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  • Writer's pictureBrandi & Candace

#TBT The Swans of Centennial Park

Updated: Apr 8, 2021

In 1933, Charles McCabe, the chairman of the City Park Board, imported six black swan eggs and settled them under a mother swan in Centennial Park. McCabe loved birds and fowl, and had since he was a child. In this love, he'd added Egyptian geese and Canadian geese into Centennial; in 1933 there were over 1,000 birds in Centennial, including a small section of turkeys raised by the city for sale for Thanksgiving dinners.

On November 17th, 1934, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his wife came to Nashville, and were promptly taken on a ride through Centennial Park. The swans stayed in the water, leaded the Tennessean to tease the swans "don't give a great hang for Presidents" ... "as they themselves are not of local origin." The President and first lady were only n Nashville for about three and a half hours, but their 27 car procession was met by over 10,000 Nashvillians crowding Centennial Park to wave to the President.

Newspapers in the 1930s and 1940s laud the hatching of the Centennial Park black swans, as well as when black swans were lost, either due to being killed by wayward visitors, or being stolen. By 1950, the comings and goings of the black swans no longer made the news, but black swans still reside in Centennial Park today.

The Tennessean, published Sunday, July 30th, 1933, page M3

The Tennessean, published Tuesday, June 5th, 1934, page 14

The Nashville Banner, published Thursday, December 3rd, 1936, page 6

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