Historical SignificanceWith the urban building boom in downtown Nashville during the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Tennessee State Capitol disappeared from sight on the east, west and south sides. The northern side of the Capitol was not conducive to the construction of skyscrapers due to the swampy conditions that existed in many areas between the Capitol and the Cumberland River. Ironically, the historic French Lick that attracted wildlife, Indians, trappers and settlers to what would become Nashville also preserved the remaining view of the Capitol and became the home of the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. In order to save the one remaining view of the Capitol and to commemorate Tennessee's 200th birthday, the concept of a mall similar to the one in Washington, DC, took shape.
Music: The music map illustrates the prominent musical influences of each portion of the state. Tennessee is noted for its country and western music, but has been influential in blues, jazz, bluegrass, rock, gospel, and many other types of music as well.
Parks: The Tennessee State Park system, which manages 53 of our state’s best natural and historical resources, won “Best in the Nation” in 2007/2008. Anywhere you travel in Tennessee, you are within thirty minutes of a state or national park. This map shows the locations of these invaluable resources.
Populations: The populations map shows the distribution of people across the state of Tennessee. The cities with the highest populations as of 1996 were Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga.
Trails: The trails map shows Native American and pioneer trails, as well as interstates since they are our modern day trails. The map is overlaid with the best map that was available in 1796 when Tennessee became a state. Also shown are the regions inhabited by Native Americans, with the Shawnee coming from the north, the Chickasaw from the west, the Cherokee from the east, and the Creek from the south.
Geology: Much of the history of Tennessee can be attributed to the varied geological compositions and features. This map shows the different geologic foundations of the state. Middle Tennessee shows Ordovician Limestone. Ordovician is soft and porous and is noted for having caves and sinkholes. During World War II, Middle Tennessee was selected for the largest War Games in the history of man due to our geology and topography.
Under the west end of the trestle are restrooms, and under the east end is a visitor center.
The River Walk is accented with a bowed and arched granite wall with inscriptions about Tennessee's waterways.
Current status of fountains
The May 2010 floods caused quite a bit of damage to the park, including to the fountains, park office and other structures. The first order of business was to restore the basic functions of the park -- namely, the park office. In addition to repairing the damage to the fountains following the flood, we learned that the fountains must also be redesigned to incorporate new health code standards. While we have started the redesign process, we do not anticipate the fountains will be restored during the 2011 season. We appreciate your patience during the park's ongoing flood recovery and repairs. We will continue to update the website as we receive new information.
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.
Read the engraved items from the Wall of History (pdf)
McNairy Spring is a monument and fountain that represents the founding of Tennessee. The fountain is on top of the sulphur 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 Memorial also has 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.
The Memorial is located near the north end of the park at the 1946 marker and is a must-see for any visitor.
Planters each represent East, Middle and West Tennessee. You will notice as you walk the Walkway of Counties the plantings will change from East to West Tennessee symbolizing what a diverse state we live in from the mountains of East Tennessee to the flat farm land of West Tennessee.