Just as Tennessee celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1896 with the construction of Centennial Park, Tennessee celebrated its 200th anniversary in much the same way. The Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park occupies 19 acres on the north side of the capitol building. It offers excellent views of the Capitol, which towers over the mall. The mall and the Capitol are separated by a steep hill and more than 200 steps, which prove daunting to all but the fittest among us.
The mall has dozens of features that celebrate Tennessee and Tennesseans, including a 200-foot granite map of Tennessee embedded in concrete; a River Wall with 31 fountains, each representing one of Tennessee’s rivers; and a timeline with Tennessee events, inscriptions, and notable quotes from 1796 to 1996. There is also a monument to Tennessee’s WWII veterans and casualties, and a walk of counties that depicts each of the state’s 95 counties.
A one-mile path that circles the mall’s perimeter is popular with walkers and joggers, and a 2,000-seat amphitheater is used for special events. The park may be a civics lesson incarnate, but it is also a pleasant place to pass the time.
To the west of the mall is the Nashville Farmer’s Market, where you can buy fresh produce, hot food, and arts and crafts.
© Susanna Henighan Potter from Moon Tennessee, 5th Edition