Centennial Park was opened for the 1897 Nashville centennial celebration. Many pavilions and exhibits were constructed for the celebration, including a replica of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. It was originally built of plaster, wood, and brick, and was never intended to remain after the celebration ended. The citizens of Nashville fought to save it and in the 1920s it was rebuilt in concrete as a full-scale replica of the ancient Parthenon with one large exception. The colossal statue of Athena from ancient times was not in this replica. In 1982, the city commissioned Alan LeQuire to build a full-scale replica of Athena Parthenos.
The Athena Parthenos in the ancient Parthenon was considered the greatest achievement of Pheidias, the most acclaimed sculptor of ancient Greece. He constructed the Athena Parthenos on a wooden framework with carved ivory for skin and a gold wardrobe. The statue was unveiled and dedicated in 438 or 437 B.C.
Nashville's Athena statue was constructed from 1982 to 1990. It stood in Nashville’s Parthenon as a plain, white statue for 12 years. In 2002 the Parthenon gilded Athena with Alan LeQuire and master gilder Lou Reed in charge of the project. The gilding makes Athena appear that much closer to the ancient Athena Parthenos. In addition to gilding, the project included painted details on her face, wardrobe and shield.
Nashville's Athena stands 12.75 meters (41'10") tall, and weighs approximately 10900 Kg (12 tons.) This makes her the largest piece of indoor sculpture in the Western World.
Compiled from information at: http://www.nashville.gov/Parthenon/Athena/index.asp, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athena_Parthenos