As Tennessee’s biggest and perhaps its most well known city, Nashville is at the heart of everything Tennessee. It should then come as no surprise that the state capitol of Tennessee resides in the Music City. The Tennessee State Capitol Building is a star example of the city’s Greek Revival architecture alongside other famous structures including the recreation of the Greek Parthenon in Centennial Park. Today, we will discuss the Capitol Building in Nashville from a historical perspective, a modern viewpoint, and also what tourists in the area can expect to experience.
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All About the Tennessee Capitol Building
The Tennessee Capitol Building, AKA the Tennessee State Capitol, opened its doors over 150 years ago in 1859. The structure was imagined by William Strickland, a famous architect who believed the State Capitol was his best work. As mentioned in the introduction, the architecture leans heavily on Greek influences dating back to ancient Athens and beyond. The large pillars and regal appearance of the structure have the Parthenon, Temple of Apollo, and other famous structures to thank for their design.
The Tennessee State Capitol resides on a site that once housed the Holy Rosary Cathedral, the first Roman Catholic Cathedral Church erected in downtown Nashville. At that time, the Holy Rosary Cathedral was the center of all Roman Catholic worship in the state of Tennessee. In modern times, the Capitol Building is nearby the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the Frist Art Museum, and many other tourist attractions.
Tennessee State Capitol Memorials
Monuments to many great Americans stand at the Tennessee Capitol Building. American figures including Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk , and Senator Edward Ward Carmack are memorialized at the site. Another notable feature is the Tennessee Holocaust Commission Memorial, which can be viewed at the southwest area of the Tennessee Capitol grounds.
Tennessee State Museum and Tours of the Tennessee State Capitol
Of course in modern times visitors are welcome to visit the Tennessee State Capitol both as tourists and for educational purposes. A visit to Tennessee Capitol Hill can generally be done through guided tours from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays. The tours are offered in conjunction with the Tennessee State Museum, and are free to the public. Tours begin on the hour are 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m.
There are public galleries through which the general public can view Senate and House of Representatives proceedings in the Capitol Building. It should be noted that these public galleries will vary, and visitors may not be able to view the proceedings depending on the date and the hour of their visit.
Tennessee State Capitol’s Role in Government
It houses both the state Senate and the state House of Representatives. The site is public and free for visitors, with many legislative functions also being available for public viewing in a limited capacity. Tennessee, like many American states, is proud of its history and its position within the Union. As such, Tennessee residents are highly involved with both local and state politics, just as they are with national politics.
The Tennessee State Capitol Building in Nashville is amongst the oldest US capitol buildings still in use today. The building also was the location of the ratification of the 19th amendment on August 18, 1920. This historic moment in American history marked a victory for the women’s suffrage movement, finally allowing voters of all genders the unequivocal right to vote in American elections. Today, the Tennessee State Capitol continues to be a major player in American politics as a representative of the great state of Tennessee.
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