This wild and rugged land is a unique treasure in Nashville's park system. The area was once known as Paradise Ridge, and while the beauty of the land might inspire one to envision paradise, the name actually comes from two early settlers, the Paradise brothers.
Early land use included homesteads, farming, orchards, logging and even moonshining. In the 1970s the 1500-acre parcel that is now Beaman Park was purchased by a group of doctors, known as the Blueberry Hill Partners, who used the land as a hunting preserve. In 1996, the Partners graciously sold their preserve to the Metro Nashville government for roughly half of its appraised value.
The land purchase was made possible by a generous gift from Mrs. Sally Beaman in honor of her husband, Alvin G. Beaman, a prominent Nashville businessman and civic leader who served on the Park Board from 1955 to 1963. This wonderful park represents the largest single gift of land in the history of the Metro Nashville Parks Department.
Beaman Park lies on the Highland Rim, just outside of the Nashville Basin, in the northwest edge of Davidson County. Its terrain features steep, forested slopes, with drier ridge tops and elevations just under 1000 feet. Deep hollows contain pristine springs and streams. Most of the park is drained by Little Marrowbone Creek on the north and Bull Run Creek on the south. The surface geology exhibits limestone, cherty limestone, shale, siltstone and a unique mudstone that is often a beautiful yellow or rust color. Many of the creek beds and rock outcroppings are Chattanooga black shale.
The vegetation is incredibly diverse. Oak/hardwood forests dominate the mid to upper slopes while mixed alluvial hardwoods lie in the creek bottoms. A rare community type, known as woodland barrens, occurs and contains post oak trees and native perennial grasses. And there are many delicate bluff communities.
Some common trees at Beaman Park are blackjack, northern red, scarlet, chestnut and white oaks, hickories, beech, tulip poplar, sourwood, sassafras, redbud, and dogwood. Less common are virginia and shortleaf pines, witch-hazel, carolina willow, hazelnut and butternut. The shrub layer includes spicebush, farkleberry, blueberries, wild azalea, mountain laurel, and even gooseberries.
Wildflowers abound here, especially in spring, with such beauties as dwarf larkspur, wild geranium, shooting stars, fire pinks, and even the rare lady's slipper orchid. Summer brings blazing stars, coreopsis, new jersey tea, bergamot, and the state listed threatened species, Michigan lily. In the fall visitors may see blue lobelia, turtlehead, joe-pye weed, beardtongue, and ladies tresses orchids. Most notable is the federally listed threatened species, Eggert's sunflower. Many ferns, sedges, mosses, mushrooms and lichens carpet the forest floor, and a large patch of ground cedar thrives near the native pine woods.
Beaman Park is home to countless other species of wildlife as well. Deer, bobcat, fox, coyote, raccoons, flying squirrels, and bats are some of the mammals here. Reptiles such as snakes, turtles, skinks and lizards move around as they adjust to seasonal temperatures, while amphibians like salamanders, frogs and toads seek protection in microclimates. Clear, shallow creeks support darters, dace, minnows, snails, crayfish, and aquatic insects. Dense forests provide shelter for many birds including woodpeckers, thrushes, wrens, warblers, owls and hawks. Beaman Park is a rich, fertile, living laboratory and the potential is great for many new discoveries.
Visitors to this wild and rugged land will find a unique opportunity to enjoy nature first hand and experience the wonderful solitude and serenity of our natural world.
Directions to Beaman Park
Beaman Park is best accessible from Eatons Creek Road in western Davidson County.
Take Briley Parkway to Exit 24, Ashland City Highway/State Route 12. From Briley, head south on S.R. 12, away from Ashland City. Turn left at the flashing caution sign onto Eatons Creek Road. Go four miles. Cross Old Hickory Boulevard and in less than a mile turn left onto Little Marrowbone Road. The park entrance is a half-mile farther on the left on 4111 Little Marrowbone Road.