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Five Important Historical Sites to Visit in Tennessee

1. Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. Located in the shadow of the State Capitol in downtown Nashville, this urban state park is a lasting monument to Tennessee's Bicentennial Celebration (June 1, 1996), and one in which park rangers offer tours (April through November, Monday to Friday, at 2 PM) exploring the natural, cultural, and historical resources of the area and the state. Visitors will find monuments throughout the park, including a 200-foot granite map of the state, a World War II Memorial, a 95-bell carillon, and the Pathway of History. The park also has a visitor center/museum, 31 river fountains in a Splashpad area, a 2,000-seat amphitheater, a picnic pavilion, and a .9-mile paved hiking and biking trail. The Nashville Farmer's Market is located next to the park and is home to farmers, food artisans, restaurants, and shops with a wide variety of offerings and cuisines year-round. Nearby parks include Radnor Lake State Park (1,332-acre natural area; day-use only; visitor center; hiking; wildlife viewing) and Long Hunter State Park (2,600 acres; visitor center; fishing; boating; hiking trails). Learn more here: Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park.

2. Fort Pillow State Historical Park. Located in Henning, in western Tennessee on the border with Arkansas, about 65 miles north of Memphis, this 1,642-acre park and wildlife observation area offers amazing views of the Mississippi River, as well as the preserved and reconstructed elements of the Civil War-era fort. The fort was built in 1861 by Confederate troops and named after General Gideon J. Pillow; the fort was abandoned a year later when the Union navy advanced along the Mississippi River. The museum and interpretative center offers displays of Civil War artifacts, and includes a 19-minute video on the 1864 Battle of Fort Pillow (also called the Fort Pillow Massacre), as well as a gift shop. Visitors will also find 20 miles of hiking trails (many paralleling the earthwork fortifications of the old fort), a small campground with 30 sites (about half with hook-ups), a group camping site, picnic pavilions and playgrounds, and boating (including boat launch and canoe/kayak rentals) and fishing (bass, bream, crappie, catfish) on the 25-acre Fort Pillow Lake/Sullivan's Pond. Consider a side trip to the Alex Haley Museum in nearby Henning. Learn more here: Fort Pillow State Historical Park.

3. Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park. Located just north of Manchester, in southeast Tennessee, about 72 miles northwest of Chattanooga, this 844-acre historic area is dedicated to the preservation, protection, and interpretation of the Old Stone Fort, a 2,000+-year-old American Indian ceremonial site listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You will be amazed and mesmerized by the 50-acre hilltop enclosure mound -- made from mounds and earthen walls combined with cliffs and rivers to form a 1.25-mile ceremonial gathering place -- not a fort as first European settlers thought. The original entrance to the fort was designed to face the exact spot on the horizon where the sun rises during the summer solstice. Visitors also enjoy camping (the park has 51 sites with water and electric hook-ups), fishing on the Duck River, waterfalls (Step Falls, Blue Hold Falls, and big Falls -- all along the Wall Trail), picnicking (the park has 30 tables), and browsing the museum and gift shop. Other nearby natural attractions include Tims Ford State Park and South Cumberland State Park. Learn more here: Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park.

4. Pinson Mounds State Archeological Park. Located just east of Pinson, in southwest Tennessee, about 11 miles south of Jackson, this 1,300-acre contains more than 400 acres consisting of at least 17 prehistoric earthen mounds and is a National Historic Landmark, as well as listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Pinson Mound is the largest Middle Woodland period (200 BC to 500 AD) mound in the southeast, and the Sauls Mound, at 72 feet in height, is the second tallest in the U.S. Other mounds include the Ozier Mound, Twin Mounds, and Mound 31. Evidence suggests the mounds were both burial and ceremonial in nature. The museum in the park (which contains exhibits, gift shop, archeological library, and 80-seat theater) was designed to replicate a Native American mound. Visitors can enjoy leisurely hiking trails (some paved; some gravel/forest floor) that provide access to the mounds, as well as three intersecting ecosystems: a cypress swamp, mixed beech-oak slopes, and oak-hickory uplands. The park also has picnic facilities and playgrounds. A group camp has four cabins. Nearby attractions include the Casey Jones Museum, Britton Lane Civil War Battlefield and Cypress Grove Park (cypress forest; raptor rehabilitation center) and Chickasaw State Park (1,400 acres; hiking trails; historical WPA cabins; RV campground; horse campground). Learn more: Pinson Mounds State Archeological Park.

5. Shiloh National Military Park. Located in Shiloh, in south-central Tennessee, about 100 miles east of Memphis, this 3,996-acre national park preserves the Civil War battlefields of Shiloh and Corinth, considered critical for controlling the railroad (supply) junction at Corinth, and includes the Shiloh National Cemetery. The Battle of Shiloh last two days (April 6-7, 1862), and involved nearly 110,000 American soldiers -- 65,000 Union troops and 44,000 Confederate soldiers -- and resulted in nearly 24,000 killed, wounded, or missing. The Shiloh National Military Park, considered one of the best preserved battlefields in the nation, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The 20-acre National Cemetery contains 3,854 Union solider remains (of whom 2,357 are unknown) and two known Confederate dead; an unknown number of other Confederate soldiers are interred in mass graves in the park. Also within the park boundaries are the Shiloh Indian Mounds site, also a National Historic Landmark, dating back to the Early Mississippian period of about 800 years ago. A separate unit of the park at Corinth, Mississippi, preserves and interprets the Siege and Battle of Corinth. Learn more here: Shiloh National Military Park.

EmpoweringSites.com CEO Dr. Randall Hansen Dr. Randall S. Hansen is an educator, author, and blogger, as well as founder and CEO of EmpoweringSites.com, a network of empowering and transformative Websites, including EmpoweringAdvice.com. Dr. Hansen has been helping empower people to achieving success his entire adult life. He is also founder of EnhanceMyVocabulary.com, MyCollegeSuccessStory.com, and EmpoweringRetreat.com. He is a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. Dr. Hansen is also an educator, teaching business and marketing at the college level for more than 25 years. Learn more by visiting his personal Website, RandallSHansen.com. You can also check out Dr. Hansen on Google+, as well as Dr. Randall Hansen on LinkedIn.



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