Thriving. Eclectic. Historic. Hip. Four words the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation uses to describe East Nashville. It is also a community continually working to shake a reputation based in part on perception and reality.
Native Nashvillians will speak of it as a place they were wary of venturing to 20 years ago. Crime has been a longstanding concern. MNPD officers in East Nashville told News 2 in August that community involvement has been crucial in seeing a reduction in violent crime.
Despite ongoing efforts to fight crime, high-profile cases have kept the community in an unfortunate spotlight. The murders of Brandon Teal and Jaime Sarrantonio in the parking lot of The Cobra bar on August 17 rocked a community already reeling from the killing of Kendall Rice, shot to death three days earlier during a robbery attempt as he walked to a bus stop.
Vogue magazine dubbed East Nashville the city’s “coolest neighborhood” in a 2016 profile. Nearly three years later, the community remains a microcosm of the historic growth that continues across the Music City. Hanging onto the old, but also bringing in plenty of new. Home values are through the roof, as location and an energetic vibe attract those who want to be part of the scene.
Some of the city’s notorious traffic woes have spilled over into East Nashville, but several business owners are seeing dividends. “Watching just the architecture, all the features of the city, watching it grow vertically, has really been amazing,” says Anne Nicholas Weiss, whose family liquor store goes back three generations. “The density that’s changing down here, I guess, it’s not something we really foresaw 30 years ago,” she added.
East Nashville is a survivor. The community has endured some of the city’s worst disasters. A fire in 1916 destroyed more than 500 homes. F-3 tornadoes in 1933 and 1998 tore through the area, leaving significant paths of destruction. The 1998 twister alone caused $100 million in damage.The tragedies brought recovery and change to East Nashville, street by street, as neighbors helped neighbors rebuild. It’s a spirit that lives on today.
News 2 is digging deeper into the ongoing evolution of East Nashville. We have special reports on the good, the bad and the future of the community .
News 2 tracks the historic growth in Middle Tennessee with our special Nashville 2019 reports. Click here to learn more.
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