The Clarksville Arts and Heritage Council will dedicate the recently completed mural, “Last Train to Clarksville,” in a short ceremony at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7.
The brainchild of AHC board member, David Smith, the mural has been years in the making. Smith recruited Clarksville artist Rick Cavaness to create the image for his idea, and when AHC received a grant through the Tennessee Arts Commission, Cavaness was ready to begin painting.
While the songwriters for the 1966 Monkees’ hit, “Last Train to Clarksville,” say they didn’t have Clarksville, Tennessee, in mind, ironically the war-protest song fits this city. During World War II and Vietnam, hundreds of young soldiers probably took the last train to Clarksville on their way to Camp, later Fort, Campbell, and they didn’t know if they were “ever coming home.”
This mural is a better match to Bobby Goldsboro’s 1973 recording of “The L&N Don’t Stop Here Anymore.” It commemorates the last passenger train to come through Clarksville. The L&N stopped passenger service on February 28, 1968, and the Tennessee Central line sent its last passenger train through on August 31 of that year.
The mural is at the end of Commerce Street beside Cats on Commerce at the old site of the Clarksville Foundry.
The public is invited to the dedication ceremony where Mayors Joe Pitts and Wes Golden will say a few words about railroading in Clarksville, and Cavaness will sign the mural. Afterward there will be opportunities for photographs with the oncoming train.
The mural was made possible in part by the Tennessee Arts Commission and by federal award number SLFRP5534 awarded to the State of Tennessee by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.