5 parks for history lovers

June 17, 2016  |  Permalink

Do you love history? While our parks are great places to enjoy the outdoors, they are also perfect for history buffs. Many of them tell the stories of the people and places that shaped the history of Tennessee and the United States. If you’re looking for something to do this summer, why not jump in the car and check out these

5 parks for history lovers:


War Memorial at Bicentennial

Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park

Location: Nashville, Tennessee

Located in the heart of downtown Nashville, the park commemorates Tennessee’s 200th birthday. The 19-acre park includes many landmarks and monuments highlighting important events in Tennessee. This is a perfect place for anyone looking for a broad understanding of Tennessee history. It is also a great park for people with wheelchairs or strollers. The splash pad at the Rivers of Tennessee fountain is perfect for kids to cool off on hot summer days.



Fort Loudoun muster

Fort Loudoun State Historic Park

Location: Vonore, Tennessee

The replica garrison at Fort Loudoun State Historic Park pays homage to the fort that stood on the site in 1756. The British constructed Fort Loudoun during the French and Indian War. The fort stood for four years, until fighting with the Cherokee Nation led to the surrender of the fort in 1760. Many think the Cherokees destroyed the garrison sometime shortly after the English marched away.

The park hosts several popular seasonal events, including the 18th Century Trade Faire (September) and Garrison Weekend (August & November). Period reenactments and weapon demonstrations at these events are popular attractions for all ages. The park office also displays artifacts excavated from the site.



Sycamore Shoals Independence Celebration
Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park

Location: Elizabethton, Tennessee

Sycamore Shoals State Historic marks the location of several important events for Tennessee.  The park contains a replica of Fort Watauga. It tells the story of colonists like John Carter, John Sevier and James Robertson surviving sieges from Native Americans. It also highlights the Overmountain Men in the Revolutionary War. These men mustered at the fort and fought in the battle of Kings Mountain.

The park offers living history, recreational programming and events for the whole family. The annual presentation of Tennessee’s Official Outdoor Drama, “Liberty! The Saga of Sycamore Shoals,” is a popular attraction. Held every July in the 240-seat amphitheater, Fort Watauga forms the backdrop for the play. There are several showings of the drama every weekend from July 14-30.



Pinson Mounds State Historic Park

Location: Pinson, Tennessee

This park is home to at least 15 Native American mounds, making it the largest group of Middle Woodland mounds in the United States.  It is also contains the second-highest surviving mound in the U.S., the 72’ tall Sauls Mound. Archaeological evidence suggests the mounds served both burial and ceremonial purposes. The park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Pinson Mounds includes a museum with artifacts from the period. Hiking trails throughout the park providing access to the mounds. The park also hosts an annual "Archaeofest" in September. This festival celebrates Native American culture with a spotlight on archaeology.



Old Stone Fort State Historic Park

Location: Manchester, Tennessee

Old Stone Fort State Historic Park is a great site from a cultural and outdoor perspective. The original fort was built 1,500 to 2,000 years ago, with Native Americans continuing to use it for about 500 years before abandoning it. When the European settlers arrived, they inaccurately described the area as a fort. They did not realize it was a ritual ground for Native Americans.

The main hiking trail in the park leads visitors past the original entrance of the fort. This entrance was built to face the exact spot on the horizon where the sun rises during the summer solstice. The June 20th summer solstice celebration at the park will begin with a 6AM sunrise hike that will allow visitors to experience the visual effect the Native Americans intended when they built the old stone fort. 


About the author

Josh Gibson