Recently, OHNY’s program coordinator Hae-In took a Southern roadtrip. Starting in Austin, Texas, she made her way to New Orleans and ultimately Nashville. She was very surprised to find a full-scale model of the Parthenon in Nashville’s Centennial Park, just west of downtown. As several locals explained, Nashville is also known as the “Athens of the South” (why Athens, Georgia, does not hold this title is a mystery).

Parthenon in Centennial Park

Built as the centerpiece of the 1897 Tennessee Centennial and International Exposition, the Parthenon was joined by Memphis’s pyramid, among other buildings based on ancient originals. The Exposition celebrated the 100th anniversary of the state’s entry into the Union in 1796, although it was technically a year late. The Parthenon, however, was the only one that was an exact reproduction of the original and the only structure eventually kept by the city. The temporary Parthenon was built with plaster, wood and brick. It was reconstructed using concrete in the 1920’s, completed by 1931, on the original Exposition grounds now known as Centennial Park.

Emily, in front of the Parthenon

The reconstruction also includes a replica of the 42-foot statue of Athena and plaster replicas of the Parthenon Marbles.

Concrete columns

 

The Parthenon now functions as an art museum, with a permanent collection of 63 paintings by 19th and 20th century American artists. Additional gallery spaces is used to show a variety of temporary exhibits. During the summer, local theater companies use the building as the set for classic Greek plays and other performances.

Doors to the Parthenon

 

1 Comment to Field Trip Friday: Parthenon, Nashville

  1. November 21, 2010 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    That’s a great landmark.

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