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My 11-year-old son Gavin loves learning about history.
So even during the heat of the summer, we took a self-guided tour of historic Fort Nashborough.
Here’s what it was like…
The History Behind Fort Nashborough
The fort is a smaller scale re-creation (thanks to the Daughters of the American Revolution) first reconstructed in 1930 and then rebuilt (using the same log cabin construction techniques from the 1700’s) in 1962.
James Robertson and John Donelson founded Fort Nashborough in December of 1779. They traveled for 2 months from a settlement in North Carolina called Watuga (Lake Watuga was named after this settlement) and landed on the banks of the Cumberland River.
The fort itself was named after Francis Nash who was a hero during the American Revolution.
In April 1780, sixty families came to settle at Fort Nashborough — which was part of the state of North Carolina at the time.
Then in 1784, Fort Nashborough was renamed Nashville. Soon after “Nashville” was established, North Carolina turned over a chunk of land to the federal government. In 1796, this chunk of land was admitted to the union as the great state of Tennessee.
In 1806, Nashville was chartered as a city, and on October 7, 1843 it became the state capital.
Self-Guided Tours Of Fort Nashborough
At Fort Nashborough there are many signs and monuments explaining much of this great history, and then there are the log cabins themselves.
Though it’s much smaller than the original, this reconstruction of Nashville’s first settlement includes several buildings that faithfully reproduce what life in this frontier outpost was like in the late 18th century. The current fort looks oddly out of place in modern downtown Nashville, but if you’re interested in Tennessee’s early settlers, this site is worth a brief look. — Frommer’s
It will take you no more than 30 minutes to visit the entire fort. That will allow you plenty of time to observe and read the informational guides in each cabin.
There are 5 log cabins on this fenced in property — each having its own “theme”. For example, one log cabin depicts a bedroom, one depicts a kitchen, one depicts a weaving (sewing) room and so on.
You cannot walk through each cabin, but you can certainly get in far enough to see everything. What I mean by that is there are giant — floor to ceiling — cast iron (jail type) gates that allow you just enough room to enter but do not allow you to get too close to the exhibits themselves.
You enter and exit through the same door. That’s why it is a self-guided tour (a very face paced self-guided tour).
Before You Go…
We liked visiting Fort Nashborough, but I have to say that going in the heat of summer was not that pleasant.
I think visiting in the fall or spring would be much more tolerable weather wise.
What I did enjoy (and very much appreciated) was the mounted policeman that kept a close eye on the fort and those exploring it. (There was no one at the front gate or inside the fort at the time we visited.)
TIP: If you visit Fort Nashborough, allow yourself a little extra time to expore Riverfront Park since you will be right there.
Fort Nashborough is located at 1701 1st Avenue North in downtown Nashville at Riverfront Park.
Self-guided tours are available daily from 9AM to 4PM.
Admission is FREE.
For more information, phone (615) 862-8424.
More About Fort Nashborough And The Surrounding Area
- Fort Nashborough History
- Nashville’s Early Days Revisited At Fort Nashborough
- History of Nashville
- Fort Nashborough Reviews
- Nashville Riverfront History
- Reviews & Directions To Fort Nashborough
- Meet The Ancestors Who Put The Nash In Nashville
- Fort Nashborough Photos
I'm a happily married mom to 3 wonderful children: Taylor (13), Gavin (10) and Garrett (8). We recently relocated to the Nashville area from Florida and we're enjoying exploring Middle Tennessee and all it has to offer. My hobbies are: writing, photography, digital scrapbooking, cooking, and all things parenting.