David Crockett’s 235th Birthday Celebrated at Discovery Park with Programs, Music and Proclamation from Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee.
More than 1,000 guests attended Saturday’s celebration of the life and career of David Crockett at Discovery Park for the occasion of his 235th birthday on Aug. 17. Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee sent a proclamation from the state capital calling for a day of recognition for Crockett.
The folk hero, frontiersman, politician and Tennessee settler made his home in Northwest Tennessee from 1822 until he departed for the Alamo in 1835.
Demonstrations of arts and crafts from that era were shared by a variety of craftspeople throughout the park, and guests enjoyed tours of the pollinator gardens, vineyard and Innovation Farm. The museum’s educators presented programs on a variety of topics including the history of the geography of West Tennessee, Crockett’s relationship with Sam Houston, 1800s natural medical practices and the wildlife of West Tennessee during Crockett’s time in the region.
Discovery Park CEO, Scott Williams, who has released a book about Crockett, “The Accidental Fame and Lack of Fortune of West Tennessee’s David Crockett,” hosted a panel discussion with guests Broadway actor Bart Shatto and educator Arthur W. Hunt III, PhD on the fame of David Crockett and his journey from frontier to icon.
One highlight of the day was the performance by Shatto, who is a member of the original Broadway casts of Tony-nominated “Hands on a Hardbody” and “The Civil War” and performed on Broadway in “War Paint” and “Les Misérables.” Shatto premiered selections from his new play, “The Life and Times of Davy Crockett,” that takes place in Memphis the night before Crockett departs Tennessee for Texas. Joining Shatto on stage for the performance that received a standing ovation, was Micah Barnes, Ken Robinson, Brent Hopper and Chloe Cook.
Crockett, known for his marksmanship, was one of the earliest non-Native American hunters around nearby Reelfoot Lake. A passionate advocate for the earliest settlers of West Tennessee, he served in the state legislature from 1821 to 1824, then as congressman representing West Tennessee counties in the United States House of Representatives from 1827 to 1831 and 1833 to 1835. He represented settlers making their homes in the counties of Carroll, Dyer, Fayette, Gibson, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, Henry, Lawrence, Madison, McNairy, Obion, Perry, Shelby, Tipton, Wayne, and Weakley.
Visitors will find many ways to experience David Crockett at Discovery Park all year long. Included is a statue dedicated to the frontiersman, a congressional exhibit in Liberty Hall at Freedom Square, a reproduction of Crockett’s portrait by John Gadsby Chapman, the Regional History Gallery telling the story of Northwest Tennessee, a 20,0000-gallon aquarium and tanks featuring the wildlife of Reelfoot Lake, a one-of-a-kind Earthquake Simulator, the Native American Gallery, an 1800s Tennessee log cabin community, Mill Ridge featuring a working gristmill and forge and more.
David Crockett’s 235th Birthday Celebration was sponsored by Dixie Gun Works.