Public History to Public Policy: Using Historic Resources to Inform Park Interpretation and Community Preservation

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Andrews, Jenny
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Middle Tennessee State University
The creation of a new public park containing the intact cultural landscape of the
Moore farm prompted Metro Parks of Nashville and Davidson County to engage the Center for Historic Preservation to assess the historical significance of the property and offer recommendations for preservation and interpretation. The project engendered deep research and analysis into the history of the farm complex, the family who owned it, the park landscape as a whole, and the associated community of Cane Ridge. This thesis places the farm and park property within several contexts: the historical background and current situation of the park system in Davidson County; the historical, cultural, and geographical framework of Middle Tennessee as well as of the specific locality; and the current preservation climate in the region. Utilizing the assembled information, including documents, material culture, cultural landscape artifacts, and personal contacts, the Moore family is employed as a paradigm, illustrating a regional, rural-urban history across a two-century period. This chronicle will inform the park’s interpretation, enabling a narrative unique in the region for its chronological breadth and content depth, and guide local preservation efforts in the face of extreme development pressure.
Farming, Historic Preservation, Public Parks, Rural History, Tennessee