|610 21st Avenue North, photo courtesy of Carol Norton.|
Every now and again an old building located at 610 21st Avenue North pops up in the news. There has been a recent claim that the building was built about 1865. This is a misconception that needs correcting. A page from the 1889 Hopkins Atlas of Nashville shows the site that would become Standard Snuff. In 1889 there were no buildings on the property.
|Hopkins Atlas of Nashville, 1889, plate 11.|
This property was owned by the W. B. Cooper estate when it was subdivided and sold in 1898. Standard Snuff bought the property that year for $3300 and proceeded to build a new building. At the time of purchase, a notice ran in a local newspaper that ground would be broken about the first of September for three planned buildings. The first would be the factory at a cost of $35,000. A storehouse and a warehouse were also planned.
|Tennessean, August 26, 1908|
In May of 1902, a drawing showing three buildings was published with the declaration that Standard Snuff was the largest independent snuff factory in the world.
|Nashville American, May 18, 1902|
The building in the middle, shown from the rear, near the railroad tracks is the only one remaining today. The map below from 1908, shows only two buildings. Perhaps a third building was never constructed. Or the third building in the drawing could be from the J. H. Bradford Company next door. Adams & Price was located on the J. H. Bradford property on the 1889 map.
|1908 Atlas of Nashville, TSLA|
A deed search of the property shows that the buildings were used by these tobacco companies until 1949. Standard Snuff, American Snuff, Weyman-Bruton Snuff, and United States Tobacco. In January of 1949, United States Tobacco sold the property and building(s) to Eighth Avenue Realty Company. The sale included equipment, fixtures, and machinery, excluding tobacco and tobacco handling equipment. The deed does not mention if there was more than one building on the property. The address has changed over the years from the 2000 block of Jo Johnston to 600 and later 610 21st Avenue North. Eighth Avenue Realty sold the property in 1976 to Johnny-Reb Corporation owned by Arthur J. Rebrovick. In the year 1991, with an address of 600 21st Avenue North, the property was conveyed to Southern Business Insurance Group, Incorporated. Since 1991 there have been six additional owners.
The current owners have plans to restore and repurpose the building. It will be converted to condominiums. A new building that will also house condominiums is to be constructed as well. It is important for historical structures to be preserved. And it is just as important that the historical facts concerning a building are correct.