Wartrace is a town in Bedford County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 548 at the 2000 census and 651 at the 2010 census. It is located northeast of Shelbyville. The downtown area is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Wartrace Historic District.
Wartrace is a hub of the Tennessee Walking Horse industry and has been nicknamed "the cradle of the Tennessee Walking Horse". It is home to the Wartrace Horse Show, held annually since 1906, and the Tennessee Walking Horse National Museum has been headquartered in downtown Wartrace since 2012.
The name "Wartrace" is rooted in a Native American trail that once passed through the area. The town, initially known as "Wartrace Depot," was established in the early 1850s as a stop on the newly constructed Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad.
During the Civil War, the town was the winter headquarters of Confederate General William J. Hardee during the aftermath of the Battle of Stones River, and the Old Chockley Tavern in Wartrace was a gathering place for Confederate officers during the Tullahoma Campaign. A skirmish was fought at Wartrace on April 11, 1862.
With the increase in rail travel in the late 19th century, Wartrace experienced a boom period. At its height, the town had six inns and hotels, and serviced 13 trains per day. One hotel, the Walking Horse Hotel, is still in business today.
Wartrace is connected to Shelbyville by the Walking Horse and Eastern Railroad, a historic rail line that is still in part-time operation.
In the early 1900s, Wartrace served as a breeding center for the Tennessee Walking Horse, and the Wartrace Horse Show was founded in the town.
In 1972, Cascade K-5 opened as a result of the Bell Buckle School fire which displaced students within city limits of Bell Buckle, Tennessee, Shelbyville, Tennessee, and Wartrace.