Agriculture, Industry, and Transportation
Nashville and its surroundings prospered in agriculture and industry due to its prime location near navigable rivers and abundant natural resources. Corn, wheat and cotton grew well in the flat river bottoms of middle Tennessee and livestock roamed its hilly pastures. Hardwood forests and stone quarries yielded ample building materials for permanent structures.
Panel 1 (based on the painting Southern Cornfield, Nashville, 1861, by artist Thomas Waterman Wood) depicts pre-Civil War plantation life in Middle Tennessee, which relied heavily on slave labor, although a number of free blacks owned homes and businesses in and around Nashville.
Panel 2 shows a horse-drawn carriage arriving at Nashville's Public Square, with the 1832 domed courthouse at center right. The tableau in
Panel 3 is even sadder than Panel 1: it portrays Cherokee Indians expelled from the land during the 1837 and 1838 forced migrations from Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee to Oklahoma. Their "Trail of Tears" passed very near Nashville.
In Panel 4, we see Tennessee's new State Capitol Building (completed in 1859) at left and just down the hill to the right, a teaming riverfront scene of steamboats lined up for unloading along the Cumberland river.
Panel 5 includes a carriage passing over a carefully laid Tennessee limestone bridge. By the end of the 1830s, Nashville had well-constructed turnpikes leading in and out of the city.
Alcove 6: Antebellum Tennessee