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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Post Card Tuesday: Toll Gate on Old Nashville Pike

These days, if you're driving from Nashville to Murfreesboro, you probably take Interstate 24. Before the Interstate, people would take Murfreesboro Rd. through Antioch, Lavergne, in Smyrna it becomes Lowry St. and then in Murfreesboro, it becomes Broad St. For a while, this stretch of highway 41/70S was also known as the "New Nashville Highway." Long before that was what we now know as the Old Nashville Highway, but well over a century ago, it was a turnpike.

If you've never driven this road before, it splits from the newer highway in Lavergne and passes some out of the way businesses. In Smyrna, it becomes a well traveled road, but south of there it becomes quite a scenic route. There's a lot of farmland through the area, a couple of old mansions, a new Laotian Buddhist temple, a rock quarry, the entrance to the Stones River battlefield and eventually College St. in Murfreesboro.

The road dates back to the 1830's when toll roads were built to connect the biggest cities and this road started out as the Nashville, Murfreesboro and Shelbyville Turnpike. Toll gates could be built every five miles, but not within a mile of the city, by state law. This post card dates to 1909, so it's probably about a mile north of the old city limits. Archaeologists determined there was at one time a toll gate very close to the Hazen Monument at the Stones River Battlefield, and it was destroyed in the battle. This picture could have been taken very close to there.

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