Sunday, September 21, 2008

Inglewood Area Trivia

The land on which much of Inglewood is located was a 640 acre tract granted by the State of North Carolina to John Evans in the 1780's. William Williams purchased the land from Evans about 1810 and Williams family members lived on the land for the next 100 years. Other 18th century land owners in our neighborhood were Daniel Dunham, Ephraim McLean and Ned Carvin who was killed in an Indian raid while working in his fields.  The maps shows the location of original land grants in Inglewood.  The "big spring" on the Buchanan tract is located where Home Depot meets Briley Parkway, today.  A few modern streets are noted on the map, to help you get your bearings.



The first preacher to settle permanently in Davidson Co., was Thomas B. Craighead. He first lived, about 1785, in a log structure which was the beginnings of Evergreen. The Home Depot Store which opened in 2008 is located on the Evergreen property. By 1795 Craighead had built a brick home just to the north of his log house. This two story brick house was sold after Craighead’s death to the Walton family. Emily Donelson Walton, who lived there for many years, named the home Glen Echo. A diagram of the Glen Echo property shows a large Indian Mound on the front lawn of the house. These mounds were built by Native Americans during the Mississippian Period, A.D. 900 -1550 and were used as a base, or substructure, for temples and houses for the elite members of the community.

Glen Echo, the second home of Rev. Craighead, built about 1795.  Image courtesy of Betty Hadley

Spring Hill Cemetery was established about 1785 on land adjacent to the Spring Hill Presbyterian Meeting House. The meeting house was used by students of Davidson Academy. Craighead was the schoolmaster.

The Nashville National Cemetery on Gallatin Road was established in 1866 for re-interment of Civil War battle dead and soldiers who died while held prisoner or who died in hospitals.

Nashville National Cemetery, established in 1866

A Masonic Orphan's and Widow's Home was located on the present Hart Lane on land donated by Jere Baxter. Later the property was site of a tuberculosis hospital. Today the property is home to several state agencies. Jere Baxter, owner of the Tennessee Central Railway, owned a large farm in Inglewood. His home, Maplewood, was at the end of Curdwood about two locks west of Gallatin Road.

Masonic Orphan's and Widow's Home

In the late 19th century the Davidson County Asylum for the Poor was near the location of the Inglewood Kroger store.

Dr. Shackletts house, Davidson County Asylum, Inglewood. - photo from George Zepp


The original Inglewood subdivision was on the East side of Gallatin Rd. and included Kirkland, Shelton, Greenfield, Howard, McChesney, Stratford and Marion Avenues. Most of the streets were about 3 blocks long running back to Oxford Ave. Maplewood Land Company subdivided and developed land for residential use on the west side of Gallatin Road.

Inglewood Place subdivision

Inglewood had a thriving business community in the 1950's and 1960's. There were several grocery stores, including two H. G. Hill stores, one near Trinity Lane and another near Howard Ave. There were nearly a dozen restaurants from Trinity Lane to the present Briley Pkwy. Lots of gasoline stations, auto repair shops and new and used car dealers. There were radio repair shops, jewelers, druggists, clothing stores, photographers, dry cleaners, a florist, a piano store, a gift shop, a tailor, a nursery and a hobby shop. And there was a newspaper office which published the Independent News magazine.

Malone's Market - image from Ralph Mitchell

Robert Hall, Inglewood - image from Ralph Mitchell

Phillip and Robinson, Inglewood - image from Ralph Mitchell

Southern T.V. & Appliance, Gallatin at Trinity Ln. - photo from Terry Crunk
Gallatin near Trinity Ln. - Jimmy Ellis The Tennessean

There is a church on almost every corner in the Inglewood community.  Some of the buildings have undergone changes over the years, but most have active congregations.  The Inglewood Methodist Church had to redo the front of the building when Gallatin Road was widened.  It looks quiet different today.  Eastminster Presbyterian, moved from East Nashville to Inglewood in 1945.  A few years ago the steeple was removed from the building and is now located in the church yard. (A reader informed me that the steeple was never placed on the church.)

Eastminster Presbyterian Church, Inglewood - Metro Nashville Assessor

Jackson Park Church of Christ, Inglewood - Metro Nashville Assessor


Inglewood Methodist Church, showing original facade - Ridley Wills Colletion, MNA

Inglewood once had a movie theater. The 1000 seat theater was built in 1950 by Crescent Amusement Co. The last movie was shown in 1975. The building was used for many years after the theater closed by Joywood Salvage Co. The theater building was demolished a few years ago for the construction of Eckerd.

Inglewood Theater, Metro Nashville Archives


Before consolidation of the Davidson County and Nashville City governments in 1963, Inglewood was serviced by a privately owned police and fire department. The Inglewood-Madison Police & Fire Dept was at 4014 Gallatin Road near McAlpine Ave.

Ardee Avenue was originally named Mildred Avenue and McGavock Pike was Maxey Lane at Gallatin Road and then changed to Williams Ferry Road as it got closer to the river.  Maxey Lane was named for the Maxey family who owned a large farm on Gallatin Road in the area of McGavock Pike.  Williams Ferry Road was named for the Williams family who owned much of the land in what is now Inglewood throughout the 19th century.  A Mr. Williamson, who lived across the river in Pennington Bend, actually ran the ferry for awhile.  A few times I have seen the road on our side as Williamson Ferry Road on a old map.

One of the things that continues to make Inglewood a special place are the homes along Gallatin Road.  At one time, every major highway leading into Nashville was lined with homes.  In most areas of Davidson County they have all been demolished. 

Gallatin Rd., Inglewood - Metro Nashville Assessor

Gallatin Rd., Inglewood - Metro Nashville Assessor

Gallatin Rd., Inglewood - Metro Nashville Assessor

Gallatin Rd., Inglewood - Metro Nashville Assessor

Gallatin Rd., Inglewood - Metro Nashville Assessor

Gallatin Rd., Inglewood - Metro Nashville Assessor



Click here to see a list of Businesses and Residents along Gallatin Pike from 1950 to 1980.


Click here to read another story about Inglewood

Feel free to add your own memories in the comment box. I grew up in East Nashville and moved to Inglewood in the late 1970's so there is much that I don't know. Creative Commons License
Inglewood Area Trivia by Debie Oeser Cox is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Minutes of the Davidson County Court concerning the Court House

An edited version of this report was published here - http://www.civicscope.org/nashville-tn/CourthousesofDavidsonCounty



First Courthouse, 1785

The building of the first Courthouse was authorized by the Davidson County Court at the October Term 1783. “The Court then proceeded to fix on a place for Building of a Courthouse & Prison, and agree that in the present situation of the Settlement that it be at Nashborough and Built at the Expense of the Publick. And that the size of the Courthouse be eighteen feet square in the body with a Leanto Shade of twelve feet on the one side of the length of the House. And that the house be furnished with the necessary benches, Barr, Table &c fit for the Reception of the Court.”

“Davidson County. Nashborough Apr. 5, 1784. The court met at the house where Jonathan Drake lately lived.

“Davidson County Courthouse in Nashville July 8th 1785 Court met according to Adjournment.”

“State of North Carolina Davidson County Courthouse in Nashville, Jan. 1, 1787.”

“ North Carolina. Davidson County Courthouse in Nashville, July 1789”

“Courthouse Nashville, Oct. 14, 1791.”

“Court met at the house of Mr. Gunn in Nashville, Jan. 14, 1792.“

“Davidson County Courthouse in Nashville. April 10, 1792”

In April of 1792 the court “ordered that David Hay repair the Court house by Making Two Doors well fixed and Hung with three window shutters well hung; and the house Well chinked. And the seats and the Clerks Box and Table repaired and the house sweeped washed & cleaned.”

“Court met at the house of James Robertson in Nashville tenanted by Mr. Maze. April 12, 1792”

“Courthouse in Nashville, July 9, 1792,”

“Courthouse in Nashville, Oct 16th 1793”

“Court Met Oct 17, 1794 at the Courthouse.”

“Davidson County Jan 14, 1795. Court met at the house of Mr. Maxwell in Nashville.”

“Court met April 16, 1795 at the Courthouse.”

“Jan. 13, 1796, Nashville. Court adjourned to the house of James Maxwell where they met immediately. “

During the First General Assembly of the State of Tennessee an act passed April 22, 1796 “for the relief of such persons as have or may suffer by the loss of the records of the court of equity,” the preamble states that “Whereas the office of the clerk and master of the court of equity for the district of Mero, was lately destroyed by fire and the book records and papers thereof were lost, whereby many persons are or may be injured, etc.” Source for above - Nashville Banner March 12, 1936

“Court met at the Courthouse, July 11, 1796.”

“Courthouse, Nashville, Apr 11, 1797”

“Davidson County Courthouse, Oct. 12, 1797.”

“July 10, 1798, Court met at the Courthouse in Nashville.”

“Oct. 12, 1798, Court met at the house of William Lewis in Nashville.”

“Jan, 14, 1799, Court met at the Courthouse in Nashville.”

“July 8, 1799, Courthouse in Nashville.”

“Jan. 13, 1800, Courthouse in the town of Nashville.”

“Oct. 13, 1800, Courthouse in the town of Nashville.”

“Apr. 13, 1801, Courthouse in the town of Nashville.”

“Oct. 12, 1801, Courthouse in Nashville.”

“Apr. 12, 1802, Courthouse in the town of Nashville.”

“July 12, 1802 Court met according to adjournment at Courthouse, Nashville.”


Second Courthouse, 1802

“(Oct. 14, 1802) Court appointed Joel Lewis John Anderson and Joseph Coleman Esqrs commissioners to contract with some suitable person for one year to take charge of the Courthouse by seeing that the same be kept clean, Doors and Windows Opened & Shut and Necessary Repairs done on the most Reasonable Terms for which they shall be paid out of any money in our County Treasury not otherwise Appropriated; Nine Justices concurring and sd Commissioners to Direct person thus Imployed (in Rescess of the Courts), to say when the doors may be Opened.”

Davidson County Court, Oct 15, 1802, page 367, “Court adjourns for five minutes, to meet in the new Courthouse. Court met according to adjournment in the New Courthouse where was present…”

Davidson County Court, April Term 1804, “The Court also then appointed Joseph Coleman and Thomas Deaderick Esquires Commissioners to contract with some suitable person to purchase a Bell to be hung in the Courthouse in Nashville, the cost of Which Bell When Delivered at the Courthouse Aforesaid is not to Exceed Two hundred Dollars.”

Davidson County Court, October Session, 1804, “Ordered that the County Trustee pay to Deadrick and Tatum the Sum of One hundred and Twenty Two Dollars out of the first monies that may come into his hands belonging to the publick and others was Appropriated ____ for monies by them Expended in purchasing and hanging of the Bell in the Courthouse in Nashville.”

Davidson County Court, July Session 1806, “When Joseph Coleman and Thomas Deadrick is appointed commissioners to Let to the lowest bidder the Painting of the Roof and Steps of the Courthouse in the town of Nashville provided that doing of the same Do not Exceed the sum of Two hundred Dollars.”

Davidson County Court, April Session 1809, “Ordered that the courthouse be Open and free for Publick Worship to be held therein by any Denomination of Christians having _______.”

Davidson County Court, July Session 1811, “Ordered that the Sheriff procure the windows of the Courthouse to be Repaired and Secured by Springs or Otherwise on the lowest Terms that any person can be had to do the same.”

Davidson County Court, January Session 1821, “Same Court present when it is ordered that the Sheriff of this county let out to the lowest bidder the repairing of the steps and floor of the courthouse the putting of one lock on the doors below and two on the doors above stairs and furnishing a rope to ring the bell with and having so done report to the present or ensuing court when appropriations will be made.”

Davidson County Court, October Session 1822, “Same court present when it is ordered that the Sheriff of this county proceed immediately after the rise of this court to have the windows of the court house glazed, the opening at the head of the Stairs closed, leaving a door there to which he shall have a shutter made and to have the two stoves places one on each side of the house behind the bar with pipes extending so as to render the house comfortable for the different courts that are to set here during the winter. And that the order of the work or furnish materials for the same shall be a sufficient voucher to the County Trustee to pay them the amount said Sheriff may direct out of any county money in his hands not otherwise appropriated.”

Davidson County Court, October Session 1822, “When it is resolved that our representative be requested at the next session of the Legislature of this State to have a law passed authorizing a Tax to be laid on the citizens of Davidson County to raise a sum not exceeding five thousand dollars to make an addition and other improvements to the Courthouse in said County, and that Robert Weakley, Robert C. Foster, William B. Lewis and Joseph T. Elliston be appointed commissioners to have this order carried into effect as it regards the improvement to said Courthouse as soon as practicable and to superintend the same.”

Davidson County Court, January Session 1823, “When it is resolved by the court that the Representatives from the County to the next General Assembly be requested to procure the passage of a law authorizing the County Court of the county to raise a sum of money by Taxes in three annual installments sufficient to build a new courthouse for said county. And it ordered that the order and resolution heretofore entered into on this subject be recinded.”

Davidson County Court, October Session 1825, “When the Court appoints Joseph W. Horton, Joseph T. Elliston, Elihu S. Hall and Joseph Norvell Esquires, commissioners to determine whether it is expedient upon the whole in order to the comfortable accommodations of the courts that are to set in Nashville this winter, to have the old courthouse repaired or another house procured. If they decide in favor of repairing they are to employ someone to repair by putting in new glass and closing all openings. If they decide in favor of renting another house, they are to rent and in either case the Sheriff is to draw for the expenses on the county Trustee who is to pay such drafts.”

Davidson County Court, January Session 1826, “…lay such a tax on the several species of Taxable property and polls in this county as will raise the sum of five thousand dollars per year for three successive years making the sum of fifteen thousand dollars to be appropriated to the purpose and use of building a Courthouse in this county”

Davidson County Court, October Session 1827, “Ordered that the Sheriff of this county have the Courthouse repaired by having the Sash and Glass put in, Locks or bolts put on the doors and the stoves set up and fixed for use for which appropriation will be made at next court out of the Taxes of 1827. And the court also direct said Sheriff to keep the said Courthouse locked up when no court is in Session.”

Davidson County Court, April Session 1829, “When it is ordered that the commissioners appointed to superintend the building of the New courthouse be and they are hereby authorized to sell and have removed the old courthouse after giving ten days notice of the time and place of selling the same.”


Third Courthouse, 1829


“The principle room (in the new Market House) likewise will be convenient for other public purposes, and is now occupied by the Supreme Court of Tennessee, which holds it’s present session there, in consequence of the dilapidated state of the old court house and the unfinished condition of the new one.”

“We hope soon to see the old market house demolished, and we trust the old court house will soon – very soon—follow. The latter building is really unfit for use. The last term of the Circuit Court was held in the Corporation Hall of the new Market House, and we presume that an apartment in the new Court House may be so far completed before the next term of the county court, as to admit of it’s being held there. The square may be graduated and rendered as level as practicable. The part which lies between the continuation of Market Street and that of Water Street will constitute a very handsome Courthouse yard, with broad and convenient streets on every side of it.” Nashville Banner and Nashville Whig, January 24, 1829.

October Session 1829, “Same Court present when Charles Biddle esquire who was heretofore appointed by this court as their agent to settle and adjust at his discretion the account of Davidson County against the General Government for the rent of their Courthouse for the United States courts to sit in, Made report that he had settled said account and had procured for this County the sum of $7881.89 cents for the rent of the courthouse from the 2nd April 1798 to the 31st December 1825 and that said sum is now deposited to the credit of the County in the Branch Bank of the United States at Nashville.”

October Session 1831, “Same Court present when the court unanimously appropriated the two large rooms in the third story of the Courthouse now occupied by the Senate and House of Representatives of the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee for the exclusive use of the Legislature so long as they may think proper to continue their Sessions in Nashville.”

The Courthouse burned between 2 and 3 o’clock, Sunday morning, April 13, 1856. Tennessean 10/13/1935

In the county court minutes is written, “Monday Morning April 14, 1836 Court met pursuant to adjournment at the State House in Nashville (the Court House having been burned down)…”



Fourth Courthouse, 1857


On May 10, 1856, the court met in the Market House. “…the County Court will build a Courthouse on or near the center of the Public Square in Nashville, and in such building provide a suitable room for the meeting of the city council, with its offices, and a public room or hall of sufficient size for all public meetings of the city and council, if the Mayor and Alderman will remove their Market House from the Public Square and incur the expense of enclosing a sufficient area around the Court House, planting it in trees, grass & c., and leaving the grounds at all times free and open for proper use and enjoyment by the people of the county and city.”

Davidson Co. Court Jan. 5, 1857, “When it was ordered by the court that Frank Strickland be employed at a salary of one thousand dollars per annum as architect of the court house.”

Architect W. Francis Strickland, son of William Strickland designer of the Tennessee State Capitol, was commissioned to build a new courthouse on the site of the burned Courthouse. The Greek design chosen by Strickland was very similar to the Capitol building which he had completed after the death of his father. It had a basement and three stories above ground. This Courthouse was to be 118 feet by 72 feet in size.

The building was remodeled in 1910 with an additional story added to the Courthouse.




In 1935 this building was demolished to make room for a new Courthouse. A temporary Courthouse was located in the L. Jonas Building, at 8th Ave. No. and Commerce Street. According to a newspaper article Feb., 3, 1937 there was a fire in the building and though no official records were burned some were water damaged.



Fifth Courthouse, 1937

The present Courthouse was completed in 1937. The architects, Emmons H. Woolwine of Nashville and Frederic C. Hirons of New York won an architectural competition in 1935 with their Art Deco design. The cornerstone of the building was laid Aug. 10, 1936, and the building was dedicated on Dec. 8, 1937. The general contractor was the J. A. Jones construction Company. The building is 8 stories high and measures 260 feet by 96 feet.
In October 2006 the newly renovated courthouse and a new public square park were dedicated by Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell
Copyright © 2008, Debie Cox.

Nashville's Public Square In The 20th Century

by Debie Cox

R. L. Polk’s 1931 Nashville City Directory describes the Public Square as “Bounded by 1st and 3rd avs N at beginning of Victory Blvd and Cedar.”

The first major change of the Public Square in the 20th century was on the North side in 1935, when the eastern most block was leveled for the construction of a new City Market House. In 1953 several buildings on the northern end of East side were lost to the construction of the Victory Memorial Bridge.

In 1955 the Warner, Jungerman & Jeck and Zickler buildings and others on the West side were demolished, to make way for James Robertson Parkway. These buildings were in the block running north from Charlotte. The West side buildings running south from Charlotte to Deaderick, now site of a parking garage, were torn down in 1971. The AmSouth building, also on the West side, was built on a lot that until the early 1970’s was a block off the Square.

In 1970 many of the buildings lining the South side of the Square were torn down. By 1972 all of the South side was removed and buildings on Union Street, once a block away, became the southern perimeter of the Public Square. In 1975 the Reeves building on the North side came down.

In 1976 the remaining buildings on the East side, including the Neely Harwell Building, were demolished and the street on that side was closed. The street that ran in front of the Courthouse on the South side of the Square was closed and a parking lot was built from the front steps of the Courthouse out to Union Street.

In 1981 only a few old buildings on the Square, all on the North side, remained. These last hold-outs on the Public Square were torn down for the construction of the Criminal Justice Center, dedicated in October 1982.

Other than the courthouse the oldest building remaining today on the Public Square, built as the Nashville City Market in 1937, is the one which was the beginning of the end for the old Square. Known today as the Ben West Building, it is used by Metro General Sessions Courts.

Originally published June 28, 2005, edited September 3, 2008
http://freepages.misc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nashvillearchives/square20thcentury.html
Copyright © 2008, Debie Cox.

Nashville and Davidson County

Early History
by Debie Cox
A group led by James Robertson are considered to be the first permanent settlers to arrive in what is now Nashville/Davidson County, Tennessee. They came from the settlement at Watauga in what is now upper East Tennessee, walking overland. Along the way Robertson encountered John Rains, a former Long Hunter, and an assemblage of men and families headed from the New River area of Virginia to Kentucky. Robertson talked Rains and his group into joining him on his trek to the Bluffs of the Cumberland. Robertson and company arrived at the site in late December 1779.
John Donelson arrived in April of 1780 with a large group, aboard a flotilla of flatboats. The families of many of the men who had come earlier with Robertson, traveled with Donelson.

Most often referred to as French Lick Station by early pioneers, the main station at the bluff was formally called Nashborough. In addition the Cumberland Settlements was comprised of a number of other forts, some established before the arrival of the Robertson/Donelson group. Freeland's, a short distance north of Nashville was where James Robertson lived. Eaton's was across the river to the northeast. John Donelson's station was at Clover Bottom on Stones River. There were several stations in what is now Sumner County and a fort was located at Red River where the Renfroe's had settled.

In May of 1780, the Cumberland Compact was endorsed as the governing document of the Cumberland Settlers. The Compact listed the names of 255 men who were living in the area. Many of the names are in groups, written in the same hand, perhaps signed by representatives from the stations scattered across the settlement.


Davidson County created 1783

Davidson County was officially established in April of 1783 by an act of the North Carolina legislature. It was named for General William Lee Davidson, an officer of North Carolina in the Revolutionary war.
"Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, and it is hereby Enacted by the authority of the same, that all that part of this State lying west of the Cumberland Mountain where the Virginia line crosses, extending westward along the said line to Tennessee River, thence up said river to the mouth of Duck River, thence up Duck River to where the line of marked trees run by the commissioners for laying off land granted the Continental Line of this State intersects said river (which said line is supposed to be in thirty-five degrees fifty minutes north latitude) thence east along said line to the top of Cumberland Mountain, thence northwardly along said mountain to the beginning, shall after the passing of this Act be and is hereby declared to be a distinct county by the name of Davidson."

Town of Nashville established 1784

In 1780, the Cumberland Compact referred to the settlement on the bluff above the Cumberland River as Nashborough. Nashborough was also the name used in the minutes of the Davidson County court which commenced in the fall of 1783.

In April of 1784, the legislature of North Carolina passed an act that made the town official, changing the name to Nashville. The bill set aside "two hundred acres of land, situate on the south side of Cumberland River, at a place called the Bluff, adjacent to the French Lick, in which said Lick shall not be included, to be laid off in lots of one acre each, with convenient streets, lanes, and alleys, reserving four acres for the purpose of erecting public buildings, on which land, so laid off according to the directions of this act, is hereby constituted and erected, and established a town, and shall be known and called Nashville, in memory of the patriotic and brave Gen. Nash." Five Trustees were appointed to handle the business of the town and a treasurer was named. A plan of town lots of one acres each and a public square of four acres was surveyed. Proceeds from the sale of the lots was to be used to build a courthouse and a jail on the public square.

In November of 1801
an act provided for the election of seven commissioners of the town. An election was to be held on the first Saturday in April. The commissioners would appoint a clerk, a treasurer and a person to be in lead commission meetings, to be known as the Intendant. Among the duties of the commissioners were to appoint an overseer of the streets and a surveyor for the town. They were to see to the building of a Market House on the public square. An annual tax was imposed upon the citizens of the town to fund the duties and requirements of the commissioners, not to exceed 50 cents on each $100 worth of property, $1 on each white poll and $5 on each billiard table.

In August of 1804 the necessity of a well on the public square led to the enactment of a new tax. The fees were not to exceed 12 and half cents on each $100 worth of property, 12 and half cents on each white poll and 25 cents on each black poll, $1 on each stud horse and $3 on each wholesale and retail store.

On September 11, 1806
an act to incorporate the town of Nashville was passed by the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee. The act instructed the sheriff of Davidson County to hold an election at the court house in Nashville, on the first day of October in each year to elect a mayor and six aldermen to serve for a term of one year, unless re-elected. On October 1, Joseph Coleman was elected as the first Mayor of Nashville. James Hennan, George M. Deaderick, John Dickinson, Robert Searcy, Joseph T. Elliston and James King were elected as Aldermen. Other officials were John Anderson as Recorder and John Deatheredge as High Constable.

Originally published 1/25/2006
Copyright © 2006, Debie Cox

Nashville's Bridges Across the Cumberland River

by Debie Cox
 
The plan of the first bridge across the Cumberland River was proposed by the citizens of Nashville in 1818. Erected where the present Victory Memorial Bridge is located, at the northeast corner of the Square across to Main Street, it opened in June of 1823. The covered bridge had windows along the sides to provide light. When it was built water craft was small and the structure was only 75 feet above the low water mark. The bridge was demolished in 1851 because the larger steam boats of the mid-century were unable to pass under.

The next bridge across at Nashville, erected in 1850, was a suspension bridge designed by architect Adolphus Heiman. (see note below) The bridge was 700 feet long and 110 feet above low water mark. This structure was at the site of the present Woodland Street Bridge. It was destroyed in the spring of 1862, during the Civil War, when the evacuating Confederate Army cut the suspension cables and the bridge fell into the Cumberland.

After the war, a new bridge was built, using the same support towers. It replaced the suspension bridge at this location. This toll bridge opened in June of 1866. In 1886 a new, stronger bridge was erected. Named the Woodland Street Bridge, it remained in service for 80 years. A new structure at the same site, also called the Woodland Street Bridge, opened December 1, 1966. It was the first Cumberland River bridge built under Metropolitan Government.

In 1949 Governor Gordon Browning signed a bill authorizing construction of a bridge to serve as a memorial to Tennesseans who lost their lives in World War II. The Victory Memorial Bridge opened in May of 1956. Eventually plaques listing the names of every Davidson County resident who died in service during World War II were placed at the west end of the bridge. A dedication ceremony in honor of War dead, held May 30, 1964, was presided over by Mayor Beverly Briley.

The Shelby Avenue Bridge completed in 1909, and the nearly identical Jefferson Street Bridge, completed in 1910, and were built by the Foster and Creighton Company of Nashville.  The Shelby Avenue Bridge crossed the river from Sparkman Street downtown to Shelby Avenue in East Nashville. This bridge had originally been planned to cross from Broadway to East Nashville and the bridge committee was named the Broad Street Bridge Company.  After the downtown crossing was moved south from Broad to Sparkman Street (later McGavock), Sparkman Street, Shelby Avenue and Hay Market Bridge were among the names proposed, but the bridge committee chose "Broadway Bridge" instead.  The bridge came to be called the Sparkman Street Bridge and later the name Shelby Avenue Bridge was unofficially adopted. The Shelby Avenue Bridge was closed to automobile traffic in 1998.

The original 1910 Jefferson Street Bridge, crossing the river from Jefferson Street downtown to Spring Street in East Nashville, was demolished in 1992. A replacement, opened in 1994, was officially dedicated to honor the Rev. Kelly Miller Smith a Nashville civil rights pioneer.

The interstate 65 bridge opened on Jan. 14, 1964. Mayor Briley officially dedicated the bridge and Mrs. Silliman Evans. Sr. cut the ribbon to formally open the bridge. It was named in honor of Tennessean publisher Silliman Evan. A change in the naming of the interstate system in Nashville now has this bridge designated as part of interstate 24.

In May of 2004 the newest bridge to cross the Cumberland at downtown Nashville opened. Originally named the Gateway Bridge, but renamed in Jan. 2006 by the Metro Council as the “Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge,” the span connects East Nashville to downtown. The six lane, 1660 foot long span replaced the historic Shelby Avenue Bridge which now serves as a pedestrian bridge.

Republican Banner Sept 19, 1850.  The article says the architect was Captain Fields.


Originally Published June 28, 2005, Updated 2017.
Copyright © 2005, Debie Cox.