Dozens of Civil War-era homes still stand here and have helped earn Maury County the title “Antebellum Homes Capital of Tennessee.”
Columbia is most famous for its annual Mule Day, but you may recognize the charming downtown square from “Hannah Montana: The Movie” and other films. As you explore the area on foot, don’t miss the historic 1904 courthouse. Historic Columbia Square is one of the state’s oldest National Register historic districts and includes more than 90 buildings 100 years old or older. Unique stores and antique shops line the courthouse square. Saturday mornings, you can shop at the farmers market. Three historic cemeteries mark the resting places of original settlers and veterans of the American Revolution, War of 1812 and Civil War.
Columbia’s historic buildings include Historic Elm Springs, a Greek Revival mansion, and the Athenaeum Rectory, a rare example of Moorish Gothic architecture. Stately Rippavilla began with the story of a man willing to lose everything for love. Be sure to visit the ancestral home of President James K. Polk, considered one of the best examples of Federal-style architecture in Tennessee. Stop for a look into the life of our eleventh U.S. President, who expanded U.S. borders to the Pacific, began the Naval Academy, added three states to the Union and issued the first postage stamp.
Columbia’s Mule Day is a tradition begun 170 years ago. The six-day event is alive with bluegrass music, Appalachian arts and crafts, a log-pulling contest, flea market and food vendors. Mule Day has earned Columbia the reputation of “Mule Capital of the World.” The annual wagon train, a long procession of mule-drawn wagons, begins in the charming town of Leiper’s Fork and travels through the winding countryside to Columbia. The festivities begin when the procession reaches Columbia, culminating in the Mule Day Parade through the streets of this historic town. Remember Columbia and Mule Day the next time you’re trail riding, since riding mules are typically more sure-footed than horses on rough or sloped terrain.
The nearby Duck River Blueway calls to the fisherman, paddler and wildlife watcher. Chickasaw Trace Park and Natchez Trace Parkway provide endless opportunities for biking, hiking and other outdoor recreation in the beautiful heart of Tennessee.
Let the historic town square and antebellum homes charm you. Visit the sites used in dozens of films and commercials. Explore hiking, biking and paddling opportunities.