Fort Negley

Celebrating the opening of the Fort Negley Visitors Center were State Senator Thelma Harper, flanked by Jim Kay, left, BONPS President, and Doug Jones, BONPS past president.

The Fort Negley Visitors Center opened to the public on Dec. 15, 2007. The center is located at 1100 Fort Negley Blvd. The Center features exhibits, monthly activities, annual events and self-guided tours of Fort Negley Park. The 4,605-square-foot, $1 million facility includes a small multipurpose theater, exhibit space, meeting room, staff spaces, public restrooms, and an outdoor plaza. Admission to Fort Negley is free.  Operating Hours are from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm., Tuesday through Saturday.

Visitors will be able to search the national Soldier and Sailor Database to learn where their ancestors served during the Civil War. The kiosk located near the entrance of the Visitors Center allows you to personally connect with the only war where Americans fought one another. View photos of 1860s Nashville and listen to Center Interpreters bring the stories alive.

The film, “The Fall of Nashville” will premiere in the Fort Negley Theatre. This film is an introduction to the occupation of Nashville, the need for fortifications, and Fort Negley’s ultimate demise. Exhibits located outside the theatre depict the many aspects of the city’s Civil War history.

Visitors can read about the roles of the conscript laborers, the United States Colored Troops, and ordinary citizens. Learn about the design and construction of the fort through interactive exhibits. See the effects of a sudden occupation on Nashville’s citizens. Hear about the strength and bravery of the men who built the fort, hear stories and see photos of life in the occupied city, and experience the heartbreak of the Battle of Nashville.

The center is intended to serve as a hub for Civil War heritage tourism in Middle Tennessee.  Rather than competing with other historic sites, the intent is to develop partnerships with other agencies to enhance and expand the educational and economic benefits of heritage tourism in the area.  In addition, programs and events offered by a full time staff at the center will provide students and the public at large new opportunities to understand Nashville's fascinating Civil War past.

Fort Negley is located adjacent to the center. Stabilized and enhanced with interpretive signage and walkways, the fort opened to the public in December 2004 for the first time in 60 years. Fort Negley was the largest fortification built by the occupying Union Army in Nashville and the largest inland stone fort built during the Civil War. Measuring 600 feet by 300 feet, Negley covered four acres and was constructed from October to December 1862. The stronghold was constructed by conscript laborers, both slaves and free blacks, of stone, logs, earth, and railroad iron. More than 2700 African American men worked to build Fort Negley; only 300 were paid for their labor.

The City of Nashville's enhancements to the fort and the construction of the visitors center represents the largest municipal appropriation for Civil War preservation in the United States.

Adding historic realism to the Fort Negley Visitors Center opening ceremonies Dec. 15, 2007 were re-enactors from the United States Colored Troops, 13th Infantry Regiment, troops which garrisoned the fort during the war and the Battle of Nashville. Also participating were President Abraham Lincoln and abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass. After setting up camp at the base of Fort Negley the troops marched up the hill and into the fort.

Mailing Address:
Battle of Nashville Preservation Society, Inc. PO Box 190493 Nashville TN 37219

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