The Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, located in Nashville, honors two hundred years of statehood with an innovative urban park of nineteen acres. Designed by Tuck Hinton Architects, with Ross/Fowler Landscape Architects, the park opened in 1996 and was the site of the state's grand bicentennial celebration on Statehood Day, June 1, 1996.
The park stands near the location of the old “French Lick,” an early settlement area and trading post in Middle Tennessee and creates a new vista for the State Capitol, saving that distinguished landmark from the shadows of the city's modern skyscrapers. “A major point of the park,” observes architect Kem Hinton, “is to preserve a view of the State Capitol.” Landscape architect Mike Fowler adds: “the Bicentennial Mall is in many ways a huge outdoor museum,” where “people will take a sense of Tennessee away with them.” (1) Accordingly, the park features a varied portrait of Tennessee history conveyed by a granite map of Tennessee at its entrance; fountains representing the state's thirty-one primary rivers; a Court of Three Stars in honor of the state's three grand divisions; a Wall of Tennessee History, which marks major events in the state's history and crumbles at a point representing the Civil War; and a Walk of the Counties, where time capsules from all ninety-five counties have been buried. An outdoor amphitheater capable of holding two thousand people, as well as landscaped gardens, walks, and an inspiring monument honoring Tennesseans in World War II, complete this modern landmark.
Adjacent to the Mall is the new Farmers Market (1994-96), designed by Tuck Hinton Architects. The new forty-thousand-square-foot building replaced one that had served local florists and farmers for many years. Recalling a large shed barn and silos, executed in concrete, and decorated by brightly painted cornstalks, the Farmers Market reflects the historic relationship between rural life and the urban beat of Nashville.
Kem G. Hinton, A Long Path: The Search for a Tennessee Bicentennial Landmark (1997)