Armory (former) – Clarksville TN

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The National Guard Armory in Clarksville was one of several Art Deco-styled armories in the state. The site was surveyed January 1940, located north of the Austin Peay Normal School on Drane and Marion Street. Excavation and pouring of the concrete footings was done in October. Larry Bryant was superintendent for the project. A 6-yard scraper and tractor was used for excavation. Engineer Manley of the state supervised construction and John R. Dickson was the chief WPA office clerk.

The number of workers varied during the project but by completion was about 81, including 76 WPA certified workers, along with skilled supervisors in electrical and heating. Constructed of monolithic concrete, the structure was planned for a total of $107,643, but ultimately cost between $120,000 and $135,000 depending on various reports. The building was 110 x 163 feet, with an auditorium that could seat 1,900 with 500-700 bleacher seats. Architect was Lacey Hibbs of Speight & Hibbs. Work was halted in September 1941 when the money ran out with the walls completed and steel roof trusses in place. Additional funds were requested and during the delay, a 20-man crew worked on cleaning and beatification of the lot, which was separately funded from construction. An additional $28, 812 was approved to complete the building, erect blacksmith shop, garage, septic tank, fences, driveways and sidewalks. The State Armoires Commission also funded an additional $5000 to support the city and state expenditures. Work was resumed mid-January 1942 following a weather delay and completed July 1942. The new armory was dedicated August 4, 1942.

The structure served as the armory until 1970 when Austin Peay State University bought it and used it for recreation and ROTC. It was demolished in 2004 in order to construct a new recreation center

Source notes

"Armory Site to be Surveyed." (January 8, 1940). The Leaf-Chronicle, p. 1.

"Preliminary Work on New Armory Now Under Way." (September 18, 1940). The Leaf-Chronicle, p. 1.

"National Guard Armory About 20% Complete." (January 2, 1941). The Leaf-Chronicle, p. 1.

"Unfinished Armory Awaits More Funds." (September 4, 1941). The Leaf-Chronicle, p. 1.

"Armory Lot is Beautified." (October 7, 1941). The Leaf Chronicle, p. 1.

"WPA Grant for Armory Completion is Announced." (October 30, 1941). The Leaf-Chronicle, p. 1.

"Airport Property Leased by TVA." (January 7, 1942). Kingsport Times, p. 10.

"Clarksville Allotted $5,000 More for Armory." ( January 7, 1942). The Tennessean, p. 9.

"New Armory to be Accepted Monday Night." (July 30, 1942). The Leaf-Chronicle, p. 1.

"Cooper, York Speak at Clarksville Armory." (August 4, 1942). The Tennessean, p. 2.
"Many Old Memories from the APSU Armory." (May 14, 2004). The Leaf-Chronicle, p. 10.

"APSU Rec Center Step Closer to Reality." (December 20, 2004). The Leaf-Chronicle, p. 7.

Van West, C. (2001). Tennessee's New Deal Landscape: A Guidebook. University of Tennessee: Knoxville.

Project originally submitted by Susan Allen on June 16, 2019.

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Location Info

Marion & Drane Street
Clarksville, Tennessee 37040

Location notes: located north side of Marion Street, facing south, near corner of Drane and Marion street

Coordinates: 36.5350525, -87.35564

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