Gov. Prentice Cooper speaking at the
July 4, 1940
RG 82, Department of Conservation
Natchez Trace State Park covers 12,096 acres and is located near Wildersville, Tennessee, in Henderson, Carroll, and Benton Counties. The New Deal era park was built on land purchased from residents because it was too eroded for farming. Three New Deal agencies (Works Progress Administration (WPA), Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), and Resettlement Administration) assumed responsibility for the park’s initial planning and development. The Resettlement Administration relocated property owners, and the CCC and WPA began land replenishment and park construction. The CCC concentrated its efforts on reforestation work and instigated land stabilization programs that included the introduction of a Japanese vine, kudzu, to halt erosion. The Division of State Parks emphasized the historical features of Natchez Trace State Park based on the assumption that the Natchez Trace passed through the area; however, researchers later discovered that the original route, now part of the Natchez Trace Parkway, was several miles east of the actual park.
Natchez Trace Parkway, a unit of the National Park Service since May 19, 1938, commemorates the historical significance of the old Natchez Trace, which served as frontier road through the wilderness linking Nashville to Natchez, Mississippi. The original route followed some 445 miles through Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi. In Tennessee the parkway covers 100 miles through Davidson, Williamson, Hickman, Maury, Lewis, and Wayne counties and offers a unique look at Tennessee history from the early nineteenth through the twentieth centuries.
Section researched and written by Kimberly Wires, Archival Assistant.