The Tennessee State Capitol is an architectural beauty, in addition to being among the oldest working state capitols in the US. This creatively designed structure is located on the corner of Charlotte Avenue and Seventh Avenue North in downtown Nashville and is one of the most visited buildings in the city. The historic capitol building in Nashville is a wonderful example of Greek revival architecture and was completed in 1859, though the state General Assembly started its meetings here before the structure was completely finished.
The capitol also served as Fortress Andrew Johnson during Union occupation during the Civil War. From 1862 through 1865, Union troops occupied the Confederate capitol of Tennessee and used the building for drills and celebrations. Although no shots were fired upon the fortress, it served as a blow to the Nashville community to see the enemy occupy their beloved capitol building.
The capitol building was designed by the architect William Strickland of Pennsylvania and is considered one of the most beautiful buildings in Nashville. The complete building process was labored by convicts and slaves from around the Nashville area and now stands as a symbol of the city's importance and wealth. One of the most prominent features about the Tennessee State Capitol is the tower. Modeled after the monument of Lysicrates in Athens, the tower adds to the beauty of the Greek revival architecture that Strickland successfully imitated. The complete interior and exterior of the famous Capitol Building in Nashville is constructed of Tennessee limestone, which adds a distinctive glow and color to the building. The various chambers inside the building still serve as the seat of the state's government. It houses an assembly room, the Governor's office, the House and Senate chambers, and a state library.
The Tennessee State Capitol is located atop a hill and looms over the city of Nashville. Many visitors make the trek to the building to get the wonderful views of the city that it provides. The landscaping and facade of the structure are breathtaking, and visitors can opt to take one of the Tennessee State Capitol tours that are offered on the hour throughout the day. Knowledgeable guides lead visitors throughout the various chambers of the building, including the library and assembly quarters, and provide a thorough history of the building and the state of Tennessee. The capitol is also blessed with a variety of artwork, frescoes, murals, and statues. If you wish to opt out of one of the guided Tennessee State Capitol tours and prefer to wander around the historic site individually, pamphlets are available for self-guided tours.
The Capitol Building in Nashville is open to visitors from 9 am to 4 pm Monday through Friday and is closed on the weekends and on most major holidays. If you are traveling in a large group, it is advised to call the reception to make prior arrangements. Admission to the building is free and is a great stop for those who enjoy history, art, or architecture. Whether you choose to participate in one of the Tennessee State Capitol tours or explore the fantastic building on your own, a trip to the capitol building will not disappoint. It’s a great way to learn about the history of Nashville, along with visiting other historic sites such as the Ryman Auditorium and the Belle Meade Plantation.