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Old 11-23-2012, 07:41 PM   #1
Liberia OP
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Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park - Nashville, TN

It’s Thanksgiving Day and Mrs. Liberia is in Brooklyn visiting with Liberia Daughter #2. It’s also supposed to be 70+ degrees and sunny. I have two important visits to make today and I think that I can visit a couple of Tennessee’s most unusual State parks in the process.

The first is Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park in downtown Nashville (http://www.tn.gov/environment/parks/Bicentennial/). Aldntn has already posted a ride report on this park and it was so interesting that I wanted to see it for myself. That’s one of the reasons we’re doing the 54 Tennessee State Parks Ride Collaborative, to encourage others to enjoy our great State parks.

Although the initial ride would only be 33 miles, I would need to make good time in order to make all 4 visits planned. A boring strip on I-24 West but traffic was light at 9am on Thanksgiving morning.
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Old 11-23-2012, 07:50 PM   #2
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Get ready, get unready, get ready again

I’m leaving from the office as that’s where the bikes are stored. Today seems like a Concours kind of day so I take it. Well, I’m ready to go.


Okay, so I’m not ready to go. Back into the office to pick up my list of directions. (I stay lost as last year’s Easter egg in Nashville).


Directions in hand, I’m now ready to go. It’s a few minutes after 9am.


A quick note, the pictures you see with the side of my helmet showing are from the GoPro Hero 2 camera that I've got stuck there. I typically set it to take a picture every 10 seconds which gives 360 pictures per hour. Out of those I typically find 5 or 10 that are both decent to look at and relevent to what I'm talking about. The balance of the pictures are taken using a point and shoot Nikon S3000 (I think). It's a decent little camera but in my hands, it's verging on horrible.
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Liberia screwed with this post 11-23-2012 at 08:20 PM
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Old 11-23-2012, 07:54 PM   #3
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Getting there

It’s a 1 mile hop onto I-24 West and then a straight shot into Nashville. About the tightest curve that today’s ride will provide is the off ramp at Exit 48.


I should stop to say that today isn’t really about a motorcycle ride as much as it is seeing some things and people while using a motorcycle to do it.

Nashville is a fairly large city by Tennessee standards but nothing like Atlanta. Still we do have a skyline worth seeing and the short hop from I-24 to the Bicentennial Mall gives me a chance to see it. That’s LP Field, home of the Titans, on the left.


This State park really is in the heart of the city. James Robertson Parkway loops around the internal portion of the downtown area. The total distance from Exit 48 to the park is slightly more than 1 mile.


Just before reaching the park entrance I see Municipal Auditorium. It’s been around a while and there’s been many concerts held there, among other things. I’ve lived within 30 miles of Nashville for 25 years of my life and have never set foot inside.


The entrance to the park is not readily apparent but things really pick up once you’re on the mall.
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Old 11-23-2012, 07:56 PM   #4
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The Park

Here’s a little information about why this park was created and when:

"With the urban building boom in downtown Nashville during the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Tennessee State Capitol disappeared from sight on the east, west and south sides. The northern side of the Capitol was not conducive to the construction of skyscrapers due to the swampy conditions that existed in many areas between the Capitol and the Cumberland River. Ironically, the historic French Lick that attracted wildlife, Native Americans, trappers and settlers to what would become Nashville also preserved the remaining view of the Capitol and became the home of the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park because of its natural attributes. In order to save the one remaining view of the Capitol and to commemorate Tennessee’s 200th birthday, the concept of a mall similar to the one in Washington, DC, took shape."

One of the first things I noticed when stepping onto the park grounds was that all the trees were labeled so that you knew what you were looking at. I’m pretty much limited to pine, oak or maple (and of course, the venerable Red Cedar) in my vocabulary of tree types. So this works good for someone like me.
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:00 PM   #5
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Rivers, streams and lakes play a key role in Tennessee

There are several Tennessee historical segments to the park. The most noticeable comes right up near the front of the park.


There is a fountain composed of multiple streams of water shooting up from the walkway in front of the granite wall that covers the importance of rivers to the development of Tennessee. During the warmer months there are often children playing in this area enjoying the respite from the muggy Tennessee summer. The park brochure says they are open from May to October but I guess they made an exception this year due to the warm weather.


I took a few pictures of quotes etched into the fountain’s granite wall. I’ll let them speak for themselves.






I will make a comment about this one. For those who do not know, the earthquakes mentioned here sunk such a large amount of land along the Mississippi River that the river actually ran backwards for a time until the lake was filled.


One final look before moving on.
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:01 PM   #6
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Flags and Stars

I ran out of lens before reaching the top. At the top are 3 stars, just as in the Tennessee State flag representing the Three Grand Divisions of the State, West, Middle and East. More than any other state I’ve visited, Tennessee really is different in each of these areas.
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:06 PM   #7
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Tennessee over time

Down the west side of the Mall is the Pathway of History describing key events across the eons of time. Each Granite slab had a time period inscribed and the information and quotes related to that period of time.


Again, I’ve selected a few quotes and information bits from hundreds available. I’ll let them speak for themselves.
























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Old 11-23-2012, 08:08 PM   #8
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Amphitheater with a view

There is a 2,000 seat Amphitheater that is framed in the background by the State Capitol.


Across the back are a scattering of maple trees that still hold their colorful leaves even on Thanksgiving day. The next strong rain will likely rob us of this beauty until next fall brings it back again.


Looking over the mall shows the area where people are free to walk and enjoy a little open space in the middle of the city.


A closer look at the Capitol building from the back of the Amphitheater. It was still hazy when the picture was taken but I like the look it provides.
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:09 PM   #9
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Walkway of the Counties

Down the right side of the Mall was the Walkway of the Counties. A circle was engraved into the sidewalk for each of the 95 counties within Tennessee. Inside of each circle was information about the county such as its founding, the size and other interesting information.


Since I live in Rutherford County, I thought I’d share its circle with you. It contains the exact geographic center of the State of Tennessee and once was home to the State Capitol.
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:12 PM   #10
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A war worth remembering

Near the middle of the Mall is a memorial to Tennessee’s World War II veterans. Starting with this huge round ball of granite that constantly turns on a bed of water.


Down one side were granite slabs displaying a series of moments and emotions of WWII. They are:
Outrage – Resolve – Valor – Fortitude – Victory
The young lady looking at the monument was, I believe, Korean. At first glance I thought the family might have been Japanese (we have many Japanese citizens in Rutherford County due to the Nissan plant). I was curious to see what the reaction would be given that the final picture at the end entitled Victory was the nuclear bomb blast at Hiroshima. (I’m not being racist here, am curious as to how people from Japan view the bombings and nuclear explosions versus how most Americans view it.)


Down the other side were the following:
Terror – Conviction – Courage – Triumph - Gratitude


The circle the grandmother is reading makes note that the stars embedded through this WW2 memorial represent the 5,731 Tennesseans who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.


Across the back of the memorial is a long bench listing the U.S. Medal of Honor recipients from Tennessee’s WWII military service. Something worth honoring.
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:14 PM   #11
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Carillons

At the end of the Mall was this building.


And inside was this.


And these are the bells. Carillons I believe they are called.
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:15 PM   #12
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A final look

One last look down the Mall in the haze. The small bricks down the middle of the sidewalk were the names of people who contributed to the building of the park. They were listed by county. And there were a lot of them.
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:17 PM   #13
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Tennessee - A privilege to be here

Believe it or not, this is the first time I’ve visited the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. Thanks so much to Aldntn who made the first visit and wrote a report that piqued my interest.

I found myself overcome with the feelings I have when visiting the various monuments in Washington DC. Feelings of thankfulness and pride in my country and in my state. Given the bitterness and hatefulness of the recent campaigns, I think it’s good to remember that all these people who sacrificed so much were likely all over the board when it came to politics and beliefs but somehow they came together to make something good.

I also thought of the fact that I was “born and raised” in northern Florida. Many of my family still live there and my Alaska brother and I have a house together there on the Nature Coast. I like Florida but I have never once, in the past 21 years since we moved to Tennessee, awakened and thought, “I wish I lived back in Florida.” Some of you folks have the privilege to be born here. I have the privilege of choosing to live here. Good choice on my part I think.

Now it’s time to visit someone rather than something. And after that, on to Radnor Lake State Park.
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Old 11-24-2012, 08:47 AM   #14
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Excellent!

I meant to get a pic of the Municipal Auditorium, but traffic/ timing didn't let it happen. In the late '60s I went to many great concerts in this old building; the greatest of all was Led Zeppelin. They played over two hours and didn't seem to want to stop. Finally, the powers that be cut the electricity and so ended the concert.
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