NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Every year, Historic Nashville releases its Nashville 9, a list of endangered historic properties threatened by neglect, demolition, or development. As Nashville continues to grow at a rapid pace, preserving historic properties is more important than ever.
Brian Mansfield, the incoming President of Historic Nashville, said that it’s much easier to learn about the history of the city when you can see where it happened, “Nashville is a city of stories and storytellers. It is much easier to tell stories about a place when you can see the place that had happened.”
This year’s list includes an old coca-cola bottling plant, the interior of the Woolworth Building, and four Second Avenue buildings among others. It’s not necessarily the architecture that makes these buildings special, it’s the events that happened inside them.
Four of the buildings on this year’s Nashville 9 are on Second Street and were heavily damaged by the Christmas Day Bombing. “The buildings on Second Avenue are some of the oldest remaining warehouse and retail front buildings in the country. And it is one of the few areas where there are very strong historic protections in place in terms of zoning,” said Mansfield.
Before the bombing, the exterior of those Second Avenue buildings looked the same as they did over a century ago.
“The First Avenue side was where you unloaded things off the river. So the riverboat, the barges, and the delivery boats would come in, and you’d take things off the boats, and you’d take put them in the First Avenue side. And then Second Avenue was the front-facing area – that was pretty much shops and retail in a commercial district for many years.”
Historic Nashville worked quickly after the Christmas Day Bombing to save what they could from those Second Avenue buildings including bricks and other historic materials. They have also had easements on these buildings since the 1980s. As construction continues, those buildings won’t look the same but the hope is to preserve as much as possible.
“There’s no way that that stretch of Second Avenue will look exactly the same as the buildings that those of us who grew up here knew in the 60s and 70s and before, but you also want to keep as much of what made that area historic, even while you’re rebuilding and renovating the remnants of those buildings,” said Mansfield.