NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Just two miles away from downtown Nashville sits a piece of history called Fort Negley.
Over 150 years ago, the largest inland stone fortification was built as a centerpiece of the Union’s occupation of Nashville during the Civil War.
Wednesday morning, Aubrey Lanier and her son were visiting the site from Idaho.
“My husband had a work conference, so we’re out exploring civil war sites,” she said.
During the mid 1800s, Fort Negley was constructed by thousands of freed and enslaved African Americans, but now decades later the 64-acre site is owned by Metro Parks and they’ve been working on a masterplan for the park for over a year.
Since late 2021, Metro Parks has been hosting public meetings and gathering input about the long term vision for the park.
On August 2, Metro Parks will vote to accept a $25,000 grant from the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation. Metro Parks is expected to match 50 percent of the grant with the funds going towards a museum feasibility study that’s part of the master plan.
There are also plans for Vanderbilt’s Engine for Art, Democracy and Justice to request approval to create an over 2,000 square foot temporary mural painted on the side of the hill between the old ball field and the Fort Negley Visitor Center at the site.
The EADJ will work with artist Joseph “Doughjoe” Love and partners, The Frist Art Museum and Fisk University on the project, as well as gather community input and raise funds.
Hearing about the plans is something that excites Lanier and her son.
“This little guy loves Civil War history, American Revolution history, and to actually see it and what it would look like would be awesome,” she said.
Overall, Metro Park’s vision is to transform the site into an open air museum for the community, and it’s something Lanier is hoping she can bring her son back out to see one day.
“I’m the mom of a history buff, so just being able to take him out and show him stuff would be amazing because I can visualize it, but he’s still learning how to visualize it,” she said.
We reached out to the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation about the grant and their CEO Butch Spyridon sent us the statement below:
“The history of Fort Negley is an important part of Nashville’s historical offerings. There is an opportunity to elevate the fort and park, and it is critical to get it right. We are more than happy to offer support to a strategic planning process.”