Sunday, September 27, 2015

Lindsley Hall, The Old and the New

On several occasions, I have been asked about Lindsley Hall, a building that was a part of the University of Nashville. Called College Hill and Rutledge Hill, the campus of the University of Nashville, was situated on this hill, to south and above downtown Nashville.  The map shows the layout of the campus in 1908.  Both the original Lindsley Hall and the Chapel Building, which has come to be called Lindsley Hall, are shown.  Market Street, now Second Avenue South runs along the west side, which was the front of the campus

Hopkins Atlas Of Nashville, 1908

 The Old Lindsley Hall

 The original Lindsley Hall was a three story building that was northeast of the chapel building. The photo of the building below, was taken in 1864, during the U. S. Civil War.  The building was being used as a hospital for Federal Officers.  

Lindsley Hall - Hospital for Federal Officers, 1864. (Library of Congress)

Lindsley Hall, (South Nashville Life)

Sanborn Insurance map, Nashville, 1888

On this map we have the advantage of seeing both the old and the new as they were located in 1888.  This corresponds with the 1908 map posted earlier on the page.

The Old Lindsley Hall, 1888

The New Lindsley Hall, Chapel Building, 1888.

 The New Lindsley Hall

The two story building that we know today as Lindsley Hall was a part of the university campus.  It thought to have originally been the Literary Building of the University of Nashville.  It was designed by Adolphus Heiman and constructed in 1853.  It was known early as the Stone Building, and is designated on city maps, in 1888 and 1908, as the Chapel Building.  The photo below was likely taken from the third floor of the original Lindsley Hall building. The two story building in the foreground is the same building, that is today called Lindsley Hall.

View of Nashville, 1864. (Library of Congress)

Below is an early view, date and original source is unknown. I found this and another photo on a blog called South Nashville Life.

New Lindsley Hall, University of Nashville. (South Nashville Life)

This postcard view, from the collection of Nashville historian Mike Slate, is labeled University of Nashville.  It was likely made when the State Normal College, later George Peabody College, occupied the campus.

University of Nashville. (Mike Slate Postcard Collection)

The image below is familiar to many Nashvillians, over the age 50.  In the late 1960's when this photo was taken, Lindsley Hall was home to the Nashville Children's Museum.  Nashville students, in the 1950's and 60's enjoyed many school field trips to the museum.  It was also a favorite weekend and summer destination for children and their families.

Lindsley Hall and Children's Museum, Nashville TN, circa 1967. (Library of Congress)

This is Lindsley Hall today. It began to be called Lindsley Hall sometime in the 20th century, after the original had been demolished.  The building is now used for Metro Government Offices.  The original Lindsley Hall was named in honor of  Dr. Philip Lindsley, the first president of the University of Nashville.

Lindsley Hall, By Nyttend (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A composite of three photos taken in 1864, by George N. Barnard from the original Lindsley Hall building, University of Nashville.  These photos can be found on the Library of Congress website. 

Nashville, A Short History and Selected Buildings, edited by Eleanor Graham. Metro Historical Commission, 1974.
Nashville Local Landmarks,,
Library of Congress, Prints and Photos Index,
Composite photo 1,
Composite photo 2,
Composite photo 3,
Mike Slate Postcard Collection,
Hopkin's Atlas of Nashville, 1908
Sanborn Insurance Map, 1888 


  1. Thanks. As I read, I kept thinking, "Looks like the old Children's Museum..." and near the end you validated my recollection. Most things from half a century ago are a little fuzzy these days... glad I held onto this childhood memory.

  2. Debbie, great pics! What was the fate of the original 3 story hall building?

  3. I did not know this was the original Children's Museum, as grew up in the 70's with that being at its present location (now called the Adventure Science Center) but wasn't this building the original Children's Theatre for all the years of the 1970's-90's?

    1. The Children's Theater was housed at this site, in a building, that was either attached or adjacent to the Lindsley Hall building, starting in 1960. The Children's Museum was in the Lindsley Hall building.

    2. Children's Theater was in an attached building on the side of Lindsley Hall towards downtown.

  4. Great post. I have the privilege of working in this historic building and have enjoyed reading about the stories of its existence.


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