Cold Spring Farm: A Place Over Time

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Bandel, Jessica
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Middle Tennessee State University
The history of Cold Spring Farm in Sumner County, Tennessee, is a case study of how public historians must decode the layers of history within a place to understand its significance. The farm's 600 acres has three significant layers of history all anchored by two natural features: Cold and Pied Springs. Human activity at the springs is traced through the material record to the Paleo-Indian Period, roughly 13,000 years ago. Native American habitation and hunting in the area around the springs continued nearly uninterrupted until the end of the prehistoric age (1,700 AD). The farm's second period of significance is the Civil War. Six thousand Confederate soldiers used the springs from June to October 1861 when Confederate command transformed the farm into a camp of instruction. Finally, Cold Spring Farm's landscape reflects 150 years of agricultural history in Middle Tennessee, and many of the buildings and structures related to this aspect of the farm's history remain to document this layer of history.