Last Train to Clarksville Mural

136 Commerce Street, Clarksville, TN 37040


Behind every new mural is a story. What led to Clarksville's latest mural is certainly a unique set of circumstances. It's a longtime effort looking to tell a little history.

"I think Clarksville is starting to open up a new era of artists and appreciation for art, and I'm happy to be part of opening up the door here," said Ricky Cavanness of Clarksville's No Egrets Tattoo Studio.

Whether it's hand-drawn works, photography or tattoos for Ricky, all of it is an artistic outlet. He's found himself in one ambitious project.

"The city has so much history," said photographer David Smith. "From the bridge to the Roxy, just to Franklin Street. We're trying to showcase Clarksville."

Smith's photography covers the walls of Edward's Steakhouse in downtown Clarksville. At one table is a piece of a train by David.

"It's the train station, and people don't know the train still comes through every day," David said.

At one time, there was a passenger train in Clarksville.

"The last train that left Clarksville was August 31 of 1968," David said.

David had an idea. He presented his photograph to Ricky with the hope of telling a little city history. Ricky worked for five years on a project funded by the Clarksville Arts and Heritage Development Council. He pulled in the help of fellow tattoo artist Chloe Ficklin, and now, Ricky has completed a mural on Clarksville's Commerce Street.

"This pedestal, being part of the old railroad, needed something," said David.

Written on the mural is 'The Last Train to Clarksville,' which is also a song title for a big hit for The Monkees in 1966. According to songwriter Bobby Hart, the track wasn't specifically written about Clarksville, Tennessee. Hart, however, also said the song is indirectly about a soldier leaving for the Vietnam War, and Clarksville's proximity to Fort Campbell does fit the storyline.

"We're a military town," said David.

"I think Clarksville, Tennessee has adopted it as its own slogan," said Ricky. "Those numbers [on the mural] represent the date of the last train that came to Clarksville. August 31, 1968."

The hope for both Ricky and David is this piece will lead to more stories of Clarksville's history being told through murals. Both know this one is special, with a connection between a song, a photograph, and now a mural.

Watch the Video Story.

Written by Forrest Sanders and published Nov 15, 2023. Reposted with permission from E.W. Scripps and The NewsChannel 5 Network.


The mural is located beside 136 Commerce Street (Cats on Commerce) on the foundation of what is now the Upland Trail overpass.