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Downtown Nashville

The world lost an extraordinary woman on April 22nd, 2021, when former State Senator Thelma Harper passed away. After making history by becoming the first African American female elected to the State Senate, her work of shattering ceilings was far from over. Here's a look back at her impressive career and generous life. 

Keeping the streets, rivers, and neighborhoods clean in this city over the years hasn't been easy, but one of the ways was with the City Beautiful Commission, that was established in 1953. In honor of Earth Day, here's a look at the commission that helped clean up the streets and neighborhoods in Nashville. 

Most citizens of this city that have lived here for a few years know what I'm referring to when I say the "Edgehill Polar Bears", but do you know the history of them? Well here are the "bear" necessities.

While September is normally my month for educational posts, I'm bypassing that this year for something different - new images and footage! As a continuation from a previous post with old photos, this post includes a slideshow of a collection I've been processing the past few weeks, plus some new footage from our Audiovisual Heritage Center. 

Since we're closed, here's a virtual tour of Metro Archives' current exhibit of "Nashville Voices - 36 Notable Women of Nashville", as it's finished right now. And discussing one of the recently added women in the display - Dr. Josie E. Wells...maybe a couple more individuals as I continue working

This month's Nashville history post is letting photography do the talking, with a variety of slideshows for all to enjoy. Starting with a tribute to all medical workers for their dedicated service during these trying times, to finishing with a little more of "Some Good News - Archives Edition." 

With the changing times and means to educate while schools are closed, it can be difficult for parents-now-turned-teachers to homeschool on such short notice, and possibly without a lot of resources. That's where Metro Archives and the Library come in handy. And who says educating can't be fun? So here's a word search I created with words and names pertaining to the founding of the city of Nashville. 

Borrowing John Krasinski's idea of reporting "Some Good News" during these troubling times, here are some historic news clippings from past pandemics or epidemics that have affected Nashville. But instead of including news articles about the actual devastation from the illnesses, these are more positive stories during the same time frame or at least examples of positives from the desolation.  

2020 is an important anniversary year for a couple of reasons. Most notably is the 19th Amendment, which we'll be celebrating with a new permanent exhibit in Special Collections (in addition to a few other temporary exhibits in the building). But another important Amendment went into effect 100 years ago this month that had a long-lasting impact on the country, and that's Prohibition.

This time of year may mostly be associated with the various holidays we celebrate, but it's also well-associated with cold, awful weather (except for these past few weeks) and keeping ourselves warm with our HVAC systems. However, there was a time in Nashville's past that staying warm also meant being covered in soot as well. 

September of this year has come and gone, and so has 50 years since the release of the The Beatleslast and arguably most iconic album, Abbey Road. Read a little about the history of the album and about The Beatles in Nashville (separately unfortunately, never together). 

As part 1 of a 2-part series about the local photography institution that is Dury's, and also in honor of National Photography Month, read about how one of Nashville's oldest businesses got its start and has remained a successful and beloved business in Nashville all of these years. 

The Nashville Room has a small exhibit of photographs to celebrate the availability of a new collection documenting the activities of the YWCA Blue Triangle Branch. Come see our resources!

One of our most-utilized resources here in Special Collections is the Nashville Banner clippings: articles about every aspect of Nashville life from the 1950s through the 1990s. In this post, I use Banner clippings to tell you the story of two popular types of night spot entertainment: mechanical bull riding and karaoke!

Anyone that's ever walked down Charlotte Ave, right next to the Capitol, is familar with the statues surrounding its borders (or maybe you're not, that's possible too). But if you are, Sam Davis is on the southwest corner and Sgt. Alvin C. York is on the southeast. But are you familiar with who's standing in the middle, somewhat leering over all who walk beneath him? Or better yet, why he's there?

Every October, the Southern Festival of Books: A Celebration of the Written Word, turns our “it city” into “lit city.” With three days of thoughtful, exciting programming, this event has long been a fall-time favorite, appealing to more than just bookworms. I investigated the roots of this community-building festival using primary and secondary sources from NPL Special Collections.

Who loves talking about the weather?! Me, that's who! Did you know the early beginnings of the National Weather Service was actually under the U.S. Army in what was called the Signal Service? Actually it's not that surprising, but what might be is that here in Metro Archives, we have several of their original journals from the Nashville station. Read on if you're intrigued...

 

Registration for the 8th Annual LEGO Competition is open! Calling all brick builderskid, teen, and adult! 

If the name "Paula Herring" sounds familiar to you, then you already know where this blog post is going. But if not, keep reading. I'm about to tell the gruesome tale of young Paula's murder back in 1964, from the info provided by Michael Bishop in his new book, A Murder in Music City: Corruption, Scandal, and the Framing of an Innocent Man.   

Nashville Public Library is excited to help celebrate the 125th anniversary of Ryman Auditorium and host Ryman Auditorium: Soul of Nashville, a brand new art exhibit exploring the iconic venue’s rich history. The exhibit is on display at NPL’s Main Library downtown from October 21 through February 25. 

Prior to the opening of the Nashville Zoo in Cheatham County, in 1991, the city came close to purchasing animals for a zoo around the time the Metro Government formed (1963). I recently stumbled upon this intriguing story and thought it was too good not to share. 

June 1, 1796 was the birth year for Tennessee as a state. Feels like it was just yesterday. In honor of its many years since, here's a brief recap of its birth and how the state chose to celebrate each of its earned centennials. 

Nashville may be known as Music City, but we also LOVE our professional sports – whether the boys have sticks, bats, or footballs, fans will turn out to cheer on our local teams.

In honor of African American History Month, I'm recognizing the first African American woman elected to the Tennessee State Senate—Senator Thelma Harper of District 19. Prior to her 1991 historic election to the State Senate, Harper served 8 years on Davidson County's Metro Council.  

Hard to believe it's been 18 years since the Titans' first game in their new home and in their new jerseys. Throughout many seasons, players, and a couple of coaches, the team has remained a hometown favorite (well, in my opinion - my favorite) and that includes its stadium. 20 years ago this May, construction began on the field that was initially crowned "Adelphia Coliseum." Would you believe Metro Archives has several photographs taken of the construction process? If you enjoy a little Titans nostalgia like I do, check out some of the best photos below. 

December 10th is Human Rights Day and the library has the information to help you answer "What is that?"

Did you know that Nashville has a history with the Olympics? It's not a big one mind you, but it exists. Today, we recognize the 1996 Olympics as the last Summer Olympics that any U.S. city hosted, and that was in Atlanta (Salt Lake City hosted the Winter Olympics in 2002). But what about Nashville? A lot of people might think we're too small and don't have the infrastructure, but that wasn't the concern many years ago when Nashville put together a pretty strong campaign to host the 1996 Olympics. 

53 years ago, the government that Nashville now knows well as the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County was implemented, consolidating 2 separately-operating governments into one. Learn a little more about that consolidation process and how it has defined us as a city today.

I transferred to the Archives a month ago and I've been trying to learn all that I can about the Archive's collections. One of the coolest collections I recently stumbled upon is the small collection we have for the Nashville College for Young Ladies. In honor of Women's History Month, what better topic to discuss than women's education?