Parker's Crossroads, a small community located along Interstate 40 halfway between Nashville and Memphis, is becoming an increasingly popular destination for Civil War history buffs.
For the second time this year, the Parker’s Crossroads visitors’ center is hosting a traveling Civil War exhibit on loan from the Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA). The exhibit focuses on 1861, the year the Civil War began. To commemorate the Civil War’s 150th anniversary, TSLA plans to prepare exhibits chronicling each year of the war.
The 1861 exhibit, which is free to the public, highlights the impact of slavery on the country, the fallout from the divisive election of 1860, the start of the Southern secession movement and Tennessee’s gradual shift toward becoming a Confederate state. That year’s major military actions are also highlighted, including the shelling of Fort Sumter, the Battle of Bull Run and the implementation of the Union blockade.
Steve McDaniel, deputy speaker for the state House of Representatives and a history enthusiast, had the idea to bring the exhibits to Parker’s Crossroads, which was the site of a Civil War battle between Confederate force led by Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest and Union troops led by Gen. Jeremiah C. Sullivan Dec. 31, 1862.
“Having this exhibit in Henderson County is a great way to educate West Tennesseans and interstate travelers about this significant part of our history,” said Rep. McDaniel, whose legislative district includes the area. “Since not everyone had the means or opportunity to see the exhibit when it was on display at the TSLA building in Nashville, this makes the exhibit accessible to more people.”
TSLA is a division of the Office of the Secretary of State.
“Deputy Speaker McDaniel had a great idea to bring TSLA’s exhibits to Parker’s Crossroads,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “It is our department’s goal to make sure as many people as possible get to see these exhibits. I encourage other legislators to contact us if they know of suitable locations for displaying our traveling exhibits.”
The Parker’s Crossroads visitors’ center previously hosted TSLA’s “Looking Back at the Civil War” exhibit, which features digitally-scanned documents and digital photos of Civil War artifacts provided by Tennesseans.
The visitors’ center is located at 20945 Highway 22 North in Parker’s Crossroads, at exit 108 on I-40. The center is open from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., seven days a week. The exhibit will remain there until April. For more information about the visitors’ center, contact Kim Parker at (731) 968-1191.