History Gram - February 2020

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February 2020


MHC News

The MHC dedicated two new historical markers in January for the Dr. A.I. Myhr House and Loveless Cafe, both in Bellevue. Thanks to all those who came out for this day of marker dedications.

Norwegian-born Dr. A.I. Myhr was the State Evangelist and Secretary of the Tennessee Missionary Society for over 20 years and his 1906 home, "Maple Row," is now used as a clubhouse for the Ashley Green community. Thank you to the residents of Ashley Green, who funded this marker and opened the Myhr House to guests for the ceremony!


(L to R) MHC Commissioner E. Menié Bell, CM Gloria Hausser (front), Caroline Eller (staff), Commissioners Clay Bailey, Chris Cotton and Lynn Maddox. Credit: MHC.

Loveless Cafe is one of Nashville's most well-known and beloved restaurants, having served travelers and visitors here since the early 1950s. Thanks to Loveless Cafe ownership and staff for hosting a wonderful dedication ceremony, complete with a delicious buffet! This marker was placed under the Council district Marker Project and selected by CM Dave Rosenberg (District 35).


(L to R) MHC staff member Caroline Eller, MHC Commissioners E. Menié Bell, Lynn Maddox and Christopher Cotton. Credit: MHC.

MHZC news

 The MHZC’s February public hearing will be on Wednesday, February 19th at 2:00 p.m. at the MNPS Meeting Room, 2601 Bransford Ave, parking and entrance off Berry Road.

View the MHZC meeting schedule and application deadlines here. Access archived videos of the MHZC meetings on the Metro YouTube channel anytime!

39th Annual Nashville Conference on African American History and Culture

It's almost time for the annual Nashville Conference on African American History and Culture! This year's conference will be held on Friday, February 14th at Tennessee State University's Avon Williams campus. Register online through February 12th. Checks may also be mailed to the MHC or made in person at our office.

For thirty-nine years, this award-winning conference has brought together historians, students, educators, community leaders and others interested in African American history and culture. This year's speakers include Katie Delmez, Frist Art Museum; Bridgette J. Jones, Belle Meade Plantation Museum; Tina Calahan Jones, African American Heritage Society of Williamson County; Brandon A. Owens, Sr., Fisk University; Lt. Col. Sharon Presley, Tennessee State University; Dr. Angela Sutton, Vanderbilt University; and Linda T. Wynn, Tennessee Historical Commission.

The theme of this year’s conference is “A Journey from Enslavement to Liberation.” Brigette Jones will speak about the enslaved experience at Belle Meade Plantation, while Dr. Angela Sutton will highlight the recent inclusion of Fort Negley as a UNESCO Site of Memory in the trans-Atlantic slave route, and Tina Cahalan Jones will discuss using U.S. Colored Troops’ records for genealogical research. With 2020 as the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, Linda Wynn will examine the dual struggles African American women faced in the quest for suffrage. Lt. Col. Sharon Presley will focus on the challenges faced by TSU graduates serving as Tuskegee Airmen, fighting for freedom abroad while being denied freedoms at home in the Jim Crow South. After lunch, Frist Art Museum curator Katie Delmez will explain the process of bringing the Murals of North Nashville exhibit to the Frist, and Fisk librarian Brandon Owens, Sr. will discuss the educational legacy of the colored Carnegie libraries in Nashville. Entertainment this year will be provided by the Tennessee State University Jazz Collegians, directed by James Sexton.

 Follow the conference Facebook page to receive updates about the event.


45th Annual Preservation Awards

The Metropolitan Historical Commission is now accepting nominations for the 2020 Preservation Awards program, honoring Davidson County's best preservation projects. Anyone may nominate buildings or structures that have been restored, rehabilitated, or carefully maintained over time. The awards also recognize well-designed new construction that harmonizes with a historic environment. To be considered, nominated properties must be located in Davidson County and, with the exception of the infill construction category, must have been built no later than 1970. Infill projects should be no older than 2018. All projects must have been completed within the past two years. Previous winners may be eligible if the work is significantly different.

A public awards ceremony will be held in May 2020 (date TBD). The Metropolitan Historical Commission must receive all nominations by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 13, 2020.

For more program details and submission instructions, please visit the Awards page!


Jefferson Street Sound Museum: Back in the Day, Shaping Tomorrow

If you are interested in Nashville's music history, a visit to the Jefferson Street Sound (JSS) Museum should be at the top of your to-do list! Lorenzo Washington is the Founder and Curator of JSS Museum, a place that bridges historic preservation with today's music and entertainment with a full-service recording studio. The JSS Museum is a product of combining his passion for preserving the "Back in the Day" music and entertainment history of Jefferson Street with his vision to turn this legacy into 'Shaping Tomorrow." A 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, the museum features artifacts, photos, videos, bios and memorabilia from artists like Jimi Hendrix, Billy Cox, Marion James, Jimmy Church, Little Richard, Frank Howard and many more. Many of the artifacts hail from the historic clubs of Jefferson Street and the artists who performed in them.

It is hard to overstate the significance of the music scene on Jefferson Street that developed during the "Golden Era" from 1935-1965. "Jeff Street," as it came to be known, boasted a bustling corridor of grand nightclubs, supperclubs, dance halls, and hole-in-the-wall 'speak easys.' The area became a mecca for locals and visitors alike who flocked to places like the Del Morocco, Club Baron and Brown's Dinner Club. JSS Museum tells the stories of this area, which Lorenzo regards as "the original Music Row." They have expanded and now also work to educate the public on Nashville's contributions to Jazz and Blues music in the mid-1990s.


Lorenzo Washington at Jefferson Street Sound Museum. Credit: JSS.

Lorenzo has been involved in the music and entertainment business for over 40 years and has been a critical force in celebrating the African American musical history of Jefferson Street. In 2010, he founded JSS Museum, the only African American music production company offering studio and rehearsal space on Jefferson Street. In 2018, Lorenzo was recognized with a Metro Historical Commission Achievement Award at the annual Preservation Awards ceremony.

JSS Museum offers many gifts and memorabilia for sale, including the Jefferson Street Sound Tree posters that showcase names of many clubs and artists from Jefferson Street's heydey. Be sure to check out the many news stories featuring the museum, and ways that you can support their mission.

Nashville Black History Tours Showcase Diverse Hidden Culture

Founded by MHC Commissioner Chakita Patterson, United Street Tours offers a wide selection of top-rated, locally-curated historical walking tours that focus on the African American experience in Nashville. Available tours include Slavery to Freedom, Secret Network of Women in Civil Rights, Nashville Black History, and a 1-Hour Local Food and History Experience option. The Slavery to Freedom tour guides visitors through Lower Broadway, to Fort Nashborough, to Riverfront Park where slaves traveled via the Cumberland River into a life of bondage and later freedom. Or the Secret Network of Women in Civil Rights tour stops at the steps of the Davidson County Courthouse, where civil right leader Diane Nash confronted the mayor demanding change--then continues on to view the powerful and hidden imagery of the Witness Walls exhibit. The 2-hour Nashville Black History walking tour traces the footsteps of legendary musicians such as Charley Pride and the iconic Fisk Jubilee Singers, while also covering early black life in Nashville and the civil rights movement. For foodies, the 1-hour Local Food and History experience allows for a comfortable give-and-take with a guide, learning about traditional Nashville cuisine and a sneak peek into the life of locals. Check out this recent article about United Street Tours.


Chakita Patterson of United Street Tours. Credit: Chakita Patterson Facebook.

Neighbor to Neighbor Trew Awards and Competitive Showcase

Neighbor 2 Neighbor recognizes the many great contributions that Nashville's neighborhood organizations make to our community's quality of life. N2N features Competitive Showcase awards which pay out cash awards for outstanding projects, events or activities carried out by local neighborhood organizations. Top prize is $500 and entries are due Friday, March 6th.

The 2020 Trew Neighbor Award honors neighbors who have gone above and beyond in their demonstration of leadership, with a commitment to building, preserving, maintaining and improving the quality of life within their neighborhoods. Deadline for nominations is Friday, March 13th.

Main Street America Small Business Grants

In partnership with American Express, Main Street America (a program of the National Main Street Center) is awarding up to $10,000 to 10 small business owners to help their businesses innovate. The American Express Future of Shopping Small Grant Program celebrates small businesses as a vital part of the economy and helps to revitalize and strengthen older and historic commercial districts. Deadline to apply is Tuesday, March 31st or whenever 3,000 applications have been submitted (whichever is sooner). Check out the program guidelines and apply online here.


Upcoming Historical Marker Dedications

On Wednesday, February 5th a new historical marker will be dedicated for Olive Branch Missionary Church. The ceremony will be held at the Cane Ridge Community Center, 6043 Cane Ridge Rd. Doors open at 8:30am and a light breakfast will be offered, the ceremony will begin at 9:15am.

The church was established in 1875, but its cemetery was in place two years earlier. For several years, services were held in a one-room school (c. 1871) until the church was built. The church was re-built in 1971, but the school was demolished due to condition c. 1980.


Olive Branch Church in 1936. Courtesy of Barbara Palmer.

On Sunday, February 9th, a new historical marker will be dedicated for Clark Memorial United Methodist Church, 1014 14th Ave. North. The ceremony will begin at 1:00 p.m. The church is celebrating 155 years of ministry.

Founded in South Nashville in 1865, the church moved to North Nashville in 1936 and its present location in 1945. This marker recognizes Clark Memorial as a site of the beginning of the civil rights movement in Nashville. The Reverend Dr. James Lawson conducted classes here in 1959 on non-violent protests and was a founding member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).


Clark Memorial United Methodist Church. Source: MHC.

A new historical marker will be dedicated for Turner Grammar School on Saturday, March 7th at 10:00 a.m. Save the date, and check back for further details!

Library Logo

History Exhibits and Programs at the Nashville Public Library

February 7--Donelson Branch--Fresh Freedom: Freedom Song Analysis--4:30 p.m.

February 24--Watkins Park--Stamp on History with Roderick Townsend--11:00 a.m.

Thru February 29--Hadley Park Branch--Retelling Nashville's Civil Rights History with Historic Photographs

What's happening in Metro Parks? 

On Thursday, February 6th, The Parthenon will host "Gender in Ancient Greece and Today." In connection with the key themes of the Parthenon exhibit Flood Lines by Tasha Lewis opening January 2020, a panel of experts will share their understanding of women and gender from ancient Greece through more modern Tennessee history, including Dr. Carroll Van West from Middle Tennessee State University and Stefanie Rome from Fisk University.

Check out Warner Park Nature Center at Night on Friday, February 7th from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Registration is not required.

On Saturday, February 8th, The Parthenon will also host the Spring 2020 Docent Class.  The Docent training program will provide the tools needed for volunteers to give tours to school groups, adult groups, and individuals. Docents will field questions, facilitate cart programs in museum galleries, give directions, and act as ambassadors for the Parthenon, Centennial Park, and Nashville. Participants will attend three training sessions on February 1, 8, and 15 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. If you cannot attend one of the trainings listed, please contact Parthenon Director of Education, Katie Petrole. Additional training sessions will be held throughout the year for temporary exhibits and continuing education on permanent museum content.Visit the Centennial Park Conservancy website to apply for the program.

Upcoming Events at Fort Negley

Fort Negley's popular Fossil Finders group will meet on Saturday, February 8th at 10:00 a.m. Join geologists and other experts in these hands-on activities and discussions.

The Nashville Civil War Roundtable will meet at Fort Negley on Tuesday, February 18th at 7:00 p.m. Historian and author Dr. Thomas Flagel will discuss "The 1913 Gettysburg Reunion."

Don't miss Community Day at Fort Negley Park on Saturday, February 29th, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Meet President Lincoln and US troops, get your hands dirty with our paleontologist-led fossil activities, enjoy the food truck festival, pick up a free wildflower seed packet to start a pollinator garden at home, check out the new Nashville Sites audio tour of Fort Negley, and more. This event is free and open to the public.

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Keep up with all recurring and special events on Fort Negley's Facebook events page!

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Slave Dwelling Project Campfire Events

On February 13th, 14th and 15th Joseph McGill of The Slave Dwelling Project will be leading campfire conversations and overnight stays at Belle Meade Plantation, Franklin Masonic Hall and Historic Travellers Rest. Each site will host a campfire conversation and overnight stay. These exchanges will explore the experience of the enslaved who lived and/or worked on these properties. Space is limited for each event and registration is required.

February 13th, 8:00 p.m. at Belle Meade Plantation: campfire conversation and overnight stay in the Carriage House

February 14th, 7:00 p.m. at Franklin Masonic Hall: candid conversation and overnight stay in the Masonic Hall

February 15th, 8:00 p.m. at Historic Travellers Rest: campfire conversation and overnight stay in the Barn

Travellers Rest will also host free house and grounds tours from 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., with a lecture by Joseph McGill at 3:00 p.m.

Visit The Slave Dwelling Project for more information on their mission and the 2020 event schedule.


Call for Judges and Volunteers: Tennessee History Day

Tennessee History Day is a state affiliate of National History Day and the Tennessee Historical Society is proud to be the sponsor of the state-level History Day competition. On Saturday, April 4, 2020, approximately 300 students from across the state of Tennessee will travel to Nashville to compete in the state-level competition to be held in downtown Nashville. THS needs approximately 135 volunteers to serve as judges of student projects and approximately 30 additional volunteers to help with registration, room monitoring, and other duties. Please consider volunteering on Saturday, April 4, 2020!


Bellevue History and Genealogy Group--First Friday with Metro Archives: Fort Negley and its designation as a UNESCO Site of Memory with Krista Castillo--February 7

Neighbor 2 Neighbor--Tips, Tricks & Tools to Engage Your Neighbors--February 8

Heritage Foundation of Williamson County--Lecture: Archaeological Survey of Tennessee's Rosenwald Schools--February 11

Belle Meade Plantation--"The Price of the Story" with Joseph McGill of The Slave Dwelling Project--February 12

Franklin Theatre--Battle of Franklin Trust presents "The Battle of Franklin and the American Experiment"--February 13

39th Annual Nashville Conference on African American History and Culture--February 14

The Slave Dwelling Project at Historic Travellers Rest--February 15

Marker Dedication: Historic Green Book Home (Gaylor Home, 253 Natchez Street, Franklin)--February 15

Bellevue History and Genealogy Group--"Dapper and Darling: High Fashion in Nashville, 1890-1900" with Ken Fieth--February 28

The Hermitage--Black History Month Memorial Service--February 29

Cool Days, Hot Jazz! presented by Nashville Public Library and Belle Meade Plantation--multiple dates in February


Green Hills Branch Library--Travel Chats: The Flint, Michigan Sit-Down Strike (1936-1937)--March 4

Bellevue History and Genealogy Group--"Voices of Camp Forrest in WWII" with author and historian Dr. Elizabeth Taylor--March 6

Log Builder's Association--Heritage Cabin Preservation an Assembly--March 9-11

The Buchanan Log House--Preservation Workshop: Analysis and Interpretation of an Historic House Museum--March 12

MTSU Center for Historic Preservation--(free) Road to Suffrage Symposium--March 17

Tennessee State Museum--Ratified: Tennessee Women and the Right to Vote exhibit opening--March 27

Neighbor 2 Neighbor--2020 C4N Nashville--March 28


You can now support the Metro Historical Commission Foundation through your everyday purchases on Amazon! Shop using AmazonSmile and a portion of each purchase will go towards preservation projects in Nashville and Davidson County.

Check out our online newsletter archives!

Have a preservation-related event that you want us to include? 

Send a message to Caroline.Eller@Nashville.gov.