top of page
  • Writer's pictureBrandi & Candace

Shelby Park

Shelby Park is a behemoth of a park in East Nashville. It has 361 acres of land, and includes a community center, playgrounds, a dog park, multiple baseball fields, two gold courses, boat launch for Cumberland River, fishing options for Sevier Lake, tennis courts, a basketball court, a disc gold course, and paved and unpaved trails for walking and bike riding. It shares a border with Shelby Bottoms Park, which has over 900 acres, but we'll get to that in a separate post.

So the land known as Shelby Park was originally a farm owned by James Shaw. James Shaw sold the land to David Shelby in 1788. David gifted the land as a Christmas gift to his son, Dr. John Shelby, in 1818. Dr. John Shelby himself lived quite a life, being the first Caucasian baby born in neighboring Sumner County, Tennessee (and supposedly middle Tennessee, but that is rumor and unproven). He became a successful doctor, graduating University of Pennsylvania. He served as a surgeon under General Andrew Jackson in the War of 1812. He later founded Shelby Medical College (which would later evolve into modern-day Vanderbilt University). Dr. John Shelby was also a part of the state legislature, and served as a postmaster for Davidson County for five years. He spent time on several committees for several industries, and was strongly involved in horse-breeding and farming in the city. Many things in East Nashville named "Shelby" are name after him. He died in May of 1859.

The land was referred to as "Shelby Park" by the 1880s. May 12th, 1895, an amusement park was opened on the ground by the Fidelity Trust Company of Louisville. There are multiple descriptions of concerts, plays, picnics and balloon drops at the amusement park, but it went out of business by 1908. The city of Nashville was pressured by many citizens groups, and newspaper editorials, to purchase the 150 acres of land for a park, which they did, for $40,000 in 1909. Adjacent tracts of land were purchased in the subsequent years, cumulating to the 361 acres we know now. One set of renovations was completed in 2012, and a second set of renovations was completed in 2014.

With our visit, we started at the dog park (which will be a future post of its own), went along the trail to the edge of Sevier Lake, took a left and walked around the two baseball fields, then looped around the little league fields to the entrance of Shelby Bottoms Park, before we came back. This expenditure took us about an hour and a half, and was a 5 mile walk, with 11,000 steps on my Fitbit. All and all, we really enjoyed this park, as it seems to have something for everyone.

Name: Shelby Park

Address: 1900 Davidson St, 37206

History: 5 out of 5

Walkability: 5 out of 5

Kid Like-ability- 5 out of 5

Date Night-ability- 5 out of 5

Charm: 5 out of 5

90 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page