Clarksville is a thriving community that is rich in both tradition and history. One of the most historic cities in the South, Clarksville was founded in 1784 and offers visitors a glimpse into the past through memorable attractions, the rich tobacco trade, a variety of annual events and festivals and the unique historic architecture.
The city of Clarksville began as a settlement along the banks of the Red and Cumberland Rivers. Founded by Revolutionary War hero John Montgomery, Clarksville became the first incorporated city in the state of Tennessee. Today Clarksville is a culturally diverse and progressive city influenced by both the liberal arts campus at Austin Peay University and Fort Campbell, home of the 101st Airborne Divisions Screaming Eagles.
Visitors to Clarksville and Montgomery County can take a walk through time by visiting some of the areas historical sites, some of which are listed below.
This battlefield is a key landmark of Civil War history. Fort Donelson National Battlefield Park & Cemetery marks the site where the South unexpectedly lost Fort Donelson to the Union in 1862. Following the defeat both Clarksville and Nashville were transferred into Northern hands. This marked the beginning of a transformative time for region as the South began to lose strength and was soon forced to surrender Middle ad West Tennessee along with Kentucky. Today the site provides visitors with an opportunity to walk in the footsteps of the soldiers who had an integral part in shaping the nation during these most formative years. In 1867, Fort Donelson Cemetery was established as the final resting for Union soldiers and sailors initially buried in the Fort Donelson area. The national cemetery is now home to both Civil War veterans and those who have served the country since that time in history.
120 Lock D Rd, Dover, TN 37058
The site is marked with a stone pillar constructed on a foundation of Kentucky limestone. Resembling the Washington monument, the pillar stands as a memorial to the Kentuckian who was born on this site ON June 3, 1808. Best known for his service during the Civil War as President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis was a popular graduate of West Point and had a distinguished military career prior to serving as a both a congressman and a senator. A ride on the elevator offers a bird’s eye view of the majestic countryside. The museum on site offers guests insight into the fascinating life of this Southern leader.
258 Pembroke-Fairview Rd, Fairview, KY 42221
Fort Defiance Civil War Park & Interpretive Center sits 200 feet above the junction of the Cumberland ad Red Rivers. Originally inhabited by Native Americans, the area became a settlement and trading center after white settlers began to arrive in the late 18th century. Confederate troops used the hilltop as a build site for a fort used to defend the river near the entrance to Clarksville. Fort Defiance was captured by the Union in 1862 without a shot, renamed and remained occupied for the rest of the war. The site employed many runaway and freed slaves who flocked here after the war.
Still standing today, the property was donated to the city of Clarksville in 1982 by Judge Sam Boaz and his wife. Fort Defiance has been incredibly well preserved and includes an interpretive center with exhibits, built in 2008, and a mile of walking trails. Visitors can still see the original gun platforms and powder magazines that were used by the soldiers.
120 Duncan St, Clarksville, TN 37042
Tennessee’s second largest general interest museum, the Customs House Museum and Cultural Center was built in the final years of the 19th century and used as a post office. Designed to handle the large amount of foreign mail volume that was created by the international tobacco business, this architecturally unique structure is now one of most photographed buildings in the region.
With over 35,000 square feet of exhibit space the attraction is located in the heart of the downtown historic district. The Center features rotating and permanent exhibits, hands on activities and special events, in addition to an Explorer’s floor which feature McGregor’s Market; as area designed for the whole family to plays games and solve puzzles. There is also a bubble cave and a wonderful display of model trains.
200 S 2nd St, Clarksville, TN 37040