Discover Tennessee History this Fall

September 29, 2017  |  Permalink

Fall is a time of learning. As school starts back up and the weather changes, many people feel an increased desire for reading, writing and culture. While it’s great to curl up with a good book next to a big fire, we want to make sure you can quench your thirst for knowledge while also enjoying the outdoors. So throw on your jacket, grab a warm drink and head out to one of these five historical parks:

Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park

Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park stands as a monument to more than 200 years of Tennessee history. Located in the heart of downtown Nashville, this park is a great place for children, school groups and adults of all ages to learn about the battles, the heroes and the places that make Tennessee unique.

Come out to the park on October 20-21 for the annual Tennessee History Festival. For the final year, Tennessee history will come to life at this event as historians offer demonstrations, re-enactments and other interpretive programs.


Cove Lake State Park

Cove Lake’s 717 acres are situated in a beautiful mountain valley north of Knoxville on the eastern edge of the Cumberland Plateau. The mountaineous backdrop is one of the most breaktaking views in Tennessee State Parks and is a popular spot for photographers. 

On October 20-22, the park is hosting a Flint Knapping and Primitive Skills Festival. Visitors will learn the art of “knapping” – shaping flint or other stone to create tools, weapons and building materials. The event will also include demonstrations and hands-on activities centered around bow building, atlatl throwing, blowguns and darts, and primitive fire making. 


Fort Loudoun State Historic Park

Did you know that Tennessee used to be the “frontier” of New World? Fort Loudoun was home to a British fortification in the 1750’s. It sat on the edge of a wild, unknown land. A replica of the fort transports visitors back to a time before the birth of the nation.

On October 21-22, the park will transform into an 18th Century Trade Fair. This encampment of soldiers, settlers and American Indians will provide visitors with an immersive experience of 18th century life. The festival will include artillery and musketry demonstrations, along with several battle and skirmish re-enactments.

The park is also hosting Garrison Weekend on November 11. This living history event will display the daily lives of men, women and children at Fort Loudoun. From the hospital and barracks to the commander’s quarters and blacksmith shop, visitors can experience life on the frontier like never before. (Photo credit: Tennessee Photographs)


Sgt. Alvin C. York State Historic Park

Countless writers have labeled World War One as one of the most defining moments in modern history. It changed the economic, political and social trajectory of our time. Sgt. Alvin C. York State Historic Park commemorates the home of the most recognizable American hero from the war, Sgt. Alvin C. York. Not only does the park offer insight into the life of this American hero, it also strives to help visitors engage with the World War One in tangible ways. Park staff has constructed trenches to replicate the warfare style of the time. Visitors can walk through these trenches and experience the intricacies of life for the average American doughboy on the front.

On November 10-12, re-enactors will commemorate Veterans Day at the park. They will host living history activities to further immerse the visitor in the World War One experience. Located just north of Cookeville, this is a Veterans Day event you do not want to miss. (Photo: David Duplessis)


Nathan Bedford Forrest State Historic Park and Johnsonville State Historic Park

Bedford Forrest and Johnsonville State Historic Parks sit on opposite banks of the Tennessee River to the west of Nashville. These two parks, manned by opposing sides in America’s Civil War, provide a perfect backdrop for understanding one of the most defining conflicts in our country’s history.

On November 3-4, these parks will co-host “Civil War Days” to honor the anniversary of the Battle of Johnsonville. In this battle, Confederate forces under the command of Nathan Bedford Forrest crossed the Tennessee River and attacked the fortification at Johnsonville. To mark the occasion, the parks will fire volleys across the water from artillery stationed on the bank. Infantry, cavalry and civilian demonstrations will help visitors understand and connect with the Civil War.


About the author

Josh Gibson