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Posted on: June 23, 2022

City Unveils Pop Geers Memorial Park Historical Marker

Pop Geers

The City of Columbia unveiled the Pop Geers Memorial Park Historical Marker to the public on Thursday, June 23, 2022, at Pop Geers Memorial Park at 9:00 AM. City leaders, along with Sarah Elizabeth McLeod, Historic Preservationist with the South Central Tennessee Development District, spoke to the history and importance of Pop Geers Memorial Park in the community. Adam Southern authored the narrative on Pop Geers for the historical marker. McLeod remarked, “Pop Geers is the best kept secret in Tennessee history, and I am honored to be able to tell his story.”  

The Pop Geers Historical Marker reads:                    

“Edward Franklin “Pop” Geers was a Tennessee native who rose from ordinary circumstances to become a national celebrity in the harness racing industry in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Geers was born in Lebanon, Tennessee, and he considered Columbia his home. Maury County breeders were renowned for raising Standardbred horses for harness racing. Geers was drawn to Columbia for the quality racing stock and the close proximity of racetracks. One of his greatest achievements on the track was recording the first mile in less than two minutes in a harness race with the famous Maury County horse, Napoleon Direct in 1916. His career spanned for more than fifty years. In 1924, when Geers tragically died on the racetrack in Wheeling, West Virginia, horsemen and businessmen from around the world chose to place a monument to honor Geers’ integrity and achievements on the harness racing track in downtown Columbia. The Pop Geers Park is the first public park in the City of Columbia and was dedicated in 1926.”               

“I am pleased Pop Geers Park will become the latest city landmark to receive a City designated historical marker,” stated City Mayor Chaz Molder. “There is a lot of history to share about Pop Geers himself and the park as a whole. It is important that we continue to celebrate and look forward to the future by honoring and remembering key moments of our past. This marker will do just that.”           

City Manager Tony Massey noted, “Pop Geers was to harness racing what Dale Earnhardt was to NASCAR. It certainly is appropriate to recognize one of Columbia’s most famous citizens.” 

This is the latest installation in the ongoing City of Columbia historic marker program.    

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