Friends of Metropolitan Archives of Nashville and Davidson County
1779 - Cumberland Settlers - It was in the fall and winter of 1779 and 1780, that pioneers came to make a permanant home in the Cumberland Settlement. Several stations or forts were established. The largest was popularly known as the French Lick Fort but also called Fort Nashborough. Other stations established in 1779-80 were Mansker's, Asher's, Bledsoe's, Stone's River, Freeland's, Eaton's and Fort Union.
1780- Early Cemetery. Some early burials were on the Public Square where it was said the earth was so shallow there was barely enough dirt to cover the coffin. In 1801, an act prohibited burials on the public square.
1780 - French Lick Station. - A plan of the fort built in 1780 and labeled the "Nashville Fort", was drawn at a later date by pioneer Andrew Castleman. The drawing shows the fort to be rectangular, 15 rods long (about 247 feet) and half that in width. There was a spring at the west end of the fort. There was a blockhouse at every corner and cabins along each side. 1780 - Cumberland Compact - Articles of Agreement, or Compact of Government, entered into by settlers on the Cumberland River, 1st May, 1780. The document contained signatures of more than 250 pioneers, called for the election of twelve persons to act as judges to preside over legal matters that might arise.
1781 - Battle of the Bluff. - Intersection of Broad and College (3rd Ave.) streets-- "Battle of the Bluff, April 2, 1781. Capt. James Leiper, Peter Gil, John Kissinger, Alex Buchanan, George Kennedy, J. Kennedy and Zachariah White were killed and James Menefee, Gasper Mansker, Isaac Lucas, Joseph Moonshaw and Edward Swanson and others were wounded, being part of a force of 21 which in a sally from the fort attacked 200 Cherokee Indians, Lying in wait in Wilson's Branch." Our First Century - A History of Nashville from Its Original Settlement, by Anson Nelson, Esq.
1782 - Irish Station. - "About the year 1782, a party (perhaps some twenty families) of Washington County emigrants settled "the Irish Station" near the present Haysboro on the northern bank of the Cumberland, some 7 or 8 miles above Nashville." - Madison Station, Guy Alan Bockmon
1783 - First Road. - October term 1783 Davidson County Court, "Ordered that the Road leading from Nashborough to Mansker's Station be laid off. James Freeland be overseer as far as opposite to Mr. Bucchanan's Spring and that Mr. James Shaw Oversee from Mansco's this way." -- Metro Archives, County Court Minute Book A, p. 3, Deed Book C, p. 213. [Note: Mr. Bucchanan's spring was on the Spring Hill tract which he would deed over to Rev. John B. Craighead in 1785. The deed mentions that the road to Manskers Station crosses the property near the spring. Today this spring is near where Briley Parkway passes under Gallatin Road.
1784 - 1806 - The town of Nashville was created in April of 1784 by an act of the North Carolina legislature. In 1796 when Tennessee became a state the Legislature passed an act officially naming the town Nashville, Tennessee. In 1801, the town was placed under the government of an Intendent and six Commissioners. Nashville was incorporated in 1806, and it was ordered that an election be held on the first day of October to choose a mayor and six aldermen. Joseph Coleman was the first mayor, and held the office for three years. -- Brief Annals of Nashville, Anson Nelson
1784 - In 1784 the North Carolina Legislature ordered that 200 acres be set aside for the town of Nashville, to be divided into one acre lots and sold for four pounds each. The proceeds from the sale of the town lots were to be used to build a courthouse and jail. Four acres were to be permanently preserved for public buildings. Thomas Molloy was appointed surveyor for the town.
1784 - The first jail was built on the public square as ordered by the county court. In 1803 citizens petitioned for removal of the jail from the square and by 1809, "the county jail was back of Boyd's Tavern on Water Street." --History of Davidson County, W. W. Clayton,
1784 - The first officially sanctioned ferry on the Cumberland River at Nashville was licensed to James Shaw on Jul 6, 1784 which crossed in the vicinity of the Shelby Street Bridge. Another ferry operated by John Nichol ran near the location of the Jefferson Street Bridge. By 1794 six ferries had been licensed in Davidson County to serve the public on the Cumberland. -- Metro Archives, Vertical Files - Ferries
1785 - It was on July 4, 1785 that county court minutes first indicate the court is meeting at the "Courthouse in Nashville." The building of the first Courthouse was authorized by the Davidson County Court at the October Term 1783. "... that the size of the Courthouse be eighteen feet square in the body with a Leanto Shade of twelve feet on the one side of the length of the House. And that the house be furnished with the necessary benches, Barr, Table &c fit for the Reception of the Court." -- Metro Archives, Davidson County Court Minutes
1785 - Davidson Academy, the first public institution of higher learning in Nashville, was created by an act of the North Carolina legislature in 1785. The school was located 6 miles from Nashville out the present Gallatin Road where Springhill Cemetery is now. The school shared the building that served as a meeting house for a Presbyterian congregation led by Thomas B. Craighead.
1786 - McGavock Map - David McGavock, arrived in the Cumberland settlements in 1785 to find land for himself and for his father, James McGavock, Sr. He surveyed and drew a map showing the location of several parcels he had made claim to, dated August of 1786. There were four tracts in all, two on the south side of the Cumberland river and two on the north side. He put his own name on 640 acres on the North side of the Cumberland River that had originally been granted to Evan Baker. David's choice, square in shape and measuring one mile on each side, had two large springs, Fountain Blue and Luckhole spring. 1787 - Tax List - Among the names appearing on a 1787 tax list for Davidson County are: Archibald Buchanan, Andrew Casselman, Robert Eaton, Jacob Pennington, Andrew Steel, Frederick Stump, and Ebenezer Titus.History of Davidson County, W. W. Clayton
1788 - A bond signed on December 13, 1788 by Hy. Turney and his security, William Lancaster is the earliest extant marriage record issued by Davidson County. Turney was seeking a license to marry Martha Lancaster. - Loose Marriage Bonds and Licenses, Metro Archives
1789 - Jackson and Overton, Attorneys - In July of 1789, Andrew Jackson and John Overton appeared at the courthouse, before the Superior Court of Law and Equity presided over by Judge John McNairy, and were admitted to the bar as practicing attorneys. In 1790 Jackson was appointed Attorney General for the Mero District in the same court.
1790 - Andrew Jackson - In 1790 Jackson was appointed Attorney General for the Mero District in the Superior Court of Law and Equity.
1791 - Mero District - A census of Mero district taken this year shows a population of seven thousand and forty-two. One thousand of these were males capable of bearing arms. The population of the Indian tribes surrounding the Territory at that time is variously estimated at from twenty-five to fifty thousand. Early History of Middle Tennessee, Edward Albright
1792 - Attack on Buchanan's Station - On the night of September 30, the stockaded fort of Major John Buchanan was attacked by a party of Idians numbering around 300. The attack continued for hours and many of the Indians were wounded or killed. There were about 20 male settlers in the fort, along with their wives and children. Except for a minor injury of one, none were hurt or killed.
1793 - Great Flood - In 1793 there was extensive flooding in the area of Davidson County. Pioneer records detailing spots reached by the 1793 flood indicate it crested at what would have been a river stage of 58.5 feet. Assorted Historical Weather Events in Middle Tennessee, Mark A. Rose
1794 - On January 17, 1794 Andrew Jackson obtained a license to marry (reportedly for a second time) Rachel Donelson Robards in Davidson County. Rachel's brother-in-law Robert Hays and Jackson's close friend John Overton signed as securities. First Marriage Record for Davidson County, Metro Archives
1795 - First Town Church - Tradition reports that the first church in the town of Nashville was built on the Square in 1795. It was twenty feet square and built of stone. The Methodist congregation sat on split logs, supported on tree branches. - Building of Nashville, W. F. Creighton. W. W. Clayton, reported in his History of Davidson County, that in 1796, "The town was authorized to sell a lot to the Methodists, who had erected a meeting house on the public square, and also to lay off suitable lots on the same of other denominations."
1796 - Statehood - On June 1, 1796, Congress approved the admission of Tennessee as the sixteenth state of the Union.
1796 - Ordinary or Tavern - Thomas Talbot, with Isham Allen Parker as his security, was granted an ordinary license in October of 1796. The licensee was obligated to provide wholesome, cleanly lodging and diet for travelers, stabling and fodder for their horses, and "shall not permit unlawful gaming." Talbot operated an early inn on the Square at the site where the City Hotel would be built. - Metro Archives, Historic Documents
1797 - Early Newspaper - The first newspaper published in Nashville was "The Tennessee Gazette and Mero District Advertiser," in 1797, by a printer from Kentucky, named Henkle. The following year he sold the paper to Benjamin J. Bradford. - Brief Annals of Nashville,Anson Nelson
1798 - Haysborough - In the summer of 1798, Thomas Hudson began selling lots in the new town of Haysborough. Founders, Hudson and George McWhiter, had named the town in honor of Robert Hays, a soldier of the Revolution, from whom they pruchased the land on which the town was laid out. Haysborough was officially established by legislative act in 1799.
1799 - Pioneer Justice - The punishment for horse stealing in Nashville, 1799: "The said Andrew Pierce shall stand in the public pillory for one hour and shall be publicly whipped on his bare back with 39 lashes well laid on, and at the same time shall have both his ears cut off, and shall be branded on the right cheek with the letter H and on the left cheek with the letter T".
1801 - First Market House - An Act to Regulate the Town of Nashville, passed in 1801, called for Market House to be built on the Public Square. A twenty by forty foot, rectangular building, it was one of only four brick buildings in the town. - History of Davidson County, W. W. Clayton.
1802 - First Industry - Nashville's first industry may have been the manufacturer of cotton spinning machinery by George Poyzer in 1802.
1802 - Second Court House - Davidson County Court, Oct 15, 1802, page 367, "Court adjourns for five minutes, to meet in the new Courthouse. Court met according to adjournment in the New Courthouse where was present...." A notice in a newspaper of the day reveals the building to be a "a Brick Court-House Two story high, forty feet square in the clear, with stocks &c." In 1804 the court ordered that a bell be purchased for the Courthouse and in 1806 the painting of the roof and steps. -- Metro Archives, County Court Minutes
1802 - Robert "Black Bob" Renfro - An 1802 advertisement in the Tennessee Gazette announced "that Robert Renfroe [sic] had opened a house of entertainment in the Nashville." The newspaper gave details of the emancipation of a slave, property of Robert Searcy, who "shall in the future be known by the name of Robert Renfro." Renfro, formerly called Bob, had first been granted license by the county court in 1794 to sell liquor and victuals in the Town of Nashville.
1806 - Regulation of Theatrical Exhibits - The Mayor and Aldermen of the corporation of the town of Nashville pass an act, prohibiting theatrical performances without a license and prohibiting gaming tables and wheels of fortune whithin the corporate limits.
1809 - Lottey for Water Works - In 1809 the State of Tennessee approved an act to "authorize the mayor and aldermen of the town of Nashville to raise a sum of money by lottery for the purpose of bringing water to town,"
1810 - Population - In 1810 the population of Nashville was 1,100.
1810 - State Legislature Meets - "The Legislature assembled here for the first time. It subsequently met in Murfreesboro', Kingston, Knoxville, etc., until its final location in Nashville." Brief Annals of Nashville,Anson Nelson
1814 - James Robertson Dies - General James Robertson, pioneer founder of Nashville, died on the 1st of September, 1814.
1816 Nashville Female Academy - The Nashville Female Academy was incorporated in 1816, and educated young ladies until 1861.
1818 - Steamboats on the Cumberland - In the spring of 1818, the people hailed the arrival of the first steamboat at this port. She was 110 tons burthen, built at Pittsburgh for General William Carroll, and was named "General Jackson." He sold the boat for $33,000 to Messrs. Fletcher, Young & Marr. Freight from here to New Orleans was then five cents per hundred pounds... In 1825, there were from 15 to 20 steamboats running from Nashville to New Orleans, Louisville and Pittsburgh. -- Brief Annals of Nashville, Anson Nelson
1822 - Nashville City Cemetery - In 1822, the City Cemetery opened on South Cherry Street, one and half miles south of the Public Square. Many of Nashville's early pioneers are buried in the old cemetery. Earlier public cemeteries were located on the public square and on a bluff above the sulphur spring to the north.
1822 - Fourth of July - "Fourth of July was celebrated at this place. Steam boats fired a morning salute. Nashville guards...paraded and escorted General Jackson from the Nashville Inn to the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Hume offered a prayer...invited guests proceeded to Judge McNairy's spring where a presumptous dinner was provided....The amusements of the day were closed by a ball at the Nashville Inn." - The Clarion, July 9, 1822
1823 - First Bridge across the Cumberland. - The first bridge, a covered wooden strucure, opened in 1823, at the northeast corner of the Square across to Main Street, where the Victory Memorial Bridges crosses today. It was demolished in 1851. -- Metro Archives, Vertical Files Bridges
1823 - Water Supply - In the early 1820's water was pumped from the river through water mains of black locust logs which extended to the Square. The water supply was stopped after the pump house burned in 1830. - Building of Nashville, W. F. Creighton
1824 - University of Nashville - In 1824, Phillip Lindsley accepted the presidency of Cumberland College and it was at his suggestion that the name was change to the University of Nashville the following year. The campus, about a mile south from the Square on a hill in South Nashville, was later the first of home of the Peabody College.
1826 - Nashville Museum - In 1826 the Nashville Museum opened near the Square on Market Street, by Dr. de St Leger, "Open from 9 till 12 a.m. and from 2 till 9 p.m. Admittance 25 cents...fossils, minerals, quadrupeds, reptiles, insects...specimens of antiquity and Indian attributes." -- Nashville Whig Nov. 11, 1826
1829 - Market House - An 1829 notice in the Nashville Whig, announced the completion of a new Market House. Being 272 feet long and 62 feet wide with a two story structure at each. The rooms at the north end appropriated for use of the city corporation, the south end housed the museum of Dr. Troost. - The National Banner and Nashville Whig, Jan. 20, 1829.
1829 - Third Courthouse - On September 19, 1829 the National Banner described the new Courthouse, still under construction. The building was 105 feet in length at the front and 63 feet deep. The basement story contains eight rooms. On the second and third floors there are two rooms, each 40 by 60 feet and two others 23 by 40. The foundation is of stone and the remainder of brick. A dome, which contained a town clock, was supported by eight Ionic columns. The courthouse burned in the great fire of April, 1856.
1831 - Nashville Churches - The first Catholic Church was built in 1831. Christ Church was built in 1832. The Cumberland Presbyterian Church was dedicated in 1832. McKendree Church was dedicated in 1833. First Baptist Church was built in 1837.
1833 - Water Works - In 1833 a reservoir was built for a new water works. The water was pumped from the river with a steam engine. Pipes were laid from the reservoir to Broad Street, and up Second Avenue to the Square. - Building of Nashville, W. F. Creighton
1834 - Sulphur Spring - The Sulphur Spring, is situated in the lower suburbs, on French Lick creek, between Cherry and Summer streets. The water is a strong salt sulphur, but clear, cold and palatable, and is said to contain about the same properties of the celebrated Harrowgate waters.-Here are also cold and warm baths; and the curious observer can spend a leisure hour very satisfactorily, in examining the fragments of Indian pottery ware, ancient furnaces for making salt, and various aboriginal remains which exist here in great abundance. -- Eastin Morris' Tennessee Gazetteer, 1834
1836 - New Post Office - The Post Office in this town has just been removed...to the commodious three story building on the opposite side of Deaderick Street, recently erected by Stephen Cantrell Esq. And specially fitted up for the purpose, under the direction of Col. Armstrong....containing 178 boxes handsomely numbered for the use of individuals... - The National Banner and Nashville Whig, Feb. 12, 1836
1843 - Tennessee State Capitol - The capitol of Tennessee was moved four times before settling in Nashville. Jonesborough to Knoxville to Nashville to Murfreesboro and then finally to Nashville. "The seat of Government was permanently fixed at Nashville on the 7th of October, 1843, after a severe struggle in the Legislature. The city bought Campbell's Hill for the State House, at a cost of $30,000, and gave it to the State.... The corner stone of the Capitol was laid, with imposing Masonic ceremonies, on the 4th of July, 1845. Wm. Strickland was the architect." -- Brief Annals of Nashville, Anson Nelson
1849 - President Polk - The Hon. James K. Polk, tenth President of the United States, died at his residence on the 15th of June, 1849, and was placed in a vault at the City Cemetery with Masonic honors.. On the 22d of May, 1850, his remains were deposited in the elegant mausoleum prepared for the purpose, on his own grounds, on the eastern front of Polk Place (a few blocks west of the Public Square), with solemn and impressive ceremonies. - Brief Annals of Nashville, Anson Nelson
1850 - Adelphi Theater - Architect Adolphus Heiman had been hired by the Adelphi Company in 1850 to design, "a costly and handsome edifice suitable for theatrical performances." Gilman & Hughes were hired as chief carpenters, to work under the supervision of Heiman. The Adelphi Theater opened on Cherry Street, just north of Cedar on July 1, 1850. - Metro Archives, Chancery Court Records
1851 - Railroad - The first passenger train the N. & C. R. R. was run out as far as Antioch on the 13th April, 1851, and the first through train to Chattanooga on the 18th of January, 1853. - Brief Annals of Nashville, Anson Nelson
1851 - First Street Lamp - "The Nashville Gas Light Company was chartered November 14th, 1849, and the city was lighted by gas on the night of February 13th, 1851." The first gas works in Tennessee to manufacture gas from coal, the firm continued as the Nashville Gas Company. - Brief Annals of Nashville, Anson Nelson
1853 - Suspension Bridge - In 1853, at the site of the present Woodland Street Bridge, a bridge designed by architect Adolphus Heiman was built across the Cumberland. This suspension bridge was destroyed in the 1862, when the evacuating Confederate Army cut the cables and the bridge fell into the river. In 1866 a new bridge was erected using the same support towers.
1855 - Public Schools - Hume School was formally opened in February 1855, as the first public school in the City of Nashville.
1856 - Disastrous Fire - The great fire of April 16, 1856 destroyed the a number of buildings on the Public Square including the Nashville Courthouse and Nashville Inn. Gov. Andrew Johnson was a guest at the inn. He went to the rescue of a lady and $1200 he had under his pillow went with the fire. The inn was the Democratic headquarters when James K. Polk spent the night there Jan. 31, 1845 before departing on Feb. 1, to be inaugurated President.
1857 - Police Department - The 1857 Nashville Business Directory announced that John A. Petty, Chief of Police was assisted by twenty-three stout men.
1859 - Fourth Courthouse - In 1856, W. Francis Strickland, son of William Strickland designer of the Tennessee State Capitol, was hired to build a new courthouse. The chosen design, very similar to the Capitol, had a basement and three stories above ground, and was 118 feet by 72 feet in size. The court first met in the building in Jan. 1859. In 1910 an additional story added to the Courthouse. The building was demolished in 1935.
1861 - Confederate Citizen - On the 20th day of November 1861, Kentucky native, Charles Marshall Morris, walked across the Square and into the courthouse to declare his intention to become a citizen of the Confederate States of America and to renounce forever all allegiance to Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States before the Clerk of the Circuit Court.
1862 - Nashville Plow Works - Located at 8th Ave. and Palmer Place Nashville Plow Works turned plowshares into swords for the Confederacy before Nashville fell to the Union. So rare are these swords today, you can easily turn one into cash to the tune of $15,000.
1862 - Fort Negley - Constructed in 1862, mostly by the labor of free Blacks and slaves hired by the Union Army. It was the largest fortification built by the Union forces in Nashville.
1864 - Nashville Synagogues - In 1864 there were three synagogues in Nashville. The old synagogue was on North Market Street. In 1869 Douglas Hall on Market Street just north of the Public Square, was dedicated as the synagogue of the Reform Congregation. In 1874 the corner stone was laid for the Vine Street Temple. - Beginnings on Market Street, Fedora Small Frank
1865 - Aftermath of War - "Nashville is overrun with ragged children, paroled rebels, discharged government employees, mustered out Union troops and thieves. The penitentiary is filled to overflowing. In addition to possessing such a motley population, we can lay claim to a very filthy and dingy city." - Beginnings on Market Street, Fedora Small Frank
1866 - Horse-drawn Street Car - In 1866 the first horse-drawn street car was operated in Nashville. The first line extended from the Public Square out 4th avenue to the University. In 1892 faster, electric cars replaced the horse cars. - Building of Nashville, W. F. Creighton
1866- Fisk University - One of the first black institutions of higher learning in Nashville, Fisk University was founded in 1866 by the American Missionary Association and the Western Freedmen's Aid Commission. The school was chartered as a University in 1867.
1867 - Montgomery Bell Academy - Montgomery Bell, owner of the Cumberland Iron Works, at his death in 1855, gave $20,000 to establish a school for the education of children.
1869 - Mount Ararat Cemetery - Located at 800 Elm Hill Pike, Mount Ararat was founded in 1869 and is the oldest black cemetery in Nashville. In 1982 it was purchased by Greenwood Cemetery and renamed Greenwood Cemetery West.
1869 - Edgefield - The land lying to the East of the Public Square, across the Cumberland was incorporated in 1869 as separate city called Edgefield. In 1880 Edgefield was annexed by the city of Nashville.
1872 - First African-American Legislator - Elected in 1872, Sampson Keeble, a Nashvillian, was the first African-American legislator in Tennessee.
1873 - Vanderbilt University - The university was founded in 1873 by Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt who gave $1,000,000 to start the university and expressed his wish that it should "contribute to strengthening the ties which should exist between all geographical sections of our common country."
1876 - Meharry Medical College - Established in 1876 for the training of black physicians, Meharry was one of only two such colleges in the United States. By 1920, approximately two-thirds of all black physicians were educated at Meharry.
1876 - Vine Street Temple - On the 26th May, the Jewish Temple, on South Vine street, now 7th Avenue North, was dedicated.
1877 - Air Mail - The world's first air mail stamp was printed in Nashville for use on the 1877 hot-air balloon mail run from Nashville to Gallatin.
1877 - Telephone Service - Nashville was the first city in the south to receive telephone service in 1877. By 1883 the telephone directory was one page long and contained 350 names.
1878 - First African-American Councilman - The first African-American city councilman was James Carroll Napier, who served three terms from 1878-1889. Napier, a prominent lawyer, was appointed Registrar of the United States Treasury in 1911 under President Taft.
1879 - Maxwell House - December 25th, 1879 the high fashion Maxwell House offered the following for Christmas fare: Cumberland Mountain Black Bear leg, Kentucky Raccoon, Canvas-back duck and Wild Goose. For dessert; English Walnut cake and Oranges in Sherry Wine.
1880 - Andrew Jackson - The equestrian statue of General Andrew Jackson on the State Capitol grounds was unveiled during the 1880 Nashville Centennial. Five veterans who had served under Jackson were present for the ceremony.
1882 - Electric Lights - The first electric light was lit at the State Capitol on May 1, 1882.
1883 - Electric Street Lights - On June 12 1883, Alderman McWhorter moved for passage of a bill providing for lighting the streets of the city, and contracting with the Brush Electric Light Company for two hundred lights for that purpose. The motion was passed with a vote of ten to four. – Metro Archives, Minutes, Regular Meeting Board of Aldermen
1885 - Sports - The Nashville Athletic Club and the Nashville Football Club played their first game on Thanksgiving Day, 1885. The Nashville Athletic Club won with a final score of 6-4.
1886 - Old Glory - Capt. William Driver dies and is buried in Nashville's historic City Cemetery. Driver named the American Flag "Old Glory" and it was his flag that rose over the state capitol when Nashville fell to Union Forces. Although Capt. Driver's loyalties remained with the Union, three of his sons served in the Confederate army and one of them died from wounds suffered in battle.
1886 - Woodland Street Bridge - In April 1886, the Woodland Street Bridge opened and was used for 80 years. The bridge, was 639 feet long and 54 feet wide and was built of wrought iron. A new structure at the same site, also called the Woodland Street Bridge, opened December 1, 1966. It was the first Cumberland River bridge built under Metropolitan Government.
1890 - Electric Street Car - The first electric streetcar ran from Fourth and Charlotte to Tenth Avenue on December 10, 1890. Electric streetcar service ended in February, 1941.
1892 - Record Snow Fall - On March 16th and 17th, 1892, Nashville received a record snow fall of 17 inches in a 24 hour period and 21 inches over two days.
1894 - Hay Market - The City Hay Market was located a few blocks south of the Public Square, on Fourth Avenue South between McGavock and Demonbreun Streets. It was used mainly for the sale and swapping of horses, mules and cows. The hay brought in for the animals gave the market its name. --Metro Archives, Nashville Annual Report 1894
1896 - First Baptist Church Capitol Hill - The Gothic Revival building on Eighth Ave., erected in 1896 was a new home for a congregation that had begun in 1848, as a slave mission of the white congregation of First Baptist Church. It became a center for participants in the civil rights struggle of the 1960's. First Baptist, threatened by urban renewal around Capitol Hill was forced to move in 1971 down the hill to James Robertson Parkway. - Interview, Dr. Bobby L. Lovett, 2002. A Brief History of First Baptist Church, Capitol Hill: An Afro-American Journey of Faith, 1865-2001,
1897 - Nashville's First Automobile - The first car in Nashville was a Mueller-Benz driven in the Tennessee Centennial Day Parade, October 28, 1897.
1900 - Union Station - The grand Union Station opened to passenger traffic in 1900 and continued to serve in that capacity until the late 1970's. Alligators once lived in fountains around Union Station but their constant croaking finally caused their removal in the early 1900s.
1903 - Turnpike Fees - The Nashville and Hillsboro Turnpike Company charged $.03 for horse or mule, $.20 for 20 sheep and $.25 for beef cattle. The Turnpike closed in 1903.
1904 - Citizens Bank - The One Cent Savings Bank, now Citizens Bank, became the first minority owned bank in Tennessee in 1904. Citizens Bank is the oldest continually operating minority owned bank in the United States.
1904 - Street Name Changes - In 1904 the name of the streets running north and south from the square and beyond, were changed to numbers as follows: Front Street became 1st Avenue; Market became 2nd; College became 3rd; Cherry became 4th; Summer became 5th; High became 6th; Vine became 7th; and Spruce Street became 8th Avenue.
1905 - Underground Utility Lines - In about 1905, the Tennessee Legislature considered passage of an Enabling Act, giving Nashville the right to issue bonds for the construction of a subway and conduit system, and to compel the Telephone, Electric Light, and other companies to place overhead wires in this conduit, for a rental fee. The measure was supported by Davidson County legislators but was not passed. -- Metro Archives, Hickman Collection,-- Memoirs of Judge Litton Hickman 1906 - Greenwood Park - Preston Taylor established Greenwood Park at the corner of Elm Hill Pike and Spence Lane for the Black community. The privately owned park covered about 40 acres and included a club house, shooting gallery, merry-go-round and baseball park.
1907 - Wild West Show - Buffalo Bill Cody arrived in Nashville on October 2, 1907 with 63 train cars of cowboys, dancing girls, wild Indians and 550 horses.
1907 - Humane Society - The Nashville Humane Society proclaimed in 1907 that there are "ten drinking fountains for stock, including the handsome bronze fountain ...which are a great convenience and benefit."
1909 - The Shelby Avenue Bridge - The nearly identical Shelby and Jefferson Street Bridges, were completed in 1909 and 1910. They were constructed by the Foster and Creighton Company. The Shelby Street Bridge crossed the river from Sparkman Street downtown to Shelby Avenue in East Nashville. Sparkman Street, Shelby Avenue and Hay Market Bridge were among the names proposed, but the bridge committee chose "Broadway Bridge" instead. The bridge came to be called the Sparkman Street Bridge and later the name Shelby Street Bridge was unofficially adopted. 1910 - The Jefferson Street Bridge - The Jefferson Street Bridge crosses the river from Jefferson Street downtown to Spring Street in East Nashville. The original Jefferson Street Bridge was demolished in 1992. A replacement, opened in 1994, was officially dedicated to honor the Rev. Kelly Miller Smith, a Nashville civil rights pioneer. 1910 - Marathon Motors - Southern Motor Works produced the Marathon Automobile in Nashville from 1910-1914. The plant, still standing on 12th Ave. North and Clinton St., provided parts and service until closing in 1918.
1912 - Nashville City Reservoir - The Reservoir, located on 8th Avenue South was built between 1887 and 1889. In 1912, the southeast wall broke, spilling millions of gallons of water to neighborhoods across 8th Avenue. Many houses were destroyed but no one was killed.
1913 - Standard Candy Company - "In 1913, an American company called Standard Candy created the first amalgamated candy bar by adding multiple ingredients to form one piece of candy. Their Goo Goo Cluster, a Southern favorite combined milk chocolate, caramel, marshmallow and nuts." - Candy: The Sweet HistoryBeth Kimmerle
1916 - East Nashville Fire - Nashville's worst fire occurred in East Nashville on Wednesday, March 22, 1916. 648 buildings were destroyed, 3,000 left homeless yet only one life was lost.
1918 - Dutchman's Bend Train Wreck - A train accident occurred in Davidson County in July of 1918, at Dutchman's Bend near the present day Belle Meade Shopping Center. Two trains of the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railroad collided and over 100 people were killed.
1922 - The Fugitives - In 1922, a group of 16 Southern poets associated with Vanderbilt University published the first issue of The Fugitive magazine, beginning the southern literary revival of the 1920s. The members of the Fugitives were John Crowe Ransom, Donald Davidson, Allen Tate, Robert Penn Warren, Merrill Moore, Jesse Wills, Alec Brock Stevenson, Walter Clyde Curry, Stanley Johnson, Sidney Mttron Hirsch, James M. Frank, William Yandell Elliott, Laura Riding, William Frierson, Ridley Wills, and Alfred Starr.
1927 - War Memorial Building - Authorized in 1919 as a memorial to Tennesseans killed during the First World War, the War Memorial building on Capitol Boulevard was completed in 1927. Victory Square Park was located across Capitol Boulevard from the building. Deaderick Street, for a time renamed Victory Boulevard, allowed an excellent view from Public Square. Victory Square park was replaced by the Legislative Plaza in the early 1970's.
1927 - Cumberland River Flood - On January 1, 1927 the Cumberland River rose to 56.2 feet at the Nashville gauge, the highest recorded flood waters in the city. 1928 - Grand Ole Opry - In Nov. of 1925, the radio show WSM Barn Dance was first broadcast from Nashville as George D. Hay, producer of the WSM Barn Dance coined the name Grand Ole Opry in 1928, while opening his weekly radio show. The live show was first performed in the studio of the National Life & Accident Insurance Company and was relocated several times it's audience grew. In 1943 it moved into the Ryman Auditorium. The Ryman was home to the Opry until 1975, when the show moved to the new Grand Ole Opry House on Briley Parkway. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Ole_Opry
1930 - Speed Limit - In 1930 it was illegal in Nashville to drive a car faster than 15 miles per hour through an intersection.
1933 - East Nashville Tornado - The storm which caused extensive property damage and several deaths in East Nashville, also took a toll on the public square. More than a dozen buildings, most on the north side of the square suffered damage, and losses were estimated at more than $500,000.
1937 - New Market House - In September of 1935, property was acquired on the north side of the Public Square for a new City Market House. Designed by architect Henry C. Hibbs, the building was constructed by the firm of Foster and Creighton. Completed in 1937, this would be the last Market House on the Nashville Public Square. Now the oldest building remaining on the Public Square is the one which was the beginning of the end for the "old Square.' Known today as the Ben West Building, it is used by Metro General Sessions Courts. --Metro Archives, Creighton Collection
1937 - Fifth Courthouse - The present Courthouse completed in 1937, was designed by architects Emmons H. Woolwine of Nashville and Frederic C. Hirons of New York. The cornerstone was laid Aug. 10, 1936, and the building dedicated Dec. 8, 1937. The building is 8 stories high and measures 260 feet by 96 feet. --Metro Archives
1946 - Moon Beams - Nashville native Jack DeWitt made headlines around the world when he be came the first man to bounce radar off the moon. DeWitt designed a device during WWII to detect location of enemy mortars. DeWitt and his device are credited with saving thousands of lives during the war.
1949 - The Board of Magazine Censors - Created by city ordinance, the Board of Magazine Censors had the authority to "ban immoral, obscene or vulgar materials, with the exception of newspapers." -- Metro Archives
1951 - Blizzard of '51 - January 31, 1951 will always be known as day of the "Great Blizzard." Over 16,000 homes were without power and over 2,000 telephones were out during a period when the temperature dropped to -13 degrees.
1951 - African American City Council Members - Z. Alexander Looby and Robert Lillard elected to the City Council, the first African-Americans to win seats in that body since 1911.
1952 - Old Hickory Dam - Constuction on Old Hickory Dam began in 1952 and was completed in 1957, creating Old Hickory Lake.
1956 - Victory Memorial Bridge - In 1949 Governor Gordon Browning signed a bill authorizing construction of a bridge to serve as a memorial to Tennesseans who lost their lives in World War II. The Victory Memorial Bridge opened in May of 1956. Eventually plaques listing the names of every Davidson County resident who died in service during World War II were placed at the west end of the bridge. A dedication ceremony in honor of War dead, held May 30, 1964, was presided over by Mayor Beverly Briley.
1957 - The Life and Casualty Building, tallest building in the Southeast opens for business.
1961 - Maxwell House - On Christmas Day 1961, the Maxwell House Hotel, located at 4th and Church, was destroyed by fire. Construction of the building was started in 1859 and it used as a hospital during the Civil War. After the war the building was finished and was a find hotel for many years.
1980 - North Side Public Square - In 198 only a few old buildings on the Public Square, all on the North side, remained. These last hold-outs were torn down for the construction of the Criminal Justice Center, dedicated in October 1982.
1998 - Nashville Tornado - Closely following the path of the deadly 1933 tornado, this storm caused extensive damage in the city. Dozens of buildings in Downtown Nashville suffered structual damage and more than 300 houses in East Nashville were damaged. 2003 - Shelby Avenue Bridge - The Shelby Avenue Bridge, closed to automobile traffic in 1998. Both the East and West approaches were demolished and reconstructed, and now fall short of the original landing. The bridge reopened in 2003 as a pedestrian bridge.
2004 - Gateway Bridge - The Gateway Bridge spanning the Cumberland River from Shelby Avenue in East Nashville to Franklin Street in downtown Nashville opens on May 19th.
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