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Bird's-eye view of the expo grounds. Chromolithograph by The Henderson Litho Co., 1896.
The Nashville and Memphis pavilions at night, seen over Watauga Lake, with the Commerce Building at rear.

The Tennessee Centennial and International Exposition was an exposition staged between May 1 and October 31 of 1897 in Nashville. It celebrated the 100th anniversary of Tennessee's entry into the union in 1796, although it was a year late.

Many cities and organizations built buildings and exhibit halls on the Exposition grounds, conveniently located on the streetcar line on the western fringe of the city. Among the most prominent were those of Nashville itself, and its nearby rival, Memphis. Nashville designed its pavilion after the Parthenon in Greece due to the city's nickname as The Athens of the South. Memphis's exhibit, in honor of its Egyptian name, was a large pyramid. These structures no longer exist, but they have their echos in both cities today. Nashville's temporary Parthenon was reconstructed in permanent materials in a project lasting from 1920 to 1931 and still stands today as an art gallery on the original exposition grounds, which became Centennial Park. In the 1990s, Memphis built a new sports arena, the Pyramid Arena, in the shape of a large pyramid by the banks of the Mississippi.

Other attractions on the grounds were the Negro Pavilion, the gondolas on Lake Watauga (which is still a feature of the park today) and the Egyptian Pavilion with its belly dancers. The Centennial Exposition was a great success and is still considered one of the most notable events ever to be held in the state. Unlike most World's Fairs, it did not lose money, although the final accounting showed a direct profit of less than $50.

See also

The 1982 World's Fair held in Knoxville.

External links

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File:Tennessee Centennial Exposition 1897 (LOC ppmsca.03354).jpg
Bird's-eye view of the expo grounds. Chromolithograph by The Henderson Litho Co., 1896.

The Tennessee Centennial and International Exposition was an exposition staged between May 1 and October 31 of 1897 in Nashville. It celebrated the 100th anniversary of Tennessee's entry into the union in 1796, although it was a year late.

Many cities and organizations built buildings and exhibit halls on the Exposition grounds, conveniently located on the streetcar line on the western fringe of the city. Among the most prominent were those of Nashville itself, and its nearby rival, Memphis. Nashville designed its pavilion after the Parthenon in Greece due to the city's nickname as The Athens of the South. Memphis's exhibit, in honor of its Egyptian name, was a large pyramid. These structures no longer exist, but they have their echos in both cities today. Nashville's temporary Parthenon was reconstructed in permanent materials in a project lasting from 1920 to 1931 and still stands today as an art gallery on the original exposition grounds, which became Centennial Park. In the 1990s, Memphis built a new sports arena, the Pyramid Arena, in the shape of a large pyramid by the banks of the Mississippi.

Other attractions on the grounds were the Negro Pavilion, the gondolas on Lake Watauga (which is still a feature of the park today) and the Egyptian Pavilion with its belly dancers. The Centennial Exposition was a great success and is still considered one of the most notable events ever to be held in the state. Unlike most World's Fairs, it did not lose money, although the final accounting showed a direct profit of less than $50.

There was also a mysterious accident involving an attraction called "House of Distortion" built by Nikola Tesla apprentice, Henry Worth. This attraction featured a very new radio and remote control technology, but is thought to have been sabotaged by one of Thomas Edison's workers, whom Tesla was a rival. A gruesome accident occurred and the attraction was immediately shut down and no one would speak about the reasons why. The attraction was removed and reassembled in the old Hill's Department Store building at 3436 Lebanon Pike in Hermitage, TN. It is open to the public.

See also

The 1982 World's Fair held in Knoxville.

External links


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