Major Eugene C Lewis

Q: Why did they build a replica of the Parthenon in Nashville and who's idea was it? - D.L. - Nashville, Tennessee A: The Parthenon in Nashville was originally built as the centerpiece of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition of 1897. The Exposition celebrated 100 years of Tennessee statehood. As far as who came up with the idea to build a replica of the Parthenon, the credit goes to E.C. Lewis. Lewis worked for the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railway. The NC&SL was the major financial contributor to the fair. Lewis suggested that the city of Nashville, the Athens of the South, build the ultimate classical form as their contribution to the Centennial, the Parthenon. The Centennial lasted only 6 months and they disassembled or sold off all of the buildings slowly…except the Parthenon. The Parthenon stood here as a plaster building for 23 years. The area became Centennial Park, a city park, and the city decided to rebuild the Parthenon out of permanent materials in the 1920s. At this time the city decided to make the interior of the building a replica of the ancient building. This new permanent structure is cast aggregate concrete and re-opened as a museum in 1931.

Centennial Park