Clarksville, Tennessee: Ancient Lands Changed to an American Icon City

Clarksville Tennessee is one of those cities that have an incredible history in our country. The historic downtown area is a vision of small town Americana, but set within a bustling city. There isn’t a single phase of U.S. history that didn’t involve Clarksville in one form or another and the residents have taken great pride in preserving much of the story for generations to come. The sports scoreboards of history show a literal who’s who of famous sports figures that have all come from Clarksville. In this town, baseball reigns supreme.

The lands that are now part of Clarksville have been archeologically dated to habitation by Native Americans to over 11,000 years ago. While there are many tribes that have lived in the area, the most recent and notable are the Muscogee and later the Cherokee, Chicasaw and Choctaw. When the Spanish explorers arrived they brought with them European diseases that the local tribes could not combat and many of the native people died and relocated to escape the disaster. The influx of European settlers to the area created the need to displace the Cherokee people and a plan was designed to forcibly relocate 17,000 people of the Cherokee nation to another state, with lesser land quality. This was known as the Trail of Tears. Cherokee women. men and children walked from Georgia to Oklahoma, and over 4,000 of the tribe died along the way.

The town was eventually named for an American Revolutionary War hero, brother to famed Lewis and Clark explorers. The close proximity to the river led to the building of industries and the beginnings of an infrastructure to support the river transport. Soldiers that participated in the Revolutionary War were repaid with land in the Clarksville area and with the growing population; the town soon began to have the appearance of a city. The forts that were built by the U.S. Government were held by the Union side during the Civil War, even though the people of Clarksville favored the Confederate side.

Post war era brought more prosperity to Clarksville as tobacco plantations became a main source of income. The growth of the city also established new businesses to support the town and additional steamboat transportation on the river. The addition of the railroad made Clarksville a center for supplies transportation throughout the state. Unfortunately, a huge fire decimated most of the businesses in 1878.

The fire gave Clarksville a clean slate to begin building and the reconstruction and revitalization of architecture began. The historic buildings, homes and businesses were rebuilt with a fervor that is felt by those that love their city. Sports became a focus and Clarksville citizens attended their favorite team games, viewing results on scoreboards. World War I soldiers had many volunteers from Clarksville in defense of their country and the U.S. Government continued to enhance the previous smaller forts to complete military installations. As with many towns during that era, baseball became the main focus to help the townspeople have a momentary enjoyment to remember how things were before the war.

The Clarksville of today displays a town that thrives with the pride of their historic past. It is been proclaimed in song by both The Monkees (Last Train to Clarksville) and more recent musicians with music and video. The beauty of the historic town has been displayed as a backdrop in a variety of movies. Today there are restaurants, cafes, theatres, sports scoreboards, top players and a trip to Clarksville is for those that want a small touch of that down home feeling. The baseball games in Clarksville are recommended attendance, but fans will also argue that the tennis games rival any in the country!


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