Nashville, known as "Music City" or "Athens of the South" is the capital of the U.S. state of Tennessee and the county seat of Davidson County.
is located on the Cumberland River in Davidson County, in the
north-central part of the state. The city is a major hub for
the health care, music, publishing, banking and transportation
industries, and is home to a large number of colleges and
Nashville has a consolidated
city-county government which includes seven smaller
municipalities in a two-tier system. The population of
Nashville-Davidson County stood at 626,144 as of 2008,
according to United States Census Bureau estimates. This makes
it the second most populous city in the state after Memphis.
However, the 2009 population of the entire 13-county Nashville
Metropolitan Statistical Area was 1,582,264, making it the
largest metropolitan area in the state. The 2009 population of
the Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Columbia combined
statistical area was estimated at 1,666,566.
Nashville was founded by James
Robertson, John Donelson, and a party of Wataugans in 1779,
and was originally called Fort Nashborough, after the American
Revolutionary War hero Francis Nash. Nashville quickly grew
because of its prime location, accessibility as a river port,
and its later status as a major railroad center. In 1806,
Nashville was incorporated as a city and became the county
seat of Davidson County, Tennessee. In 1843, the city was
named the permanent capital of the state of Tennessee.
By 1860, when the first rumblings
of secession began to be heard across the South, antebellum
Nashville was a very prosperous city. The city's significance
as a shipping port made it a desirable prize as a means of
controlling important river and railroad transportation
routes. In February 1862, Nashville became the first state
capital to fall to Union troops. The Battle of Nashville
(15-16 December 1864) was a significant Union victory and the
perhaps most decisive tactical victory gained by either side
in the war.
Though the Civil War left
Nashville in dire economic straits, the city quickly
rebounded. Within a few years, the city had
reclaimed its important shipping and trading position and also
developed a solid manufacturing base. The post-Civil War years
of the late 19th century brought a newfound prosperity to
Nashville. These healthy economic times left the city with a
legacy of grand classical-style buildings, which can still be
seen around the downtown area.
It was the advent of the Grand
Ole Opry in 1925, combined with an already thriving publishing
industry, that positioned it to become "Music City
USA"., and in the early 1960s the city was
home to the main activity of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.
In 1963, Nashville consolidated its government with Davidson
County and thus became the first major city in the United
States to form a metropolitan government.
Since the 1970s, the city has experienced tremendous growth,
particularly during the economic boom of the 1990s under the
leadership of Mayor (now-Tennessee Governor) Phil Bredesen,
who made urban renewal a priority, and fostered the
construction or renovation of several city landmarks,
including the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Nashville Public
Library downtown, the Bridgestone Arena, and LP Field.
The Bridgestone Arena (formerly
Nashville Arena, Gaylord Entertainment Center, and Sommet
Center) was built as both a large concert facility and as an
enticement to lure either a National Basketball Association or
National Hockey League (NHL) sports franchise.[citation
needed] This was accomplished in 1997 when Nashville was
awarded an NHL expansion team which was subsequently named the
Nashville Predators. LP Field (formerly Adelphia Coliseum) was
built after the National Football League's (NFL) Houston
Oilers agreed to move to the city in 1995. The NFL debuted in
Nashville in 1998 at Vanderbilt Stadium, and LP Field opened
in the summer of 1999. The Oilers changed their name to the
Tennessee Titans and saw a season culminate in the Music City
Miracle and a close Super Bowl game.
Today the city along the
Cumberland River is a crossroads of American culture, and one
of the fastest-growing areas of the Upper South.
Nashville lies on the Cumberland
River in the northwestern portion of the Nashville Basin.
Nashville's topography ranges from 385 feet (117 m) above sea
level at the Cumberland River to 1,160 feet (350 m) above sea
level at its highest point.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a
total area of 526.1 square miles (1,363 km2), of which, 502.3
square miles (1,301 km2) of it is land and 23.9 square miles
(62 km2) of it (4.53%) is water.
Nashville has a humid subtropical
climate, with short, generally mild winters, and hot and humid
summers. In July, morning lows average around 70 °F (21 °C)
and afternoon highs average 89 °F (32 °C). In January, morning
lows average around 28 °F (−2 °C) and afternoon highs average
46 °F (8 °C). The coldest temperature ever recorded in
Nashville was −17 °F (−27.2 °C), on January 21, 1985, and the
highest was 107 °F (42 °C), on July 28, 1952. In the winter
months, snowfall does occur in Nashville but is usually not
heavy. Average annual snowfall is about 10 inches (250 mm),
falling mostly in January and February and occasionally March
and December. The largest snow event since 2000 was on January
16, 2003, when Nashville received 7 inches (18 cm) of snow in
a single storm; the largest on record was 17 inches (43 cm),
received on March 17, 1892. Average annual rainfall is 48.1
inches (1,220 mm), typically with winter and spring being the
wettest and autumn being the driest. Spring and fall are
generally pleasantly warm but prone to severe thunderstorms,
which occasionally bring tornadoes — with recent major events
on April 16, 1998; April 7, 2006; February 5, 2008; April 10,
2009; and May 1–2, 2010. Relative humidity in Nashville
averages 83% in the mornings and 60% in the afternoons, which
is considered moderate for the Southeastern United States. In
recent decades, due to urban development, Nashville has
developed an urban heat island (UHI); especially on cool,
clear nights, temperatures are up to 10 degrees warmer in the
heart of the city than in rural outlying areas.
Nashville's long springs and
autumns combined with a diverse array of trees and grasses can
often make it uncomfortable for allergy sufferers. In 2008,
Nashville was ranked as the 18th-worst spring allergy city in
the U.S. by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
The downtown area of Nashville
features a diverse assortment of entertainment, dining,
cultural and architectural attractions. The Broadway and 2nd
Avenue areas feature entertainment venues, night clubs and an
assortment of restaurants. North of Broadway lies Nashville's
central business district, Legislative Plaza, Capitol Hill and
the Tennessee Bicentennial Mall. Cultural and architectural
attractions can be found throughout the city.
The downtown area of Nashville is
easily accessible. Three major interstate highways (I-40, I-65
and I-24) converge near the core area of downtown, and many
regional cities are within a day's driving distance.
Nashville's first skyscraper, the
Life & Casualty Tower, was completed in 1957 and started the
construction of high rises in downtown Nashville. After the
construction of the AT&T Building in 1994, the downtown area
saw little construction until the mid-2000s. Many new
residential developments have been constructed or are planned
for the various neighborhoods of downtown and midtown. A new
high rise office building, The Pinnacle, was recently opened
Many civic and infrastructure
projects are either being planned, in progress, or recently
completed. A new MTA bus hub was recently completed in
downtown Nashville, as was the Music City Star pilot project.
Several public parks have been constructed, such as the Public
Square. Riverfront Park is scheduled to be extensively
updated. The Music City Center, a convention center project,
has been approved for the downtown area and is currently under
PARKS & GARDENS
Metro Board of Parks and
Recreation owns and manages 10,200 acres (4,120 ha) of land
and 99 parks and greenways (comprising more than 3% of the
total area of the county).
Warner Parks, situated on 2,684
acres (1,086 ha) of land, consist of a 5,000 square-foot (460
m²) learning center, 20 miles (30 km) of scenic roads, 12
miles (19 km) of hiking trails, and 10 miles (16 km) of horse
trails. It is also the home of the annual Iroquois
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
maintains parks on Old Hickory Lake and Percy Priest Lake.
These parks are used for multiple activities including
fishing, water-skiing, sailing and boating. Percy Priest Lake
is also home to the Vanderbilt Sailing Club.
Other notable parks in Nashville
include Centennial Park, Shelby Park, and Radnor Lake State
Nashville has the largest
metropolitan area in the state of Tennessee, spanning several
counties. The Nashville Metropolitan Statistical Area
encompasses the Middle Tennessee counties of Cannon, Cheatham,
Davidson, Dickson, Hickman, Macon, Robertson, Rutherford,
Smith, Sumner, Trousdale, Williamson, and Wilson. The 2009
population of the Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Columbia
combined statistical area was estimated at 1,666,566.
Much of the city's cultural life
has revolved around its large university community.
Particularly significant in this respect were two groups of
critics and writers who were associated with Vanderbilt
University in the early twentieth century: the Fugitives and
Popular destinations include Fort
Nashborough and Fort Negley, the former being a reconstruction
of the original settlement, the latter being a semi-restored
Civil War battle fort; the Tennessee State Museum; and The
Parthenon, a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in
Athens. The Tennessee State Capitol is one of the oldest
working state capitol buildings in the nation, while The
Hermitage is one of the older presidential homes open to the
Nashville has a vibrant music and
entertainment scene spanning a variety of genres. The
Tennessee Performing Arts Center is the major performing arts
center of the city. It is the home of the Tennessee Repertory
Theatre, the Nashville Opera, and Nashville Ballet. In
September 2006, the Schermerhorn Symphony Center opened as the
home of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra.
As the city's name itself is a
metonym for the country music industry, many popular tourist
sites involve country music, including the Country Music Hall
of Fame and Museum, Belcourt Theatre, and Ryman Auditorium.
Ryman was home to the Grand Ole Opry until 1974 when the show
moved to the Grand Ole Opry House nine miles (14 km) east of
downtown. The Opry plays there several times a week, except
for an annual winter run at the Ryman.
Numerous music clubs and honky
tonk bars can be found in downtown Nashville, especially the
area encompassing Lower Broadway, Second Avenue, and Printer's
Alley, which is often referred to as "the District".
Each year, the CMA Music Festival
(formerly known as Fan Fair) brings thousands of country fans
to the city.
Nashville was once home of
television shows like Hee Haw and Pop! Goes the Country, and
to the Opryland USA theme park, which operated from 1972 to
1997 before being closed by its owners Gaylord Entertainment,
and soon after demolished to make room for the Opry Mills
The Christian pop and rock music
industry is based along Nashville's Music Row, with a great
influence in neighboring Williamson County. The Christian
record companies include EMI Christian Music Group, Provident
Label Group and Word Records.
Kirk Whalum visiting the audience
at a riverfront concert in 2007Although Nashville was never
known as a jazz town, it did have many great jazz bands
including The Nashville Jazz Machine led by Dave Converse and
its current version, the Nashville Jazz Orchestra, led by Jim
Williamson, as well as The Establishment, led by Billy Adair.
The Francis Craig Orchestra entertained Nashvillians from 1929
to 1945 from the Oak Bar and Grille Room in the Hermitage
Hotel. Craig's orchestra was also the first to broadcast over
local radio station WSM-AM and enjoyed phenomenal success with
a 12-year show on the NBC Radio Network. In the late 1930s, he
introduced a newcomer, Dinah Shore, a local graduate of Hume
Fogg High School and Vanderbilt University.
Radio station WMOT-FM in nearby
Murfreesboro has aided significantly in the recent revival of
the city's jazz scene, as has the non-profit Nashville Jazz
Workshop, which holds concerts and classes in a renovated
building in the north Nashville neighborhood of Germantown.
Fisk University also maintains a jazz station.
Civil War history is important to
the city's tourism industry. Sites pertaining to the Battle of
Nashville and the nearby Battle of Franklin and Battle of
Stones River can be seen, along with several well-preserved
antebellum plantation houses such as Belle Meade Plantation,
Carnton plantation in Franklin, and Belmont Mansion.
Nashville has several arts
centers and museums, including the Frist Center for the Visual
Arts, Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art, the
Tennessee State Museum, Fisk University's Van Vechten and
Aaron Douglas Galleries, Vanderbilt University's Fine Art
Gallery and Sarratt Gallery, and the Parthenon. The Nashville
Zoo is one of the city's newer attractions.
LP Field Nashville has several
professional sports teams, most notably the Nashville
Predators of the National Hockey League and the Tennessee
Titans of the National Football League. Several other pro
sports teams also call Nashville home, as does the NCAA
college football Music City Bowl. The Vanderbilt Commodores
are members of the Southeastern Conference. The football team
of Tennessee State University plays its home games at LP
As the "home of country music",
Nashville has become a major music recording and production
center. All of the Big Four record labels, as well as numerous
independent labels, have offices in Nashville, mostly in the
Music Row area. Since the 1960s, Nashville has been the second
biggest music production center (after New York) in the
U.S. As of 2006, Nashville's music industry is estimated
to have a total economic impact of $6.4 billion per year and
to contribute 19,000 jobs to the Nashville area.
Although Nashville is renowned as a music recording center and
tourist destination, its largest industry is actually health
care. Nashville is home to more than 250 health care
companies, including Hospital Corporation of America, the
largest private operator of hospitals in the world. As of
2006, it is estimated that the health care industry
contributes $18.3 billion per year and 94,000 jobs to the
Nashville-area economy. The automotive industry is also
becoming increasingly important for the entire Middle
Tennessee region. Nissan North America moved its corporate
headquarters in 2006 from Gardena, California (Los Angeles
County) to Franklin. Nissan also has its largest North
American manufacturing plant in Smyrna, Tennessee. Largely as
a result of the increased development of Nissan and other
Japanese economic interests in the region, Japan moved its New
Orleans Consulate-general to Nashville's Palmer Plaza.
Other major industries in Nashville include insurance,
finance, and publishing. The city hosts headquarters
operations for several Protestant denominations, including the
United Methodist Church, Southern Baptist Convention, National
Baptist Convention, USA, and the National Association of Free
Fortune 500 companies within Nashville include Dell, HCA Inc.
(formerly, Hospital Corporation of America) and Dollar General
Corporation (in Goodlettsville).
Courtesy of Wikipedia.