Saturday, May 28, 2022

The Most Beautiful State Capitol Building: Nashville, Tennessee

Fall 2015-16 UM Enrollment for U.S. by U.S. State
Fall 2015-16 UM Enrollment for U.S. by U.S. State

EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s no secret that the University of Mississippi has a diverse population of students from across the United States and around the world. In fact, there are students from every state in the nation, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico comprising the total of 20,827 (U.S. students) on the Oxford and regional campuses including UMMC, according to University of Mississippi Institutional Research. Mississippi holds the largest share (58.11 percent), but the remaining states share the other almost 42 percent. There are 1,181 Ole Miss students from Tennessee (5.92 percent).


By Kaldari - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6020445
By Kaldari – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6020445

The countdown is complete. Welcome to downtown Nashville and one of the most historical of any of the state capitols.

Even a U.S. President is buried on the grounds! Every time I think of this building, Fess Parker, Walt Disney’s Davy Crockett TV series, comes to mind as Crockett served in the Tennessee legislature.

The Capitol is a National Historic Landmark and a prominent example of Greek Revival architecture. It is only one of twelve state capitols that does not have a dome and the only one in our top ten. The beautiful hill top site was previously occupied by the Holy Rosary Cathedral, the first Roman Catholic cathedral church in Nashville.

The State Capitol was modeled after a Greek Ionic temple. The lantern structure located above the roof line is a design based upon the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens that honors the Greek god Dionysus doing battle with Tyrrhenian pirates. The cornerstone of the building was laid on July 4, 1845 with the completion of the building fourteen years later in 1859. The building consists primarily of stone and structural iron. Both the interior and exterior are constructed with limestone obtained from a quarry about one mile from the site.

Commercial, convict and slave labor were used in the construction. Fifteen enslaved Black men worked on carving the limestone cellar from 1845 to 1847. It is believed to be the most significant project where the Tennessee state government rented slave labor.

Monuments on the Capitol grounds include the statues of two of three Tennesseans who served as President of the United States…Andrew Jackson and Andrew Johnson. And the second President from Tennessee, James K. Polk, is buried in a tomb on the grounds together with his wife, Sarah Childress Polk. Another monument on the ground honors Sgt. Alvin C. York, one of the greatest military heroes of American history.

Recounting our top ten:
10. Connecticut
9. Iowa
8. Alabama
7. South Dakota
6. Utah
5. West Virginia
4. Wisconsin
3. Georgia
2. Texas
and our number 1 selection…Tennessee.

(Special recognition to Wikipedia for providing the historical references.)


Steve Vassallo

Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at sovassallo@gmail.com or call him at 985-852-7745.

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