NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — When traveling to or around Nashville, one building residents and visitors alike can look for as the sign they’ve made it to town is the AT&T Building, also known as the Batman Building.

The nickname, though unofficial, has been around since the building was constructed in the early 1990s due to the resemblance the building’s twin spires have to the iconic caped crusader’s cowl. Considered one of the more modern skyscrapers in Nashville, it stands 632 feet tall—the tallest building in Nashville.

  • Nashville skyline, TN State Capitol Bldg. 1940s
  • Nashville skyline, TN State Capitol Bldg. 1960
  • The skyline of Nashville, Tennessee as seen from the Ellington Parkway.
  • Nashville skyline, TN State Capitol Bldg. 1973
  • Nashville Skyline with riverboat ca 1994
  • Nashville skyline South to North CA 1997
  • Nashville skyline with bridges ca 2004
  • Nashville skyline from bridge ca 2004
  • Downtown Nashville ca 2008
  • Downtown Nashville ca 2008
  • Nashville skyline ca 2009
  • AT&T, Batman building ca 2011

But what were the recognizable landmarks before it was constructed?

Prior to the AT&T Building’s construction, local historian David S. Ewing said most of the city’s skyscrapers were built as hotels or for bank offices.

“In the ‘70s and ‘80s, most of the other tall buildings in our skyline were built as hotels or by banks,” he said, noting that many businesses fled downtown Nashville during an economic downturn. “Really the only people that kind of stayed down there were the bankers and the lawyers.”

Nashville Mid-1970s
Nashville Mid-1970s: Courtesy of Metro Nashville Archives

Another iconic skyline landmark prior to 1994 was the L&C Tower, home of Life & Casualty Insurance company. The building, located at 401 Church St., was the first major construction in downtown Nashville after World War II, according to the Nashville Downtown Partnership. Built in the mid-1950s, it was considered the first modern skyscraper and was the tallest building in the southeast until the mid-1960s.

TN State Capitol 1946 (Tennessee State Library and Archives)

Then there’s the State Capitol Building, located at 600 Capitol Blvd. A National Historic Landmark, the Tennessee State Capitol is situated on the tallest hill in the city center.

The building, made of Tennessee limestone in the Greek Revival Style by architect William Strickland, is considered one of the oldest capitol buildings still in use.

Per the Tennessee State Museum, the cornerstone was laid on July 4, 1845, and construction was completed in 1859.