LCTHF

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Construction of an educational center at

the Lewis Site (Grinder’s Stand)

on the Natchez Trace Parkway


In the life of every organization, company or family there are highs and lows.  One of those highs in the history of the Lewis & Clark Trail Heritage Foundation was the memorial service for Meriwether Lewis on 7 October 2009.  During that sun drenched day the 1,500 or more people, including members of the Lewis & Clark Trail Heritage Foundation (LCTHF), experienced the kind hospitality of the local community and the staff of the Natchez Trace Parkway (NTP) at a hallowed site.


Each of us left the Lewis Site (Grinder’s Stand) that evening dreaming of improvements and a future center that would interpret the life of Meriwether Lewis and his contributions to our Nation.  To that end the LCTHF Board adopted a resolution of support for an Educational Center at the Lewis Site in November 2009.  As a furtherance of that resolution, we addressed the need for such a center during the February 2010 Hike to the Hill advocacy with Congress in Washington, DC.  Even with the shortage of funds, there was an understanding in the House and Senate that the dreamed of center would be a positive situation for the region and the Natchez Trace Parkway. 


While that center is still in the dream phase for the Lewis Site, due to reduced Federal appropriations, significant improvements have already been made at the Lewis Site.  The various pictures shown below were taken in April 2011.  Thanks to National Parks Service (NPS) Superintendent Cameron Sholly and his dedicated staff, you can see the many improvements that were approved before financial constraints were implemented:




New Entrance Sign




New interpretive trail leading visitors from the parking lot to the Old Trace where you can walk in the footsteps of Meriwether Lewis




Trail has locally quarried stone bridges




One mile of split rail fencing delineating

important sections of the site






Re-habitation of the 1930’s era information cabin—half of the cabin will be used for new exhibits about Lewis while the other half will be used as a Visitor Contact Station for book sales and other material








500 new trees were planted to replace those that had fallen during the past 70 years




Three new rest rooms near the site entrance,

campground, and picnic area




New paved Visitor Parking Lot with RV accommodations




Old Trace marked by new split rail fence




Brown pea gravel on paved walkways




Note there are no overhead power lines and only an

occasional above ground box for utility service




New directional sign




Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Monument

The inscription reads ...


THE NATCHEZ TRACE—EARLY AMERICAN TRAIL

THE NATCHEZ TRACE, A VERY OLD TRAIL, WAS TRAVELED BY MANY

EARLY AMERICANS.  CAPTAIN MERIWETHER LEWIS, LEADER OF THE

LEWIS AND CLARK EXPEDITION AND GOVERNOR OF THE UPPER

LOUISIANA TERRITORY DIED NEAR THIS POINT IN 1809 WHILE

TRAVELING THE NATCHEZ TRACE TO WASHINGTON DC WITH HIS

EXPEDITION JOURNALS AND ACCOUNTS.  IN 1843 THE STATE OF

TENNESSEE CREATED LEWIS COUNTY IN HIS HONOR, AND IN

1848 ERECTED A MONUMENT OVER HIS GRAVE.

THE NATCHEZ TRACE PLAYED AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN ITS SERVICE

TO THE AMERICAN MILITARY.  GENERAL ANDREW JACKSON’S

TROOPS TRAVELED THE NATCHEZ TRACE TO ENGAGE THE BRITISH

DURING THE WAR OF 1812.


MARKER PLACED BY

THE TENNESSEE SOCIETY

OF

THE NATIONAL SOCIETY

DAUGHTERS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

NOVEMBER 10, 2006




Meriwether Lewis’s grave and monument continue to attract visitors from every place and all walks of life


Not pictured are new picnic tables & grills for the campground and picnic area plus new roofs and upgrades on older service buildings.  Features still in development include outdoor exhibits and a new solar grid to provide electricity for the entire area.  This site is truly being transformed into a signature site, a destination instead of a place to slow down as you travel along the beautiful Natchez Trace Parkway.


We still need a Visitor Contact Center with a very strong educational emphasis for the local community and the nation at large.  In the near future, there will be a joint effort between the National Park Service, the Natchez Trace Parkway Association, the Lewis & Clark Trail Heritage Foundation and others working together to find a major funding source along with financial assistance from the NTP and our Foundation. 




Concept for Educational Center at the Meriwether Lewis Site (Grinder’s Strand) on the Natchez Trace


(to download a PDF copy of the above click here)

 
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(updated 11/16/13)

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