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  • Writer's pictureMary Ann

Nashville Zoo Shares History of Historic Home Through Digital Archives

Zoo to Hold Program Sharing Its Unique History

Nashville Zoo and the Tennessee State Library and Archives will co-host a free program highlighting the history of the property and historic home through a new digital collection on Thursday, April 5 at 7 p.m.

The program, which will take place in the Zoo's Croft Center, will tell the story of how two sisters’ love of animals led to the Zoo's relocation. The collection includes photographs, letters, oral history audio excerpts, maps, memorabilia and land records.

The home, built in 1810, is one of the oldest residences in Davidson County open to the public. The property served as a family farm for 175 years. Sisters Margaret and Elise Croft willed the Grassmere property to be used as a nature preserve upon their deaths, and Nashville Zoo began management of the site in 1997 to honor that request.

“This program will highlight a true treasure of our state," said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. "Through this collection, we honor the legacy of two sisters who generously gifted their land, house and its contents for future generations to enjoy."

Tori Mason, Historic Site Manager of Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, will share some of the more than 250 items included in the new Tennessee Virtual Archive (TeVA) collection curated by the Library and Archives staff.

“One of the most frequently asked questions we receive from visitors is, ‘Where can I get more information about this family and the property?’ Up to this point, we have not been able to guide visitors to a site to access more information other than the Zoo's website and our social media pages,” Mason said. “Thanks to the Library and Archives staff, we now have the ability to direct those questions to the TeVA site and all of these wonderful documents, photos and oral histories."

Megan Spainhour and Jami Awalt from the Library and Archives will also present on instructing how to browse the collection through TeVA, which is available here.


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