Nashville, Tennessee, is more than just a hotspot for some of the country’s best entertainment. It’s also a highly historic place rich with Civil War-era sites! History buffs will especially love Fort Negley in Nashville! This lovingly preserved fort was built in 1862 as a stronghold during the Civil War. Just two miles south of downtown, Fort Negley constitutes the largest inland fort constructed in the United States. Below, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about this noteworthy attraction!
There are so many more museums, historic sites, and adventures to discover during a stay in Music City. After adding Fort Negley in Nashville to your itinerary, be sure to download our free Travel Guide! This valuable resource lists all of our favorite attractions and activities so you can spend less time planning and more time experiencing. Cut your planning time in half today!
Everything You Need to Know About Fort Negley in Nashville
Aside from the Tennessee State Museum and Ryman Auditorium, Fort Negley is one of Nashville’s most interesting historic sites! The fort dates all the way back to the Civil War, when Confederate and Union soldiers battled over possession of Tennessee territory. In February of 1862, Nashville was occupied by Union forces, who began preparing the town’s defense. Part of the defense strategy included building Fort Negley, a star-shaped limestone structure. The fort cost $130,000 to build, and the construction was completed by local slaves. Over 2,768 African Americans participated in the fort’s construction, and this remains an important part of Nashville’s African American history.
Fort Negley History
The Battle of Nashville
As Confederate soldiers stormed the city in 1864, The Battle of Nashville began. Fort Negley was meant to secure large plots of territory without requiring too many idle soldiers. Though Fort Negley was a fantastic physical blockade, it also served as an effective intimidation tactic. The Battle of Nashville was a turning point in the Civil War heavily influenced by the city’s powerful fortress.
The Restoration of Fort Negley
In the 1930s, the Works Progress Administration decided to restore Fort Negley to its former glory. Immediately following this decision, the United States entered World War II. The fort thus sank into further ruin as the surrounding land became municipal parks and sports complexes. Finally, in the early 2000s, funding was provided for another restorative project. Soon enough, the site was restored and converted into an educational center. Today, you can visit Fort Negley and discover more about its unique local history!
What to Know Before Visiting
Admission to Fort Negley in Nashville is free and includes interactive exhibits, two 20-minute videos covering the fort’s history, and access to self-guided walking tours. Friendly and knowledgeable staff members are on-site to answer questions, so feel free to be inquisitive! Here are a few more important things to note before visiting Fort Negley:
- Leashed dogs are welcome outside the welcome center
- The park is open year-round from dawn to dusk
- Maps are available during welcome center hours of operation.
Fort Negley Hours
The historic site is open between noon and 4:00 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. On Saturday, be sure to visit between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
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