Few would question that one of the most impressive structures in Nashville is the Parthenon.
Built in 1897, a Centennial Exposition commemorated Tennessee's 100th birthday and unveiled the massive structure.
For 30 years, Wesley Paine has worked at the building.
"At a time when Nashville's population was 100,000, the (Centennial Exposition drew) almost two million visitors in six months, so yes it was big," said Paine. "It was fantastic."
Centennial Park, as it's now known, featured a dozen new beautiful buildings designed to dazzle the world.
"All of the buildings were outlined in electric lights and this was a time when most people didn't have electricity in houses, so to come here and see it was like a fairyland," said Paine.
This fairyland had amusement park rides which included a gigantic seesaw that rocked you back and forth and other interesting rides that caused people to lose their teeth.
"The cog rail would take you up to the top, transfer you to the boat, then let go and swoosh down into the water," said Paine. "When they drained the pond at the end of the expo, they found several sets of false teeth. Clearly people had a (thrilling) time."
All of those expo buildings are long gone, taken down by a wrecking ball - a fate once destined as well for the Parthenon.
"But when that time came, people were in love with the place, (and said), 'You can't tear down the symbol of the city,'" said Paine.
The original Nashville Parthenon wasn't built to be permanent and stood in the present spot for 20 years before city leaders decided to rebuild it in concrete.
They finished it in 1930 and that's what we all see today inside Centennial Park.
Copyright 2012 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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