What to do in Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park

TThe Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park is located in the shadow of the State Capitol in downtown Nashville. The 19-acre park is designed to complement the Tennessee Capitol Building, give visitors a taste of Tennessee's history and natural wonder, and to serve as a lasting monument to Tennessee's Bicentennial celebration. Park Rangers, well-versed in Tennessee's historical, natural and recreational attractions, are available to conduct organized tours of the park, give programs to large groups or to simply visit with park visitors about the wonders of Tennessee.

Park Rangers, well-versed in Tennessee's historical, natural and recreational attractions, are available to conduct organized tours of the park, give programs to large groups or to simply visit with park visitors about the wonders of Tennessee.

THE TENNESSEE MAP PLAZA: this a 200-foot granite state map highlights the major roads, 95 counties, rivers, interesting geographic formations and details of each county. It is located at the entrance point of the park on James Robertson Parkway. Smaller granite maps depict other unique characteristics of Tennessee.

RAILWAY TRESTLE: From this point, visitors enter the park under a railway trestle which stands as a reminder of the importance of railroading in Tennessee's history. Under the west end of the trestle are rest rooms, and under the east end is a visitor center and gift shop.

RIVERS OF TENNESSEE FOUNTAINS: After passing under the railway trestle, one enters an area containing 31 vertical water fountains, one for each of the predominant waterways in Tennessee. The River walk is accented with a bowed and arched granite wall with inscriptions about Tennessee waterways.

TENNESSEE FLAGS: 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 National flag is not flown in the mall since the park is an extension of the State Capitol which flies the National Flag high above the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park.

WALKWAY OF THE COUNTIES: Along the east side of the park is the Walkway of the Counties which contains a time capsule from each of Tennessee's 95 counties. These time capsules will not be opened until the Tricentennial 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.

PATH OF VOLUNTEERS: As part of the Bicentennial celebration, many Tennesseans reserved their place in history by purchasing commemorative bricks. These granite bricks 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.

COURT OF 3 STARS: The Court of 3 Stars is a focal point of the park located at the northern end near Jefferson Street. Made of red, white and blue granite, this area represents the three grand divisions of the state - East, Middle and West Tennessee. This is also the future site of a 95-bell carillon representing Tennessee's musical heritage. When complete, these carillons will be the largest in the world.

WORLD WAR II MEMORIAL: The World War II Memorial was dedicated on November 11, 1997. It features an 18,000 lb. granite globe floating on 1/8 inch of water. The countries on the globe are as they were during the war and has a small map of Tennessee with lines showing the mileage to different theaters of war. Visitors may stop the globe and turn it with their hands.

The Memorial also has large granite markers telling a brief history of the way with laser engravings of actual photographs of such historic events as the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Battle of the Bulge, as well as scenes from here in Tennessee. There is a bench that list 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 that served, and a separate list of the Tennesseans that 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.

CCC MEMORIAL: The Civilian Conservation corps Memorial is located at the North end of the Smoky Mountains on 7th Avenue. It was dedicated in April of 1998 by CCC Veterans and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's grandson David. The beautiful granite marker reminds us that this unique program laid much of the groundwork for much of what we enjoy today in our State and National Parks.

PATHWAY OF HISTORY: Along the west side of the park, a 1,400-foot Wall of History is engraved with historic events that have occurred over the past two centuries. Each ten-year period along the wall is marked by a granite pylon. The wall "breaks" at the time of the Civil War to represent the divisive nature of the war on the state. A 1796 monument and fountain represent the
founding of Tennessee, while a 1896 monument highlights the Centennial Exposition. Phase I of the World War II memorial was dedicated on Veterans Day of 1996.

THE TENNESSEE AMPHITHEATER: The center section of the park features a 2,000-seat amphitheater, composed of terraced lawns providing dramatic views of the State Capitol building. Its design is patterned after Greek amphitheaters, such as the one at Epidaurus. This will be the site of many special events, ceremonies and concerts for years to come. The amphitheater may be reserved by groups for a fee.

THE CARILLONS: Ninety-five bells surrounding the Court of Three Stars will salute Tennessee's musical heritage periodically throughout the day. There will be one bell for each of Tennessee's counties. The project is slated for completion in the Spring of 2000.

Recreation
Visitors will be delighted by the 12 different features available at the park. Picnic tables, restrooms and vending machines are located under the railroad trestle. A visitor center/gift shop is also located under the trestle.

Location
The Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park is located in the shadow of the State Capitol in downtown Nashville.

Climate
Tennessee has a temperate climate with short, mild winters. The average annual snowfall for the state is 12 inches. Spring comes in early March bringing flowering trees and shrubs, and warmer weather. Spring temperatures average between 45 and 70 degrees. Summer's full force arrives in the region by mid May, bringing warm weather and higher humidity. The mountains of eastern Tennessee are a great place to escape the hot summer temperatures as the higher elevation cools the air slightly. Cool fall temperatures bring crisp air and brilliant fall colors. Mid to late October is a good time to visit the region to experience the fall foliage.

Address
598 James Robertson Parkway
Nashville, TN 37243-3081

Phone: 615-532-2470

  • Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park Travel Q&A

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