The Columbia race riot
Library of Congress Photo
County Seat: Columbia
Most of the people who live in MauryCounty now don’t know that in 1946 the county was the site of the first race riot in the U.S. after World War II. A fight between a African-American navy veteran and a white shopkeeper apparently started things, and later that same day there was shooting, fighting and rioting between whites and blacks in a part of Columbia known as Mink Slide.
Several people were eventually charged with rioting and attempted murder; the main attorney who came to Columbia to defend the African Americans in the case was Thurgood Marshall who later became the first black member of the U.S. Supreme Court.
The James K. Polk Ancestral Home
Maury County is also the site of James K. Polk's ancestoral home, which is restored and open to visitors.
Polk was president of the United States from 1845 until 1849, and as such was responsible for the acquisition of large chunks of land by the United States (including the modern-day states of California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Oregon, Idaho, Arizona, and Washington).
Since Maury County is mostly in the Central Basin of Middle Tennessee, the county is largely flat. But at the southern edge of the county is the beginnings of the Highland Rim. There, a two-third mile stroll from Highway 43, you will find one of the least publicized waterfalls in the state -- Stillhouse Falls.
The Gordon House
And at the western edge of Maury County, you will find the Gordon house, which was built in 1818 by a friend of Andrew Jackson's named John Gordon.
The Duck River near the Gordon house
When the Natchez Trace was still the main travelling route through this part of Tennessee, Gordon, and later his widow, operated a ferry here across the Duck River.
Here's a photograph of the Maury County Courthouse.