Nissan's groundbreaking
PHOTO: TN State Library & Archives

County Seat: Murfreesboro
Let's talk about something big that happened in Rutherford County, followed by something big that nearly happened in Rutherford County. First of all, in 1980, after months of looking at sites all over the country, Nissan announced that it was building an automobile assembly plant in
Smyrna. It was the first foreign-owned car assembly plant in the South, and one of the greatest industrial recruitments of all time for Tennessee. The early success of the Nissan plant also helped the state recruit General Motors’ Saturn plant to MauryCounty a few years later.

This obelisk in Murfreesboro marks the geographic center of Tennessee.
In the "nearly" category, Rutherford County almost became Tennessee's permanent capital.

Murfreesboro was the state capital from 1819 through 1826. In 1843, the legislature spent its first few weeks in session arguing about where to put the permanent capital. After a long debate and several contested votes, Murfreesboro came in second behind Nashville. One of the reasons that Murfreesboro claimed it should be chosen it because it (not Nashville) was the geographic center of the state. However, the House and Senate eventually chose Nashville.

Reenactors at Stones River
Tennessee has more Civil War battlefields than any other state except Virginia. In Murfreesboro you will find one called Stones River National Military Park. A three-day long battle took place at Stones River starting on December 31, 1862 and ending on January 2, 1863. Twenty-five thousand Americans were killed, missing or wounded in this battle -- the highest percentage of casualties of any major battle in the Civil War.

In a way, Stones River was similar to Shiloh. The Confederates won the first day of the battle; the Union eventually prevailed, and both sides had horrible casualty counts.

The best time to visit Stones River is on the anniversary of the battle.

A store in Lascassas
The Stones River battlefield used to feel rural, but not anymore.

Rutherford County has been the fastest growing county in Tennessee (population wise) for the last quarter century. People move to Rutherford County with such frequency that it seems as if the county has to build a new school every year! However, there is at least one part of the county that hasn't changed all that much, at least yet, and that is the community of Lascassas.

Here is the Rutherford County Courthouse.