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Early Nashville

Keeping the streets, rivers, and neighborhoods clean in this city over the years hasn't been easy, but one of the ways was with the City Beautiful Commission, that was established in 1953. In honor of Earth Day, here's a look at the commission that helped clean up the streets and neighborhoods in Nashville. 

The phrase "voting rights" encompasses a LOT of history, even when narrowed to the history of voting rights in Tennessee. While I wish I could write a blog post that includes all the important gains and struggles of voting rights in this state, instead, I'm narrowing it to a few highlights, starting with noting the 150th anniversary of the 15th Amendment. 

I originally wrote this blog post for March, 2018, because for some unknown reason, genealogy research seems to pick up around the end of February through March. Well, the trend has occurred again during quarantine, and this time makes more sense - you're home and you figure, why not? For whatever reason, we welcome the frequency of usage of our genealogy records. Here's a list of our most helpful and commonly-used materials, and some other tips when doing family research, with a few new additions. 

Since we're closed, here's a virtual tour of Metro Archives' current exhibit of "Nashville Voices - 36 Notable Women of Nashville", as it's finished right now. And discussing one of the recently added women in the display - Dr. Josie E. Wells...maybe a couple more individuals as I continue working

With the extra time on our hands after a month of quarantine, maybe there are other things we can spend our time on, like preserving family ephemera. This is an assisted blog post from my coworker, Christine Irizarry, who writes about the importance of family letters. And the latter part talks about preserving your family records. 

With the changing times and means to educate while schools are closed, it can be difficult for parents-now-turned-teachers to homeschool on such short notice, and possibly without a lot of resources. That's where Metro Archives and the Library come in handy. And who says educating can't be fun? So here's a word search I created with words and names pertaining to the founding of the city of Nashville. 

Borrowing John Krasinski's idea of reporting "Some Good News" during these troubling times, here are some historic news clippings from past pandemics or epidemics that have affected Nashville. But instead of including news articles about the actual devastation from the illnesses, these are more positive stories during the same time frame or at least examples of positives from the desolation.  

Soooo this year has started off rather interestingly...and by interesting I mean NOT GREAT, so far. So instead of writing a whole bunch of historic info, I'm just giving you all photos this month. These are some of my favorites from our collection that I hope may bring a smile to some of your faces. 

In honor of African American History Month, and to highlight a few individuals in Metro Archives' new display on Nashville women, this blog post is dedicated to a few notable women of Music City.

2020 is an important anniversary year for a couple of reasons. Most notably is the 19th Amendment, which we'll be celebrating with a new permanent exhibit in Special Collections (in addition to a few other temporary exhibits in the building). But another important Amendment went into effect 100 years ago this month that had a long-lasting impact on the country, and that's Prohibition.

This time of year may mostly be associated with the various holidays we celebrate, but it's also well-associated with cold, awful weather (except for these past few weeks) and keeping ourselves warm with our HVAC systems. However, there was a time in Nashville's past that staying warm also meant being covered in soot as well. 

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. In honor of that momentous occasion, Metro Archives recently had an exhibit highlighting Nashville's impact on space exploration. Here are a few things included in the exhibit! 

As part 1 of a 2-part series about the local photography institution that is Dury's, and also in honor of National Photography Month, read about how one of Nashville's oldest businesses got its start and has remained a successful and beloved business in Nashville all of these years. 

It's the month of love (well the end of it, but close enough) and therefore that also sometimes means heartbreak, so check out this unfortunate story from Nashville's past (about 90 years ago), about a love affair gone horribly wrong. 

One of our most-utilized resources here in Special Collections is the Nashville Banner clippings: articles about every aspect of Nashville life from the 1950s through the 1990s. In this post, I use Banner clippings to tell you the story of two popular types of night spot entertainment: mechanical bull riding and karaoke!

This Veteran's Day marks the 100th Anniversary of the signing of the Armistice between the Allied Countries and Germany, ending the hostilities on the Western Front of the War and officially beginning the end of World War I. 

Anyone that's ever walked down Charlotte Ave, right next to the Capitol, is familar with the statues surrounding its borders (or maybe you're not, that's possible too). But if you are, Sam Davis is on the southwest corner and Sgt. Alvin C. York is on the southeast. But are you familiar with who's standing in the middle, somewhat leering over all who walk beneath him? Or better yet, why he's there?

2018 is a landmark anniversary year for many events, including the worst train accident in U.S. history that occurred at Dutchman's Curve in West Nashville, on Tuesday, July 9th, 1918. 

It's been 50 years this month since the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., yet his actions and teachings have lived on every day since. Coincidentally, the date of his actual birthday this year was celebrated on the same day of the holiday honoring him. In honor of his legacy, here's a look back at how his work affected Nashville...

In honor of African American History Month (and also the month of love), I'm honoring a local Nashville citizen and veteran, Raymond Whittaker, from the small collection of his correspondence, ephemera, and photos we have here in Archives. 

Who loves talking about the weather?! Me, that's who! Did you know the early beginnings of the National Weather Service was actually under the U.S. Army in what was called the Signal Service? Actually it's not that surprising, but what might be is that here in Metro Archives, we have several of their original journals from the Nashville station. Read on if you're intrigued...

 

Most people recognize Nashville as the "Music City" capital of the world, but can you say that you've ever heard its other nickname - "the Powder City of the World"? If you're familiar with the history of the Old Hickory community and the company of DuPont, you probably have. If not, read on. 

Though November marks the last month of his life, May of this year would have marked JFK's 100th birthday; May 29th to be exact. In honor of this milestone, here's a look back at a few of President Kennedy's visits to Nashville, as well as a few anecdotes from people that remember the day he died.

Nashville is a city with an easily forgettable past, or rather people would prefer to forget its past. But that doesn't change the fact that it has a rather macabre and peculiar one. In Brian Allison's recently published book "Murder & Mayhem in Nashville," he highlights some of the more gruesome tales from Nashville's past.

June 1, 1796 was the birth year for Tennessee as a state. Feels like it was just yesterday. In honor of its many years since, here's a brief recap of its birth and how the state chose to celebrate each of its earned centennials. 

Nashville may be known as Music City, but we also LOVE our professional sports – whether the boys have sticks, bats, or footballs, fans will turn out to cheer on our local teams.

The one thing that I love to tell people about when they visit Metro Archives, is that we're more than simply a repository for city-wide governmental records. Yes, the records we have are archaic in nature and therefore highly informative and fascinating. But it's the photographs we also have from around the city that are most-telling about the city's past. In honor of National Photography month, check out some of the best photos from around our beloved city.

Though its expansive campus can be seen from the fast lanes of I-65 S just past Armory Lane, Father Ryan High School hasn't always called their Norwood Drive location home. On top of possessing photographs of the previous location's building and demolition in our clippings' file on the school, Metro Archives also holds several other treasures that easily tell stories about the school's past.  

Considering how in our modern day and age, seeing (and hearing) airplanes regularly cross Nashville's skies does not appear to make us think twice, doesn't it make you wonder what life must have been like when the first forms of flight were being tested? I suppose to us, it would literally be like seeing pigs fly. Almost. Well Metro Archives is attempting to answer that question. Starting March 28th and running through May 31st, there will an exhibit in Metro Archives highlighting the advancement of aviation technology as Nashville experienced it.  

Tennessee stayed true to their nickname as the "volunteer state" after the attack on Pearl Harbor, that occured 75 years ago this month. Here are a few news clippings and photographs from the days after the attack.  

Though this was the first year that Metro Nashville Government closed for Veteran's Day, we've never neglected honoring the ever-important holiday. Check out some of the documents and memorabilia from Metro Archives.   

Metro Archives recently received a small donation of documents/photographs/clippings for a couple of local Nashville families' vertical files. The families that are related by marriage are the McClanahans and the Weakley - 2 families that I found after a little research, have prominent roots in Nashville. The photographs donated date to around the early 20th century and are without doubt, very remarkable. However, many came without a caption or any identifiers at all, and they're not all in Nashville. The families appeared to have traveled a lot. Can you help us out and help identify a few of these locations?  

The educational system in Nashville has changed quite a bit over the years, but the core subjects have always remained at the forefront of teaching. But with a few changes, would you have excelled if you had been in school about 100 years ago?

Everyone is familiar with the name and what they are most known for, but do you really know about the history of the American Red Cross? Specifically, the history of the local chapter of the American Red Cross. This is part two of their story (explained as brief as possible) discussing their involvement during the second world war and the many years after. 

The Red Cross is a storied and dedicated organization that spans decades, continents, wars, and various disasters. The American Red Cross was founded in 1881 by Clara Barton. And though the Nashville Chapter received their official charter in 1917, their relief work for local troops and citizens began long before then. In honor of their dedicated service, next month, Metro Archives will be exhibiting artifacts and documents from our American Red Cross collection. This is part 1 of their history, stay tuned next month for part 2.

On March 22, 1916, a fire raged through East Nashville. By the end of day, more than 600 homes and businesses were destroyed by fire over 35 city blocks.

I transferred to the Archives a month ago and I've been trying to learn all that I can about the Archive's collections. One of the coolest collections I recently stumbled upon is the small collection we have for the Nashville College for Young Ladies. In honor of Women's History Month, what better topic to discuss than women's education?

When two people got married in Nashville during the 19th century, it was not unusual for the officiant to write something like, “I hereby certify that I solemnized the rights of matrimony between the above named” on the back of the marriage certificate, and sign it. Some of these notes are wordy and elaborate, some are short and sweet. In the case of Justice of the Peace Willie Barrow, the notes also contained flashes of dry wit and sarcasm.