|The Battle of Nashville Monument: A Symposium
Thurs., Nov. 5 and Fri., Nov. 6, 1998
The Monument and Modern Memory: Preserving the Nashville Battlefield
Speaking to the subject of "The Monument and Modern Memory: Preserving the Nashville Battlefield and Other Tennessee Sites from the Civil War" were Wes Shofner, president of the Battle of Nashville Preservation Society; Ross Massey, member of the BONPS board of directors; Fred Prouty, director of programs for the Tennessee Wars Commission; and Michael Emrick, principal of Michael Emrick, AIA.
Shofner announced that he had recently met with Nashville Mayor Phil Bredesen, who has agreed to fund in part a proposal to restore approximately 20 sites in Davidson County related to the Battle of Nashville, the most important site being Fort Negley. Shofner also noted that he has received some favorable reaction from state officials.
Embrick, a historical architect, said Fort Negley is an "absolute phenomenal resource" to generate history tourism for the city but it is unfortunate that the fort has been neglected so long. Embrick, who has developed a far-reaching Master Plan for the restoration, noted that stabilization of the site needs to be commenced as soon as possible. Metro Nashville, which owns the site, is now trying to bid the stabilization work. The city has appropriated $400,000 toward the restoration. Although there are six phases to the plan, the Negley Fort Park could be opened to the public following Phase Two. The park, now closed to the public, is located near I-65 and I-265, adjacent to the Cumberland Science Museum and Greer Stadium, home of the Nashville Sounds.
"History in Peril: A Proposal for a Civil War Protection Plan for Davidson County, Tenn." inventories multiple sites needing varying degrees of work. Some well-maintained sites are in need only of interpretation (signage).
The sites include:
Prouty of the Tennessee Wars Commission said that recent funding initiatives has Tennessee "on the verge of exploding" regarding the potential for Civil War tourism but it is a "window of opportunity." "There is a litany of projects that need funding," he said. There are 56 Civil War sites in Tennessee now open to the public but there are 400 additional sites now in private ownership. He noted that Stones River National Battlefield (NPS) in Murfreesboro is considered the "most threatened" park in the nation due to encroaching development.
Last week, he said, a team of historical preservationists met at Stones River to begin plans to form the Tennessee Civil War Heritage Area, which could receive $10 million in federal matching funds once established. Eight public meetings will be held across the state to generate grass-roots support, he said.
Prouty said Tennesseans need to begin to "think big." He noted that the state of Virginia will spend $450,000 in advertising to promote Civil War tourism. Currently Virginia sites attract five million visitors annually. Virginia has 59 Civil War sites while Tennessee has 56.