Historic Stone Walls of Warner Parks

mossy stone wall

Warner Walls

If you’ve hiked or driven around Warner Parks at all, you have noticed the stone walls. Some are covered with moss, others are etched with dates, and even some are stacked. Each of these structures tells a story, and we’d like to share some of those with you:

WPA Times

WPA (Works Progress Administration) walls constructed in the 1930s and 40s line the roads in both Percy and Edwin Warner Parks. The massive stone gates at the Belle Meade, Deep Well, and Chickering Road entrances to the Parks also date back to the WPA period. Some of the rock was even quarried from Edwin Warner Park!

Nature Note: On the north facing slopes of the Parks, these walls are typically covered in a carpet of moss. Look for skinks and salamanders hiding in the rocks, as well as funnel web spiders catching prey in late summer. On south facing slopes, we have observed black racers (snakes) sunning between the rocks!

In 2010, many of these structures were damaged by the Nashville flood. Then Superintendent Bob Parrish (our beloved Historian and Director of Resource Management) worked with FEMA and the Metro Historical Commission to restore those walls.

Pre-Parks Preservation 

You may have noticed the stacked-stone wall that follows Old Hickory Boulevard near the Steeplechase. It pre-dates the Parks and was probably built during antebellum times by African-American enslaved people. Other walls in the Parks feature this building style; the most notable stacked-stone wall can be observed at the Northern-Hodge-Walden-Crawford cemetery behind Harpeth Hills Golf Course. Family lore holds that one man built the entire stone fence, lifting rocks over 500 pounds!

Partially restored stone wall in Percy Warner Park.

In a partnership over 30 years in the making, Metro Parks and Friends of Warner Parks continue to preserve and protect these historic structures. To learn more about historic structures in Warner Parks, contact the Nature Center. To help us continue to #ProtectWarnerParks, learn more about becoming a member, making a donation, or volunteering today.

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