|East Nashville, 1939. Metro Nashville Archives, Walter Williams Collection. The Meridian Street Viaduct is visible in the upper portion of the photo. The large building in the foreground was the Genesco Shoe Factory on Main Street at Fifth.|
Finding a better way to get from the North Edgefield area to Edgefield proper was a problem from the beginning of residential development in the area. Flooding of the Cumberland forced backwater across North First Street, then known as White's Creek Turnpike. The flood water and numerous springs, also filled in the low area of land, that is now a railroad bed and the path of Ellington Parkway. Different solutions were sought and by the early 20th century a path from Main St. through North Seventh, hooked up with Foster Street. It was a long way around, but was sometimes the only passable route. The trip was especially unhandy for an East Nashville resident wanting to visit the business district, located on North First Street.
Talk of a bridge across the low lying railroad gulch, went on for years. A newspaper reporter, wrote that the section was often cut off from the rest of the city. It finally became a reality in the early 1920's, when bonds were issued for what would be known as the Meridian Street Viaduct. The bridge would be constructed from where Meridian Street intersected Spring Street, spanning the gulch and rail yards, and ending near Main Street at North Third. Construction was begun, in 1923, by the Foster-Creighton-Gould Company.
The bridge was completed and opened for use in May of 1924. The viaduct cost 300,000 dollars. An official celebration was held on August 6, 1924, at McFerrin Park. About 500 people attended. Among the speakers was United States Congressman Joseph W. Byrns, a former resident of East Nashville. Professor J. J. Keys, of Hume Fogg High School, hailed the viaduct "as the greatest achievement in the history of East Nashville." Professor A. C. Webb, local artist and Superintendent of Drawing in the Nashville Public Schools presented a report on several recently completed public works projects. Both Keys and Webb, lived in Northeast Nashville.
The Meridian Street Viaduct would serve the Northeast Nashville community for many years. I don't know the date when the bridge was demolished. It was taken down in advance of the construction of Interstate 65 (now designated as I-24), through East Nashville.
|This 1939 image shows flooding on North First Street near Foster Street. Image from Corps of Engineers.|
|This 1939 image shows flooding on North First Street at Spring Street. Image from Corps of Engineers.|