Today we set out to visit downtown Nashville and many of the popular sites of interest. We started out by taking the narrated Hop-On/Hop-Off Trolley Tour. This gave us a chance to learn about the many famous and not-so-well-known points of interest. After the trolley tour, we struck out on our own to visit many of those sites
The lower end of Broadway reminds us a bit of New Orleans’ Bourbon Street or Key Wests’ Duval Street. Its honky-tonk section boasts one music bar after another where aspiring musicians play and patrons can stop by between 10:00 AM and the following 3:00 AM.
At the abutting Riverfront Park, LST-325 (these ships were not named), which landed troops in Sicily, Salerno and on Omaha Beach during the Normandy D-Day invasion of Europe.
where some real characters, all naval veterans, provided tours for school groups and the general public.
We also wondered about “How Much Was Doggie in the Window?”
And marveled at some of the other tourists.
The Parthenon, constructed for the 1897 Tennessee Centennial, was a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon located in Athens, Greece. By 1920, however, it was crumbling. Rather than rebuilding the structure as it appeared at the Centennial, a decision was made to rebuild it as an “exact” replica of the original Greek temple. It is an extraordinary building!
West Façade and Pediment
Statue of Athena (the Goddess of Wisdom) holding Nike (the Goddess of Victory) in her right hand.
The statue of Athena is 42’10” high and partially covered with 8 lbs. of 23.75 carat gold.
Country Music Hall of Fame
The most famous landmark in Nashville is the
On its upper two floors, it tells the story of the history of country music, beginning in the 1960s through hundreds of artifacts, photographs, archival films and original recordings.
Huge walls are adorned with copies of gold and platinum records,
and plaques of the Hall’s inductees (although we thought many of the reproductions of these singers’ faces were poor representations of the entertainers).
The history of the Ryman Auditorium dates back to the 1880s when Thomas Ryman,
a river boat captain and businessman attended a revival by famed traveling evangelist, Sam Jones.
Legend has it that Captain Ryman planned to heckle the preacher who was campaigning against alcohol, gambling and certain activates of women and, thus, hurting Ryman’s business.
Instead, Ryman converted on the spot and decided to raise money for a permanent place for Jones to preach. Seven years and $100,000 later, the Union Gospel Tabernacle was completed. Upon Ryman’s death, Jones would see that it was renamed the Ryman Auditorium.
From 1904 until the Grand Ole Opry came in 1942, the Ryman served as a venue for a wide variety of events, religious revivals, jazz recitals, operas, ballets, political debates, and even boxing matches. Such luminaries as Rudolph Valentino, Katherine Hepburn, Mae West, W.C. Fields, Bob Hope, Eleanor Roosevelt, John Philips Sousa, William Jennings Bryant, Booker T. Washington, Eddie Rickenbacker, Helen Keller, Charlie Chaplin, Harry Houdini, Miriam Anderson and Will Rodgers all appeared at the Ryman.
Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park
This is a very dramatic park was actually the highlight of the day for me.
Located at the southern entrance of the park on James Robertson Parkway, the 200-foot granite state map highlights Tennessee’s 95 counties, major roads, rivers, interesting geographic formations, and other state features. It is designed to scale, with 12 inches equal to 2½ miles.
At the far end of the Mall, the Court of 3 Stars is a focal point.
It is flanked by 50 granite columns and its three stars represents the three Grand Divisions of the state – East, Middle and West Tennessee. Atop the columns is a 95-bell carillon representing Tennessee’s musical heritage and the citizens of Tennessee’s 95 counties.
A 96th bell, known as the answer bell, is located on the grounds of the State Capitol and rings in answer to the 95 bells, symbolizing government answering to the people. The carillons are some of the largest in the world. They play Tennessee-themed songs at the top of the hour, every hour.
When you stand on a metal pin on in the exact center of the granite pillars and speak softly, you can hear an echo of your voice.
Along the west side of the park, a 1,400-foot Wall of History is engraved with historic events that have occurred for the past 1 billion years,
with an emphasis on the past two centuries. After the region was settled, granite pylon marks each ten-year period along the wall.
McNairy Spring is a monument and fountain that represents the founding of Tennessee. The fountain is on top of the sulfur spring that fed the Old French Lick Creek. The greenway trail is located on top of the creek today and leads to the Cumberland River.
The World War II Memorial features an 18,000 lb. granite globe, depicting the way it was during the War, floating (constantly turning) on 1/8 inch of water.
The countries on the globe are as they were during the war. There is a small map of Tennessee with lines showing the mileage to different theatres of war. Visitors may stop the globe and turn it with their hands.
The Memorial also has ten large granite markers that give a brief history of such historic events as the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Battle of the Bulge, as well as scenes from here in Tennessee by using sand blasting engravings of actual photographs on the markers.
There is a bench that lists the seven Congressional Medal of Honor winners from Tennessee. A time capsule will be opened on November 11, 2045 and contains lists of donors, persons who served, and a separate list of the 5,731 Tennesseans who served and were killed in combat.
As part of the Bicentennial celebration, many Tennesseans reserved their place in history by purchasing commemorative bricks. These granite bricks engraved with their names are placed along the Path of Volunteers, a central tree-lined granite walkway extending down both sides of the park and terminating at the Court of 3 Stars.
The east side of the park features the Walkway of Counties that contains a time capsule from each of Tennessee’s 95 counties.
These time capsules will not be opened until the Tercentennial in 2096.
This 95-county historical journey highlights the topographical features of each region of the state, depicting the flat, mountainous and rolling hills sections of the state. Native trees, shrubs, ferns, grasses and wildflowers along the walkway represent the diverse vegetation found across the state. Time capsules will be opened on June 1, on the state’s three-hundredth birthday.
Also found along this stretch of the park are the remains of several Doric columns which were part of the “original” Nashville Parthenon.
Located on each end of the River Walk are clusters of Tennessee flags. Each cluster contains one large 12 x 18-foot flag, and eight smaller 5 x 8-foot flags for a total of 18 Tennessee flags. The 16 small flags represent Tennessee being the 16th state admitted to the Union June 1, 1796. The two large flags represent the state’s bicentennial celebration.
The American flag is not flown in the mall since the park is an extension of the State Capitol, which flies the American flag high above the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park.
Across the street from the Mall we saw two of the cleverest bicycle racks although very apropos for their location outside a Farmer’s Market.