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  • Writer's pictureBrandi & Candace

Bellevue Park

Updated: Sep 22, 2020

Today, we visited Bellevue Park, and it’s Red Caboose Park!

A little bit of history- this was the site of Bellevue High School, from 1930, to 1981. In 1980, a lot happened in Bellevue. The neighborhood tried to incorporate itself and remove itself from Metropolitan Nashville (like Belle Meade or Berry Hill). That effort failed. Meanwhile, there was a nationwide discussion about integration in schools. While Metro Nashville had been formally desegregated in 1960, as of 1980, most schools were informally segregated. Bellevue High, in particular, was 98% white. Most Nashville High schools were predominately one race, and there was a dialogue about integrating, and "bussing" by moving kids from one neighborhood to another to force the integration. Many fought to keep Bellevue High open, because it was a great school with great test scores. But one city council member asked: "Why is it okay to inconvenience poor black students by moving them across town to an inconvenient high school? If anyone should be inconvenienced, shouldn't it be the privileged students?" (I paraphrase) And so, Bellevue High, alone with several local high schools, was closed and its students were moved other schools to boost diversity. The school sat for a year or two, and many in the neighborhood wanted a community center. Eventually, Metro Schools demolished the high school, and turned the land to Metro Parks, who turned it into Bellevue Park.

The Red Caboose was donated to the park in 1985. The playground received a total redesign in 2019, paid for by Metro Parks for $650K. When they were rebuilding it, they sold personalized bricks for $50, so there's a sweet little pathway where you can see the names of some of the doners. There's an adorable little stage; the neighborhood has concerts and farmers markets and neighborhood meetings.

There is also a beautiful log cabin on the property, over 200 years old. It was owned by Abraham Louis DeMoss, the father of Bellevue, who gave it its namesake- . It’s padlocked, but open for tours Friday evenings.

There’s about half a mile of paved pathway, and a cute playground. It’s on the busy highway, so the noise pollution isn’t ideal. It has a small paved path to walk around, at about half a mile. This park has history to the neighborhood; it’s easy to see why Bellevue works to make this the center of its neighborhood.

Name: Bellevue Park

Address: 656 Colice Jeanne Road, 37221

History: 4 out of 5

Walkability: 3 out of 5

Kid Like-ability- 5 out of 5

Date Night-ability- 2 out of 5

Charm: 5 out of 5

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