I’ve been to Nashville a few times, but somehow I missed seeing the replica of the Parthenon while I was there.  Luckily I received some reader photos of the gigantic doors there, and I also found some photos on Flickr and obtained permission to share them here. 

Nashville’s replica of the Parthenon was originally built for Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition.  It was damaged by fire and re-built from 1921 to 1931.  It’s located in Centennial Park and houses the city’s art museum, as well as a re-creation of the 42-foot statue of Athena that was the centerpiece of the original Parthenon in ancient Greece.  Of course for me, the highlight of this landmark has to be the HUGE doors. 

A sign at the Nashville Parthenon reads: 

“These bronze doors weigh 7.5 tons each.  They are 7 feet wide, 24 feet high, and 1 foot thick.  They are considered to be the largest matching set of bronze doors in the world.  The doors are balanced on steel hinges with ball bearing collars at the top and bottom so they move easily.  In contrast, the doors of the ancient Parthenon were probably made of wood, covered with bronze plate, thus needing the semi-circular track in the floor to bear part of the load.  These doors do not use the track.

Nashville architect Russell Hart designed these doors, using figureheads sculpted by Leopold Scholz and Belle Kinney Scholz.  They were manufactured by the General Bronze Company, Long Island, New York.  These doors were installed in 1930, and open and close daily.”

Time for a road trip!!  As I was surfing around and looking at various photos of these doors online, I found numerous photos of one set of doors in the closed position.  And right behind every Boy Scout troop, newlywed couple, grandma, and baby carriage I saw this!  –>

It’s probably not a code issue because I’m sure these huge doors aren’t required egress doors, but a padlock and chain seem a little out of place on 24-foot tall bronze doors in the Parthenon, no?

It looks like this set of doors has a security gate on the exterior, but the other set has been retrofitted with a set of glass doors with electromagnetic locks.  Check out the great photos below!  (Click any photo to enlarge.)



Thank you to everyone who shared your photos with me and the readers of this blog.  If you hover over each photo it will reveal the name of the photographer – Peter Wilson of Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies, Carlton Harbaugh, and Andrew Preston.  (You can check out more photos of the Parthenon by clicking Carlton or Andrew’s name to access their Flickr photostream.)

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