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Located just over one mile south of Nashville’s downtown, this park occupies the site of Fort Negley, Nashville’s only intact Civil War era fort. Most of the park's 55 acres once belonged to Judge John Overton, one of Tennessee’s most prominent early citizens, who acquired the land between 1805 and 1828. Overton’s tract, which featured a rocky prominence known locally as Saint Cloud Hill, remained undeveloped until the Civil War when the Union Army occupied Nashville in 1862 and seized the land to fortify the city. Constructed of white limestone on the crest of Saint Cloud Hill, Fort Negley was the crown jewel of the federal fortifications and entrenchments that ringed the city. In the early twentieth century, Civil War commemorative efforts inspired three unsuccessful attempts to establish a National Battlefield Park at the site of Fort Negley in remembrance of the 1864 Battle of Nashville. In 1928, Nashville’s Parks Board purchased Judge Overton’s Saint Cloud Hill tract from his heirs with the intent of restoring the fort and making it a public park. In 1935, the Board applied for Works Progress Administration (WPA) funding to develop the land into a municipal park.
By 1941, nearly 50 acres had been transformed into a multi-use public recreation facility that included the restored fort and stockade, a sports complex with four softball fields, a hard ball field that was also used as a boxing ring, stone bleachers and a comfort station, open greenspace, and hundreds of feet of limestone walls. By the beginning of World War II, the restored fort’s wooden stockade had deteriorated and the fort was closed to the public. However, softball games continued to be held at the WPA-built diamonds. In the late 1970s, the Nashville Sounds baseball team leased the ball field section of Fort Negley Park and built Greer Stadium and parking lots on the site. In 2004, Fort Negley was reopened to the public on the 140th anniversary of the Battle of Nashville. Fort Negley was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.