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History of the Nashville Parthenon and the Tennessee Centennial Exposition

Exploring the Nashville Parthenon and the Tennessee Centennial Exposition


Copyright Jan Duke

Nashville Tennessee Parthenon

© Jan Duke
In 1796 Tennessee became the 16th state of the of the Union. The name of Tennessee comes from the Cherokee name Tanasai, which was a Village in the area.

With the first arrivals of non-Indian settlers, such as Timothy Demontbruen, James Robertson and the Donelson Party, in the early 1790's, Tennessee quickly severed it ties as being known as the western part of North Carolina, and later The State of Franklin, and applied for admission into the Union.

Within the next century, Tennessee found itself transformed from a trading post, frequented by Mountain Men exploring the fur trades from the Mississippi river to the Upper Illinois  territories; to a thriving Educational and Commerce center.

In the 1840's educator Philip Lindsay thought that Nashville should encourage the ideals of Classical Greek education, such as Philosophy and Latin and be known as the Athens of the West. While that nick -name never took hold, decades later Nashville would be given a similar nick-name; Athens of the South, that would became synonymous with Nashville until the title of Music City arrived, with the dawn of the Grand Ole Opry in the 1930's. If you look in the yellow pages of Nashville, you will still find many companies with the name of Athens within their title.

In 1895 Tennessee searched for a way to commemorate its 100-year anniversary and decided on a centennial exposition to be staged in its capitol of Nashville and then building an exact replica of the Parthenon of ancient Greece and thus the Parthenon, being the pinnacle of the Grand Exposition, was the first building erected.

Photo Gallery of the Nashville Parthenon

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