Friday, April 1, 2011

The Parthenon

We decided to visit the Parthenon in Nashville last week while we were on spring break.
 My niece had been studying the Parthenon and Athena and she really wanted to see the huge 41 foot statue of Athena which stands inside the Parthenon.  We live just south of Nashville and I have seen the outside of the Parthenon many many times but we have never taken the time to take a tour and we really enjoyed it.  I have always none that the Parthenon in Nashville is the only full-scale replica of the Parthenon in Athens.  Here are some very interesting facts that we learn during our visit:

  • The Parthenon was built for the Centennial Expo in 1897.
  • The Centennial Expo commemorated the 100th anniversary of Tennessee's statehood.
  • The Parthenon was chosen as the main building at the Expo because Tennessee used to be known as the Athens of the South.  It is now better known as Music City thanks to the Grand Ole Opry.
  • It was the first of 36 buildings built for the Expo.  They were all built to be temporary.  The other buildings were torn down (two were moved) but the people of Nashville did not want the Parthenon to be torn down.
  • The original structure was plaster, wood and brick.  It remained for 23 years before something more permanent needed to replace the badly deteriorating building.
  • The materials were replaced beginning in 1920 (over 11 years) with permanent materials (concrete).  The building was restored  in the 1990's.
  • In 1990, they began the construction of Athena.  The Parthenon in Ancient Greece was originally built (@450 BC) to house the statue of Athena but the statue disappeared long ago.  The original Athena was made of Ivory and Gold.
 The Athena is covered in over 8 pounds of gold leaf.  She holds a statue of Nike in her hand.
This pictures shows the size of the columns and the aggregate concrete construction.
While we were learning about the history of this building and the Expo in 1897 I began to imagine that my great great grandparents must have visited the building and possibly the Expo.
They lived about 80 miles from Nashville in 1897 but moved to Nashville in 1904 for about 10 years while My gggrandfather served as the Comptroller for the Treasury for the State of Tennessee. 
This is a photo of my great grandparents who were married in 1904 so I'm sure they also may have visited the Parthenon and picnicked in Centennial park.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for a nice piece of American history I didn't know about...and curious timing too, for me! I am from Italy and moved to the USA last August; before that, last Easter me and my son flew over to the real Parthenon to be with my husband(who's American and translates from modern Greek)who was in Athens. Funny thought!