Centennial Park in Nashville, TN

By Kevin Litwin on April 28, 2011 at 11:57 am EST
Parthenon

PHOTO CREDIT: Jeff Adkins

The intersection of West End and 25th Avenue North is where one of the most beautiful attractions in Nashville has existed for more than 115 years.

Centennial Park spans 132 acres and is home to the iconic Parthenon, a one-mile walking trail, Lake Watauga, a Centennial Art Center and historical monuments. There is also a sunken garden, band shell, events shelter, sand volleyball courts, two dog parks and an exercise trail, plus a park police headquarters, sportsplex and tennis center.

Plans to originally construct the park began in the mid-1890s when it was decided that the acreage would be an ideal site for the 1897 Tennessee Centennial Exposition. Construction of the buildings for the 1897 Centennial actually began in 1895, and a large number of elaborate structures were built to serve the 1.8 million visitors to the Exposition – including President William McKinley and his family.

When the Exposition finally closed in October 1897, Nashville leadership called for preservation of the Parthenon replica and the Centennial grounds as a public park. That decision initiated the city park movement in Nashville, with Centennial Park still serving today as the crown jewel and a favorite gathering place.

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