Dowdle Construction Group enjoyed assisting with the historic renovation of Nashville’s Fort Negley. We worked alongside Moody Nolan Architects and the Metropolitan Nashville Parks Department to update the stone fortress’s entrance, landscaping, signage and accessibility features.
Originally built in 1862 by the Union troops after they captured Nashville in the Civil War, the fort is named after Union commander general James S. Negley. It was famously used during the Battle of Nashville.
Up until the completion of this project, the fort had been closed to the public for almost 60 years. A major restoration had been planned in 1930, but once the U.S. entered World War II, the project was quickly abandoned. By 1945, the fort was left in disrepair to the point that it needed to be closed. However, on Dec. 10, 2004, Fort Negley was reopened to the public following an investment of almost $1 million by the City of Nashville.
To create a safe and inviting place for visitors, we constructed elevated wooden walking paths and platforms – about 300 feet total – as well as interpretive signage and a new entrance gate. The fort’s landscaping was also refreshed, including the planting of native grasses. Since Fort Negley is a protected archaeological site, Dowdle Construction hired an archeological team to monitor all work.
This project did come with an interesting challenge. Due to the sensitive nature of the site, no footings could be dug for the elevated boardwalks and no motorized equipment could be used inside the fort. That meant that all materials had to be hand carried. Several large dump truckloads of gravel were deposited at the entrance to the fort and moved inside using wheelbarrows.
The extra work was well worth it to give new life to such a beautiful, historic site like this one. We hope that visitors from near and far can enjoy its ample green space and rich history.