it made the evening too late. He would go on before Elvis to let the girls scream.”
Elvis was a frequent guest at the ranch over the years and a close friend to Snow’s son, Jimmie.
“Jimmie talks about the stories of riding motorcycles up and down (the streets) in front of the house. He also talks about them throwing knives in the backyard,” Sandy Blakney says. “They were 18 and 19- year-olds and they were still for all intents and purposes just a bunch of kids playing in the backyard.”
Hank Snow’s famous Rainbow Ranch barn also sits on the property. Snow built the barn for his beloved horse Shawnee, who was a part of his shows in the 1940s.
“They used to do outdoor shows and there was trick riding. He had a dog that was part of the act. It wasn’t just singing on stage,” Cal Blakney says. “When he bought his house in Nashville he built a little barn out back and the horse retired and just lived out its days there in Madison.”
The barn is a reminder of country music’s vaudevillian heyday.
“I’m sure you’ve heard the term ‘dog and pony show’– that’s what Hank’s show was,” Sandy Blakney says.
The Blakneys are currently working on turning the home into a living museum. The Rainbow Ranch also has a manager who will take guests on a guided tour of Hank Snow’s office and recording studio.
The walls in the 3,800-square-foot home are made from gorgeous knotty pine, giving the home a glossy glow.
The rustic home is the perfect place to relax after a day of exploring Nashville.
The Blakneys are in the process of registering Rainbow Ranch as a National Historic Landmark. The city of Nashville is also in the stages of making the property a historical neighborhood landmark.
For a one-of-a-kind music history experience, sit at the same piano Hank Snow and Elvis played.
Located just a few miles from the Grand Ole Opry House, Hank Snow’s Ranch is the perfect place to stay when visiting Music City. For more information on Hank Snow’s Ranch or to book a stay at the historic property, visit here.