Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Nashville-The Music City

Nashville is probably known for the Grand Ole Opry more than anything else. Having started around 1929 as a live radio broadcast from the 5th floor of an insurance building, local musicians, mostly bluegrass, would come by and play a song or two. After a short time it was known if you could get on the 'opry', you could probably be successful in the music business. About 1934 it needed a new place to broadcast from and they moved to the Belcourt Theater and became more structured. Now you were invited to play and had a scheduled time spot. They broadcast at the Belcourt for about 5 years, then moved to the Ryman Theater. They remained there until about the 1970s when they built a venue just for the Grand Ole Opry. But in 1983 the insurance company who originally financed and owned the 'opry' was bought out by American General, who were not interested in keeping the show. Fearing they might have to close their doors, E. K. Gaylord, a media mogul from Oklahoma City, stepped in and bought The Grand Ole Opry, saving the day. This was most interesting to me since I grew up in OKC and knew Gaylord had once owned a radio station, tv station and the local newspaper until the government made him sell off the newspaper.

The same media company I grew up around in OKC.

Across the street from the Opry is Gibson Guitar. Usually you can watch their craftsman at work on new instruments, but they had already gone home when I got there.

Here I am with Minnie Pearl (not the real one of course).

One of the performers I saw was Darious Rucker, previously a rocker turned country.

And here is Little Jimmie Dickins who is reported to be 88 years old and still performing. Altogether I saw 8 acts the night I attended the Opry.

The building since 1969.

But downtown Nashville is still where many famous country musicians get their start. Here is one of the most popular places for those who have already made it big. The Wildhorse Saloon also is where many country music videos have been made. We had lunch here and I even danced on the largest dance floor in Nashville.

Advertising their place is one of the many horse statues.

Here is another. I am not posting any more, but believe me, there were at least 1/2 dozen more around the place and some even on the ceiling.

But the up and coming stars play around the block on Broadway. Here is a group at Roberts.

And Legends.

But the most popular is Tootsie's. There is live music at over a dozen bars from 2pm to 2am, changing bands every 4 hours. You can just wander up and down the street catching different venues all evening long, every night of the week. Most of the places have autographed pictured of all the people who have played there on their way up.

One the corner of Broadway, outside Legends.

Down several blocks was Union Station, now a Wyndham Historic Hotel. Originally the trains ran underneath the waiting area, but after they closed the station in1975, the tracks were rerouted.


They still have one of the schedules on the wall.

Not far from downtown is a park where the Parthenon is located. Built as an exact replica of the original Parthenon in Greece for the 1897 Tennessee Centennial Exposition, it was supposed to be a temporary building. In fact it is the only building built for the expo still standing. It stood until 1921 but the citizens convinced the city government to rebuilt it as a permanent structure. It was finally finished in 1931.

These bronze doors are 7.5 tons, 24 feet high and 1 ft thick, but because they are on a balanced hinge system they can be moved by the human touch. It's true because I moved them.

Athena, to whom the Parthenon was built to honor, is so large, the statue in her hand is 6 ft tall.

This is what the Parthenon in Greece looks like. Not quite as well maintained as the one in Nashville.

Here is what the 1897 Tennessee Centennial Exposition looked like. The Parthenon was only one of several large reproductions of buildings from around the world. All were built as temporary buildings and none were left standing, except for the Parthenon, by the turn of the century.

Inside the state capital. I thought this was a beautiful wrought iron staircase.

Outside the capital with some friends. Wait, I'm not in the picture. Oh yeah, I'm taking the picture.

Across the street was this wonderful Greek revival building which is another state office building.

One day we did drive down to Murfreesboro, the site of Stone River Battlefield. It really doesn't take much to amuse us. But look, he can't be dead, he has a smile on his face!

William Holland was one of the first freed black men after the Union won Murphreesboro. He went on to become an aide to one of the generals and enlisted and fought in the Union Army. He returned to Murphreesboro and was the first keeper for the National Cemetary. He bought property nearby and had a farm. He asked to be buried on his farm instead of in the National Cemetary and was granted his wish. His grandson is also buried in this location. They are the only private burials on the National Park Battlefield.

This time we had someone else take the picture, so I am with the group.

It always amazes me how close up these battles were fought. One located where the fence is today and you can see the cannons of the other side. Why didn't they go hide behind trees and sneak up on their opponents?


Diana said...

I love Nashville, and you've done a great job with it. Thanks!

firesign58 said...

Ed Gaylord is truly everywhere. The area we are looking to farm is in the triangular 'sweet spot' from Chattanooga to Cookeville to Knoxville and back to Chattanooga. If you happen to be back in that area and see some good bottomland cheap let us know!! LOL!!