GHOSTS OF THE PRAIRIE
THE HAUNTED TENNESSEE CAPITOL BUILDING
Since before the Civil War, the State Capitol in Nashville has been located on the highest summit in the city. It is believed that spirits of the past linger here...
The ghosts of the building are linked closely to the history of the structure itself. In the early days, Knoxville was the capital of the state as Nashville was still a part of the primitive frontier. As the state grew, it was decided to move the seat of power to a more central location and Nashville was chosen for this honor.
An early rendering of the State Capitol
In the beginning, the legislature met in a small house in town but it was soon realized that a permanent structure was needed. Land was purchased at a place called Cedar Knob and an architect named William Strickland was hired in 1845. He moved to Nashville from Philadelphia, believing that his stay would be a brief one. He planned on the project taking a few years to finish and then he would return home. Instead, the construction took more than 9 years to complete and he died before the building was completed!
The construction was often delayed because of a shortage of funds and because of the fact that Strickland had to deal with a man named Samuel Morgan. Appointed by the Capitol Commission, Morgan was to oversee Strickland's work and make sure that it came in under budget. The two men hated one another at once and never agreed on anything, from building materials to cost of labor. On many occasion, they got into loud and angry arguments at the construction site, bickering over the most minute details of the design.
In 1854, William Strickland died, his work far from complete. In his memory, the state voted to construct a vault within the capitol building's walls where Strickland's body would be interred. This was a rare honor and in its entire history, Tennessee has only honored one other man in such a manner... his name was Samuel Morgan!
In the end, these two men ended up sharing a burial space for eternity, and some believe they have never stopping arguing! Not long ago, two different police officers, on two different nights, answered disturbance calls at the Capitol building. Both men claimed to hear the sounds of men involved in a heated argument, yelling and cursing at one another. When they investigated the scene, they found no one was around.
Both men were baffled by the incident, until it was explained to them by veteran officers that the area was haunted. Other officers had experienced the same thing over the years and some had even heard the sounds of the loud argument around the north foundation wall. When it was checked out, the area was always found to be deserted. Incidentally, the north foundation wall marks the place where Strickland and Morgan are entombed!
(C) Copyright 2001 by Troy Taylor. All Rights Reserved.
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