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Clarksville Clarksville

located in Montgomery County - in the Middle Tennessee Region

Clarksville is a vibrant community located in Middle Tennessee, on the northwest edge of the Highland Rim, which surrounds the Nashville Basin, and is 45 miles northwest of Nashville, just below the Kentucky border. Clarksville is at the confluence of the Cumberland and Red rivers. It is the county seat of Montgomery County. In 2006, Clarksville was named the fifth-largest city and the third fastest growing county in Tennessee. Clarksville has the nicknames of "The Queen City" and "Gateway to the New South".

Clarksville was founded on the Cumberland River near the confluence of the Cumberland and the Red River. The Cumberland flows downstream from Nashville, some 40 miles southeast of Clarksville. From its beginnings, the river was the city's commercial lifeline. Flat boats and, by the 1820s, steamboats carried cotton, oats, soybeans and tobacco, downstream to the Ohio River and up the Ohio to Pittsburgh. More frequently, cargo went down the Ohio to the Mississippi River and New Orleans. Both dark-fired and burly tobacco are grown in the area, and European tobacco buyers helped make Clarksville the largest market in the world for dark-fired tobacco used in smokeless products. It was considered to have the highest nicotine content of all tobaccos in the 19th century.

To the northwest of Clarksville, lies the Fort Campbell Military Reservation, home of the 101st Airborne (Air Assault). Much of Clarksville's economy can be attributed to Fort Campbell's presence. Most of Fort Campbell is in Tennessee, mostly in Montgomery and Stewart counties, however it is classified as being in Kentucky because its post office is in Kentucky.

Established in 1784 by the North Carolina legislature as the seat of Tennessee County and named for Revolutionary War hero George Rogers Clark, the town was part of a reservation set aside by North Carolina to compensate its Revolutionary War soldiers. In 1796 when Tennessee became the 16th state, Tennessee County, of which Clarksville was a part, was divided into Montgomery and Robertson Counties. Clarksville was incorporated as a town with elected officials in the year 1819. 

Custom House MuseumThe Customs House Museum and Cultural Center, located in the heart of historic downtown Clarksville, Tennessee, is the State's second largest general museum.  With over 35,000 square feet of the region's best hands-on activities & special events people of all ages can explore an entire city block featuring large gallery spaces filled with fine art, science and history. The Explorer's Floor is packed with fun, learning and fantasy and get "all aboard" to see their fantastic model trains where volunteer engineers "ride the rails" every Sunday afternoon.

Historic sites and museums: Clarksville-Montgomery County Museum, Fort Defiance, L & N Train Station, Port Royal State Historic Park, Sevier Station. The L & N Train Station is a restored railroad station in Clarksville, Tennessee. It is restored to circa 1901, and includes a locomotive and museum.

Clarksville is notably known for its Dunbar Cave State Park. The Swan Lake Golf Course, a public facility, is adjacent to this beautiful park. Recently discovered cave paintings date back to 1200 AD and are believed to have been rendered by American Indians of the Mississippian Period. Evidence indicates the use of Dunbar Cave by early man some 3000 years ago.


The first county courthouse was built from logs in 1796 by James Adams. It sat close to the riverbank on the corner of what is now present-day Riverside Drive and Washington Street. It was later replaced by a second courthouse built in 1805, and a third in 1806, with the land provided by Henry Small. The fourth courthouse was built in 1811, and the first to be built of brick. It was constructed on the east half of Public Square, with the land donated by Martin Armstrong. In 1843, yet another courthouse was built, this time on Franklin Street. It would remain standing until the Great Fire of 1878.

The sixth and current courthouse was built between Second and Third Streets, with the cornerstone laid on May 16, 1879. This particular building was designed by George W. Bunting of Indianapolis, Indiana. Five years later, the downtown area was hit by a tornado, which damaged the roof of the courthouse. The building was rebuilt. On March 12, 1900, the building was again ravaged by fire, with the upper floors gutted and the clock tower destroyed. Many citizens wanted the courthouse torn down and replaced with a safer one, but the judge refused and repaired the damage.

Clarksville CourthouseThe courthouse was destroyed once again by the January 22, 1999 tornado. The building of another new courthouse was on the minds of locals, but in the end the courthouse was fully restored as a county office building. On the fourth anniversary of the disaster the courthouse was rededicated. In addition to the restoration of the original courthouse and plazas, a new courts center was built on its north side.

The architectural firm of Lyle-Cook-Martin in Clarksville was called upon to coordinate the restoration efforts, along with the construction firm of R. C. Matthews from Nashville. The historic courthouse restoration project has received five local, state and national awards from the Associated Builders and Contractors and the American Institute of Architects. The original exterior features have been reproduced with modern materials to create an inspiring historic restoration. Campbellsville Industries fabricated the ornate clock tower, clock system, paneled railing, cornice and corner pinnacles. No other building in Middle Tennessee has been as painstakingly restored and transformed. This courthouse building with all of its new systems and sophisticated electronics will serve as a focal point for this community for the next 100 years while retaining the tradition and style of its unique heritage. The artist, Dan Hanley, served on the Mayor's Recovery Task Force, chairing the Design Review Board and the Design Standards Development Committee.

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