One of the oldest towns in Tennessee and the fifth-largest in the state, Clarksville is not named for that song byThe Monkees, but for a Revolutionary War hero, General George Rogers Clark (who happened to be the brother of William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition). Situated near the confluences of the Cumberland and Red Rivers, it's long been an important river city.
Its most notable historic attraction -- Fort Defiance -- was built in preparation for the Civil War on a high hill overlooking the rivers. The gun emplacements and barracks there changed hands several times throughout the conflict.
In the years after the Civil War, the city was known for its fine, dark-fired tobacco and abundant agricultural offerings. During World War II, Camp Campbell was established on 42,000 acres in Kentucky, just north of the city; the camp is now known as Fort Campbell and the military influence, both historical and current, can be felt throughout the town.
Many visitors might remember Clarksville from the January 1999 tornado that crashed through downtown. The F3 tornado -- some 880 yards wide -- tore through town and caused nearly $75 million in damages as it destroyed 124 buildings and damaged 562 others, but left no casualties in its wake. Today there are few signs of the disaster save a mural and statues devoted to telling the story of the tornado.