Whirlwind Mansion – Clinton, Tennessee - Atlas Obscura

Today the sprawling mansion estate known as Whirlwind is a crumbling ruin of peeling paint and tacky memories, but in its heyday, the house was a show palace, whose upkeep and utilities were so astronomical that it was doomed from the start.    

Using money earned from bank fraud, Whirlwind was built in the early 1970s by banker and politician Jake Butcher. Butcher wanted to build the estate as a spare-no-expense wonderland of swinging 70’s style, and he succeeded. The main house had 40-some rooms and 13 bathrooms and the surrounding grounds contained everything from a children’s playhouse to a swimming pool with its own bar and kitchen to a helipad. There is even rumor that a solid gold toilet was installed in the house. Of course opulence such as this came at a cost. It is estimated that the utilities and upkeep on the estate cost around $10,000 to $25,000 a month by today’s dollars. Even these hilariously bourgeois bills could in theory have been sustainable by the right amount of wealth, but unfortunately Butcher didn’t really have any wealth of his own.

In the mid-80s Butcher was found guilty of massive bank fraud and was sentenced to prison. Whirlwind was forfeit in the conviction, but no one was interested in keeping up on the insane payments. For a time the property was split into condos, before the bills once again reared their ugly heads and the estate was abandoned again. Today Whirlwind sits empty. The tennis courts overgrown and the grand pillar on the porch flaking paint chips. But at least the bank fraud is over.     

Update March 2019: The new owner is fixing it up and has a “no trespassing” sign on the gate.

Know Before You Go

This is private property. Do not visit without permission.

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