We picked up the parkway just south of its northern terminus near Nashville, and enjoyed our drive through the countryside. The lack of traffic was especially appealing after the rush of Nashville. A number of sections of the original trace are visible along the way, and one can just imagine the Ohio River valley farmers who turned an early Native American trail into a clearly-marked path.
|Sites of Interest on the Natchez Trace Are Marked|
|Original Segments of the Natchez Trace Are Visible|
|The Gordon House|
The grave of Meriwether Lewis, one of the two co-captains of Lewis and Clark Expedition, is located along the trace. Lewis died here in 1809 of two gunshot wounds, and it has never been determined who inflicted the wounds. The State of Tennessee erected a monument in 1848 to commemorate Lewis’ life. The design is a broken column, representing a life cut short.
|Meriwether Lewis Monument|
My favorite contemporary element of the Natchez Trace Parkway is a dramatic, double-arched bridge that was completed in 1994. It’s a beautiful, soaring structure and one of only two post-tensioned, segmental concrete arch bridges in the world. The bridge received the Presidential Award for Design Excellence in 1995 and was the first thing we saw when we turned onto the parkway.
|Double Arch Bridge|