Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Athens Of The South...

When most people hear of Nashville, they think of country music.

Nashville is home to the Grand Ole Opry , a symphony, a ballet, The Tennessee Performing Arts Center, The Nashville Children's Theatre, The Frist Center for the Visual Arts, a State Museum, a children's science museum, a planetarium, a zoo, 21 four- year colleges, and The Parthenon.

You read that correctly, The Parthenon !

Before Nashville became Music City, it was known as Athens of the South , and because of this, we have an exact replica of the ancient Greek Parthenon right here in Nashville.

In the year 1796 Tennessee became the sixteenth state of the Union.
The name "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.

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.

The name Parthenon refers to the worship of Athena Parthenos, the 'Virgin Athena' who issued fully grown from the head of her father Zeus. The maiden goddess and patroness of Athens, she represents the highest order of spiritual development and the gifts of intellect and understanding. Pure in body, mind and heart, Athena is the symbol of the universal human aspiration for wisdom

Today, the Parthenon, which functions as an art museum, stands as the centerpiece of Centennial Park, a large public park just west of downtown Nashville.

Photo credit: Wikipedia


Loree said...

How very interesting. I had no clue as to the history of Tennessee.

DJan said...

I visited Nashville briefly once, and I remember being struck by the feeling of gentility that I encountered from the people I met. It seemed the epitome of the South. I had no idea of the Parthenon somewhere there or I would have visited it. Good lesson on Nashville history, thanks!

Patsy said...

Thanks for the history, Tennessee is a great state.
Lemon dishes went with a set for serving tea hot or cold. The south love there tea and lemon.

Andora said...

Great post...I went to the Grand Ole Opry and the Opry Land Hotel some years back and had a great time...I love Nashville..Great info on the history of TN..

Sunny said...

Very interesting, thanks for sharing this great information.
Sunny :)

George said...

Betsy and I visited the Parthenon on our second date. I had been there before since my parents live in the area, but it was new to Betsy. She must have liked it because she agreed to go out with me again.

Betsy Banks Adams said...

Hi Jo, When I first met and started dating George, he worked near that park. I'd drive down there and we'd have lunch and take a walk in that park. At that time, they were renovating the outside of the Parthenon. It is so gorgeous now. Love your picture!!!!

Ms. B @ Millie Deel said...

Wow that's so neat! I had no idea that was there!

DeniseinVA said...

That's a wonderfully informative post, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Thanks Jo! I have never been to Nashville but hope I do one day. It sounds like a great city.

2 Dogs said...

The first time I visited the Parthenon was when I was attending art school in Franklin, TN. I was absolutely amazed. I was 19 and never seen anything like it. :-)

Anonymous said...

Awesome! I didn't know this about the parthenon. I enjoyed the history!

Sharon Rose said...

I had no idea about this Athens of the south! I guess my many journies through Nashville have not uncovered everything!

I'll have to go back and stay until I see this!!!!

A Cuban In London said...

Thanks for introducing me to this beauty and to its history.

Greetings from London.

Lora said...

One of my favorite spots in our city (it actually will be mentioned in my blog on Thursday...)

I love the live music, charity walks, movies on the lawn, etc, etc, etc as well. And visiting Athena on occasion :0)

L. D. said...

I had to dig back to get to this blog, as I wanted to make a comment about this. I have seen this on the This Old House show on PBS. In fact if have seen it in reruns many times. It is a beautiful building. As an art major, the original building is one that you have to study as part of art history and as an example of good design principles. I doubt I ever make it to see the real thing, so I will put the one in Tennessee on my list of must do before I die. Thanks for all the good info.