A major landmark of Civil War history is the city’s Fort Negley, site of the 1864 Battle of Nashville. The city had been taken by the Union forces early in the war and was heavily fortified due to its role in the supply lines to the Union’s western front. The Confederate’s failed attempt to retake the city damaged much of the fort, but it was reconstructed in the 1930s as part of the Works Progress Administration. It remained closed until 2004, when new boardwalks and interpretive stations were added.
The Hermitage retreat of US President Andrew Jackson ahs been restored and preserved with his personal possessions and furniture. Exhibits trace the estate’s history from modest frontier farm to prosperious plantation and presidential retreat. A new exhibit tells the stories of the more than 150 slaves who worked the plantation in Jackson’s time.
For more on plantation history, visit the Belle Meade Plantation, a pre-Civil-War mansion and plantation house that also offers guided tours.
Nashville is synonymous with American music, from country, to rock, to rap and hip-hop. The Mecca of local music is the Grand Ole Opry House, a concert hall where the weekly Grand Ole Opry radio show is broadcast from. The Opry has been running continuously since 1925 and is widely credited with having made country music famous nationwide.
The better initiated will make their way to the Bluebird Cafe, a humble venue in a strip mall in Green Hills that unexpectedly became the venue of choice for local and national songrwriters and label scouts. Artists playing here today will be on the radio tomorrow.
Serious fans will want to see the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, with regularly changing exhibits and live performances.
And don’t miss Musica, a 38-foot sculpture in Music Row honouring the city’s musical heritage with nine nude dancing figures.
State history comes alive at the Tennessee State Museum, one of the largest of its kind in the country. The permanent exhibits trace the history of the state from Prehistoric Times to the Reconstruction era after the Civil War.
Interpretive monuments to the state’s history are also erected in the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park in front of the capitol building. In the summer, the fountains in front of the capitol are popular with families and the farmer’s market next door is always buzzing with activity.