Three to four hour private tours for small groups of 1-6 persons are offered by longtime Nashville native and history buff Jim Hardaway covering Battle of Nashville sites and much more. Essentially the tour is a sampling, an appetizer touching on eight to ten historic sites that will (hopefully) leave the traveler wanting more!
Here are a few of the sites you will visit in a tour entitled:
“THE CIVIL WAR AND MORE”
The first tour stop is our wonderful OLD CITY CEMETERY, founded in 1822. You’ll hear stories of the original native inhabitants, the white settlers who arrived in 1780 and much more.
Much of the tour will be visits to key sites relating to the decisive Battle of Nashville, December 15-16, 1864: Fort Negley, Belmont Mansion, the “Peace” monument, Confederate Redoubt. No. 1, and Shy’s Hill, where the decisive encounter of the battle occurred. Mr. Hardaway has studied this battle for many years and has walked the battlefield more times than he can count. He will also display relics of the battle he and others pulled from the ground.
Jim Hardaway has a chat with the president at Fort Negley in Dec 2014 during the 150th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of Nashville, Hey, just showing this distinguished visitor around town. Heck of a nice guy! We might not see him on our tour however.
After Fort Negley you’ll visit the grounds of the magnificent Belmont Mansion, located in the heart of Belmont University, the former centerpiece of a 177 acre ante-bellum estate. You’ll hear stories of the amazing Adelicia Acklen, once the wealthiest woman in the South, often called the “real Scarlett O’Hara.” For many years the estate functioned as the unofficial park for the city of Nashville. Just before and during the battle of Nashville in December 1864 the Union army used this house as the headquarters of General Thomas Wood and as an observation post.
After the CW portion we will visit “Dutchman’s Curve” in West Nashville, site of the worst train wreck in US history occurring on July 9, 1918 while the US was involved in the “Great War” in France. You will see stunning photos of the disaster and learn how this disaster connected to the war effort. Mr. Hardaway will also speak from his own experience of other disasters that affected this same area: the tornado of 1998 and the Great Flood of 2010.
Along the way we’ll travel through some of Nashville’s finest and most picturesque residential areas including Belle Meade and the Belle Meade mansion. If you love a good neighborhood home tour, you’ll love this!
Next will be the Parthenon at Centennial Park- centerpiece of the 1897 Centennial Exposition, a “world’s fair” type of event celebrating one hundred years of Tennessee statehood. Today our best loved city park marks the site. Of the many buildings and structures featured in the Exposition, only the Parthenon survives,a full scale replica of the original in Athens, Greece. Mr. Hardaway will tell the story of the constructionof the original structure and show photos of the 1897 event.
As a graduate of this fine school himself, Mr. Hardaway will also talk about the founding of Vanderbilt University. We’ll drive by Kirkland Hall, the original administration building, constructed in 1877 and view a statue of the “commodore.”
If time permits the final stop of the tour will be the old Marathon Motor Car factory building that functioned from 1910-1914, now a major event/destination center featuring a car museum , an art museum, a distillery, a live music venue,and various gift shops including the “American Pickers” Antique Archeology store.
RATES: basic rate is $150 per tour. The tour guide and driver will pick up tourists, take them on the tour in his van (a Chrysler Town and Country) and return them to the place of their choice. IF the pick up and return spot is outside the downtown area, such as Opryland and the general airport area, the rate is $175. This is not a rate per person but that of the tour itself-1 to 6 persons.
For scheduling call Jim Hardaway @: 615-406-8939, tours are offered in morning or afternoon time slots- 8:30-12:30 or 1:30 to 5:30.
Here’s what one recent visitor to Nashville said of his Nov. 2014 tour of Fort Negley with Jim Hardaway:
“I spent a wonderful afternoon in Nashville with Jim and discussed everything from music to military manoeuvres and found him immensely entertaining and informative his knowledge at times encyclopaedic–all shared with humor and enthusiasm. I look forward to spending more time in his company next time I’m in ‘Music City.”
Bill Shaw, Belfast, N. Ireland
“Hardaway is a great storyteller and a serious student of history. Whether a first time visitor or a local, you will have a good time and learn something new with him. He loves Nashville and he loves people. His enthusiasm is infectious, Some local guides merely like to entertain. A few know enough to explain our history. Jim is that rare person who can do both.
Roger Conner, Nashville, TN
Do you enjoy history but your eyes glaze over when you hear a recitation of names, dates, and places? Would you rather hear stories that come alive and even surprise, entertain, and delight you? Jim Hardaway’s tours of Nashville do all this and more. I spent two hours with my husband in the back seat of a car with Jim and a sidekick in the front,, learning, laughing, and asking many questions, seeing Nashville with new eyes wanting to know more and more. Jim knows the back stories as well as the “party line.” When I heard he was offering these tours to others all I could say was SIGN UP!
Mary Louise McCullough, Nashville, TN
“Our day with Jim was one we will always remember. His knowledge and insight into the history and battle of Nashville made us feel like we were right there. By the end of the day we felt we had known him for years. In addition to all of that his Southern charm and “love of the subject” was infectious. We would recommend this tour to anyone.”
George and Susan Sugarman, Los Angeles, CA
Mission statement: “I love Nashville. I’ve lived here nearly all my life and I’ve never wanted to live anywhere else. I have a passion for history. What is or what will be has never been quite as interesting to me as what was. When I walk into an old house or building I listen for the voices of the former occupants. I want the walls to speak of ordinary people who lived through extraordinary times.When I walk across an old battlefield I strain to hear the guns and smell the powder. Nashville has a rich history, a story far more varied and colorful than the legacy of country music, as important as that is. In a three hour tour I can only do so much. But if I can enthusiastically introduce certain key parts of our story and present a sampling of our historical legacy in a manner that makes my guests fall in love with my hometown and leave wanting more, I’ve accomplished my goal and fulfilled my mission.” Jim Hardaway
You may also visit Mr. Hardaway’s online history magazine/blog. Nearly sixty articles featured here cover a wide range of historical subjects: