For anyone who is a little weary of today’s hectic pace and has a yearning for “the good old days,” a visit to Cannonsburgh Village in Murfreesboro, Tennessee is the perfect tonic. The village is a recreation of a rural southern village dating back to 1800-1925 and is made up mostly of authentic buildings and furnishings brought to the site from nearby locations where they might otherwise have been lost to history forever.
If your family is on the lookout for a great free attraction, Cannonsburgh Village is the place. Not only will your children enjoy the experience, they will learn a lot about a simpler time and place in a way they could never get from books.
The experience starts when you walk from the parking lot and cross over the iron bridge that spans Town Creek. It’s the first iron bridge ever erected in Rutherford County where it originally crossed Steward Creek. You’ll also go under a crude tollgate, a reminder that at one time all the roads in the area were turnpikes with tollgates placed along the way.
Once on the grounds you will be impressed by the layout of the buildings. It’s truly like stepping back in time. Your first stop as you begin to wander the grounds will likely be the grist mill. This is a scaled down version of a 19th century mill outfitted with 150-year old machinery salvaged from an abandoned mill in northern Alabama.
Next make your way to the one-room schoolhouse and then down to the early 1900s telephone building. It may shock children of the cell phone generation to know that in the early days of the telephone, all calls to a town came to one switchboard, which was located in the house of the town operator. The huge switchboard on display at Cannonsburgh Village came from the Rockvale Home Mutual Telephone Company in southern Rutherford County.
A little further on your stroll is the Leeman House, which dates back to the 1820s. As the years rolled by and the family needed more living space, a second story was added. Note the “dog trot” open breezeway between the living and kitchen areas. This is typical of Tennessee log cabins from that era.
Men will certainly enjoy the incredible display of farm implements at this Murfreesboro attraction. The collection has both horse-drawn and motorized tractors, including steam, gasoline, and diesel powered.
Other structures of note are an 1800s residence, the ash hopper, Williamson Chapel, a one room log cabin, the doctor’s office, a museum, the country store, Stones River Garage, and the blacksmith shop.
Cannonsburgh Village dates back to the nation’s bicentennial celebration. The city began the project in 1974 and won a $75,000 federal award to purchase buildings and move them to the site.
The park is located at 312 South Front Street in Murfreesboro, about a half hour drive down I-24 from Nashville, Tennessee.
And in case you are wondering, Cannonsburgh is the original name of Murfreesboro. It was named after Newton Cannon, the first Whig governor of Tennessee.