Monday, July 31, 2017

Nashville - Capitol, Parthenon, Honky Tonk and Friends

From Louisville we moved to Nashville for a few days to tour the capitol and Parthenon, see some friends and do a bit of honky tonking on Broadway. We did look but found no catfish, only the huge poster on the arena as a constant reminder that the Predators did make it to the Stanley Cup final only to lose to the Pittsburgh Penguins.   
The Tennessee State Capitol, designed by William Strickland, was constructed between 1854 and 1859. It is Greek Revival in style being modeled after the Erechtheum in Athens with Ionic porticoes at each end. The tower or cupola is patterned after the choragic monument of Lysicrates in Athens. It is one of twelve capitols without a dome. The building is constructed of Bigby limestone using slave and convict labor.
The House of Representatives Chamber. The 99 Representatives are elected to two-year terms. Behind the flags on each side of the speaker's podium are two fasces, a bundle of Roman spears that symbolize strength in unity. The 21 feet 10 inch columns are made from a single piece of Nashville limestone.  
The former state library has this beautiful cast iron spiral staircase. The ornate railing around the balcony was ordered out of a catalog to save money. The light is the original gasolier from 1855.  
The Senate chamber. There are 33 senators who serve four-year terms. The columns that support the visitors gallery are made of Tennessee marble.
Some of the many busts of famous or infamous Tennesseans. Left is Sequoyah who developed the written language for the Cherokee. Next is David Farragut the first admiral of the U.S. Navy. He is famous for winning the Battle of Mobile Bay for the Union where he used the expression, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead". Next is David Crockett whom I remember as King of the Wild Frontier. On the right infamously is Nathan Bedford Forrest, Confederate Army officer and the first grand wizard of the KKK. Why do we continue to allow the glorification of those who turned against their own country?
Throughout the capitol they celebrate the three Tennesseans who served as President. From the left is Andrew Jackson (1829-1837); James Polk (1845-1849) and Andrew Johnson (1865-1869)   
Portraits of the same three men. While they sure are proud of those who served as President, they seem to have an unusual obsession with Jackson who is represented 14 times in the capitol and on the grounds. Of course we are back in the South and this is the first capitol we toured in the last year that does not honor Lincoln.
The two reliefs celebrate suffrage. The women on the left honor the 19th Amendment which gave women the right to vote. Tennessee's ratification of the amendment on August 20, 1920 made it part of the Constitution. The relief with Black males on the right honors the passing of the 14th and 15th Amendments that gave them the right to vote after the Civil War. Center is a bust of Sampson W. Keeble along with the names of the fourteen African Americans who served in the Tennessee legislature during Reconstruction before being driven from office by the KKK. 
The former Supreme Court Chamber has been restored to its 1850's appearance and is now used as a meeting room.
This painting hangs in the old Supreme Court Chamber. I could not find the names of all the people but it does include Ida B. Wells, Sequyoah, Sgt York, Davy Crockett, W.C. Handy and the former presidents from Tennessee; Polk, Jackson and Johnson.
The walls of the Governor's Reception Room are covered with murals about Tennessee history starting with the first Tennesseans, the Cherokee, and ending with these panels that symbolize the state motto, Agriculture and Commerce. On the left is another painting of Andrew Jackson and his home the Hermitage. Commerce is depicted on the right with the steamboat. The guide book states that African Americans worked in a variety of occupations. Really, in the time period depicted they made up one-fourth of the state's population and were slaves forced to provide their labor with no reward.   
On the grounds of the capitol is an equestrian statue of (you guessed it) Andrew Jackson. This statue by Clark Mills is also in Washington, DC and New Orleans. 
In the 1950's the exterior Bigby limestone was deteriorating so badly that it was falling off the building and endangering people. The old stone was replaced with Indiana limestone and some of the old stones were left on the capitol grounds.
The tomb of President James Polk and his wife Sarah. They were originally buried on the grounds of their home in Nashville. After the home was sold and demolished the tomb was moved here.
The Answer Bell rings in response to the nearby 95 bell carillon. Around the bottom are listed the various types of music Tennessee in known for; rock, gospel, blues, country and more.
The architect William Strickland and the chairman of the Capitol Building Commission are both buried in the capitol. They did not get along well in life so they are entombed at opposite ends of the building.
This was our 32nd capitol tour and, as always, each gives a unique look into the history of the state. This one is no different and is well worth a visit.
Even if you can't make it to Athens you can still see the Parthenon right here in Nashville. A full scale replica was built for the 1897 Tennessee Centennial and International Exposition that celebrated Nashville as the "Athens of the South." That Parthenon, which was built of brick, wood lath and plaster, was so popular that it was left in place after the exposition. That building deteriorated to the point it was replaced with this more permanent concrete replica in 1931.  
The Parthenon was the temple of the Greek Goddess of Wisdom, prudent warfare and the useful arts; patron deity of the city of Athens, Athena. Unlike the building built for the exposition, this one is like the original temple both inside and out. 
The sculptures on the pediments were made from plaster casts of the originals that had been taken from Athens to the British Museum. So they are exact replicas.
In 1990 this 42'10" statue of Athena by Alan LeQuire was unveiled in the temple. It is made of gypsum cement with fiberglass on a steel frame. The original in Athens that was made of ivory and plates of gold on a wood frame has been lost. In 2002 eight pounds of gilded gold paint was applied to create this beautiful image. Nanc gives you a good idea of how huge it is. 
The shield Athena is holding tells the story of all the things she was goddess of, from prudent warfare to wisdom. If you are in Nashville and have any interest in history, a tour of the Parthenon and the beautiful Athena statue is a must.
When in Nashville it is always a fun time on Broadway. Afternoon music, a couple brews and on the road home all before dark.
I think Nanc wanted to be part of the action at Legends.
We have stayed at Charles and Sandy's place south of Nashville a couple of times. But since we were touring the city and only had a few days, we stayed closer to Nashville this time. We did give them a call and they came up for lunch and a few hours of telling tales as only Charles can do.
Ray and Wendy were also staying nearby, so on another day we got together with them to get caught up with what has been happening with them. They have downsized from their fifth wheel to a motorhome and were on their first trip from Florida to Wisconsin in the new rig. 

Wow, I'm really behind with the blog. Doing the year ten summary is part of the problem. Since leaving Nashville we spent a week at the SKP park in Heiskell, TN where we gave Opus a thorough washing and waxing and toured Oak Ridge. The last two weeks of the month we were in North Carolina and spent most of that time with Rick and Denise which included a weekend visit with Keith and Michelle, who drove down from DC. Starting the first of August we will be in WashPA for two months so I should get the blog up to date.

3 comments:

Palamine said...

A hockey fan! Friends of Ray and Wendy. Egad already so much in common.

Jan Mains said...

Did you visit Jackson's place when you were in Nashville? We'll be nearby in a week or two.

Doing It On the Road(Part II) said...

No catfish and a a giant statue to a pagan God, I am shocked! Nice blog.