The Parthenon

2500 West End Ave Nashville

Metro Parks Nashville
Written By Metro Parks Nashville

The mission of the Parks Department is to provide safe recreational and cultural activities within a network of parks and greenways.

The Parthenon was originally part of Tennessee's 1897 Centennial Exposition. This full-scale replica of the original in Athens, Greece was built because Nashville was then known as "The Athens of the South." Over the six month duration of the event, approximately 1.8 million people visited the Parthenon.

Like at a world's fair, all the exhibit buildings were temporary and made of inexpensive materials. After the exposition, the majority were torn down. The Parthenon, however, was simply too grand to demolish.

Because it was made of plaster, however, something eventually needed to be done to preserve the Parthenon. So in the 1920s, it was reconstructed using concrete. An additional restoration was completed in the early 2000s.

To make the building even more true to the original, in 1982 artists began recreating the 42-foot statue of Athena that adorns the Parthenon in Greece. For 12 years, the statue remained plain white. In 2002, Athena was gilded and painted to include facial, wardrobe, and shield details.

Today, the Parthenon stands proudly as the centerpiece of Centennial Park, Nashville's premier urban park. It also serves as Nashville's art museum and a monument to what is considered the pinnacle of classical architecture.The focus of the Parthenon's permanent collection is a group of 63 paintings by 19th and 20th century American artists donated by James M. Cowan. Additional gallery spaces provide a venue for a variety of temporary shows and exhibits.

Cover photo credit: dlray148 via Instrgram.

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The Parthenon

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