From Nashville Public Library
Located just one mile south of downtown Nashville, the fairgrounds opened in 1891 as Cumberland Park. The park was built as a harness racing track with a grandstand that seated 7,000 people. In 1904 the harness racing track hosted its first automobile race. Then in 1906 the first Tennessee State Fair was held. Over the years the fairgrounds has been host to nighttime airplane rides, a swimming pool, an amusement park, and stock car races, among other things. In 1965 a fire at the fairgrounds destroyed several buildings (including the Women’s Building pictured here), the grandstands and numerous restaurants.
The Cumberland Fair and Racing Association sponsored harness racing here 1891-1894. The great match race between Hal Pointer of Tennessee and Direct of California occurred Oct. 21, 1891. Direct won all three heats in record time for a pacing race. Arion, Directum, Kremlin, Robt. J. raced here. Running races 1893-1906 preceded the State Fair 1906.
AD from Aug 1960
for a larger image click here (217k)
photo courtesy -Medora Horton
Closed in 1975 after 52 years. The tales of razor blades on the slide were a local urban legend.
Operated by Wilma dn Edwin Jones, the pool measured 200 by 800 feet and had two water slides, a 60-foot-tall diving boards, fountains, two one-ton boat anchors and a restaurant.
TENNESSEE FAIRGROUNDS FIRE INJURES AT LEAST 18.
Nashville, Tenn. (AP) — Wind-fed flames swept through the Tennessee State Fairgrounds Monday night destroying three main exhibit-filled buildings and sending thousands of opening night spectators fleeing in fright.
An early morning count showed 18 persons received hospital treatment, 10 of them firemen who suffered smoke inhalation. None were believed critically injured or burned.
A preliminary probe of ruins revealed no bodies. Mayor BEVERLY BRILEY said there were no known missing persons.
BRILEY, who was visiting the area of the women’s building where the fire broke out, gave a preliminary damage estimate of $8-10 million then early today raised it to $10-$12 million.
Destroyed with the women’s building were the adjacent merchant’s building and administration building. All were three-story barn-like wooden structures about 50 years old.
The women’s and merchants buildings were filled with art, antiques, handicrafts, photography and merchandise exhibits.
Also destroyed was the grandstand alongside the three buildings. It was emptied when the evening show ended shortly before the fire broke out.
BRILEY immediately closed the fair which was beginning a one-week stand.
Electrical wiring was believed the cause of the blaze.
Oshkosh Daily Northwestern Wisconsin 1965-09-21