Ten Years Gone 

A Timeline of Important Events

A Timeline of Important Events

Jul. 4, 1996 Vic Scoggin emerges from the Cumberland River in Smithland, Ky., becoming the first person to swim the river’s 696-mile length. The feat takes 10 weeks.

Jul. 26, 1996 Publisher Albie Del Favero and editor Bruce Dobie become the sole owners of the Nashville Scene for a reported $2.5 million. As usual, staffers learn the price when they read it in Henry Walker’s column.

August 1996 Janet Levine March, a successful artist and mother of two, disappears from her Nashville home. The disappearance initially goes unreported by her husband, attorney Perry March.

Aug. 8, 1996 In a scathing review that polarizes the city, Kay West describes her bad food and worse service during two trips to Mario’s.

Sept. 9, 1996 The great Bill Monroe, the Father of Bluegrass, dies five days short of his 85th birthday.

Nov. 2, 1996 Controversial former governor Ray Blanton dies of complications from liver disease.

Nov. 5, 1996 Bill Boner returns to public office, defeating GOP challenger Roy Dale in the 52nd House District. In another hotly contested race, state Sen. Joe Haynes wins a reelection bid over Metro Council member Vic Varallo.

Dec. 15, 1996 More than 26,000 curious taxpayers visit a weekend-long open house for the completed Nashville Arena. Days later, the arena’s inaugural event, Amy Grant’s “Tennessee Christmas” celebration, brings in another 13,000. The verdict: Cool!

January 1997 SoundScan numbers reveal a 12-percent drop in country sales from the previous year.

Jan. 1, 1997 Singer/songwriter Townes Van Zandt dies at age 52.

Jan. 10, 1997 The Scene stages the SoBro Charrette at the First Amendment Center. The result? A promising urban-design plan for the area south of Broadway.

Jan. 16, 1997 The Scene publishes the first installment of Willy Stern’s two-part investigation into the disappearance of Janet March. It becomes the most explosive piece in the Scene’s history—at least until the summer.

February 1997 Larry Schmittou sells the Nashville Sounds minor-league baseball team to a group of Illinois buyers.

Feb. 16, 1997 Workers Steve Hampton and Sarah Jackson are found shot to death at the Captain D’s on Lebanon Road.

Feb. 21, 1997 In a Gallatin News Examiner article, reporter Nick DeLeonibus characterizes a Gallatin High soccer player in colorful terms involving the genitals of a donkey. The description was, of course, a practical joke that failed to be caught before the paper went to press.

Feb. 25, 1997 Legendary WLAC deejay Bill “Hoss” Allen passes away at St. Thomas Hospital.

Mar. 23, 1997 Three employees are murdered during a robbery at the McDonald’s in Hermitage.

Apr. 3, 1997 The Scene publishes its biggest issue to date, the annual “Best of Nashville” issue, which comes in at 128 pages.

May 1997 E.W. “Bud” Wendell retires as president and CEO of Gaylord Entertainment.

May 1, 1997 The Scene’s Beverly Keel writes about the brewing anti-Garth Brooks sentiments on Music Row—causing Garth’s flacks to deny the writer press credentials for the singer’s upcoming concert in Central Park.

May 2, 1997 The Nashville Kats arena football team plays its first regular season game in the Nashville Arena, trouncing the San Jose Sabercats 47-21.

May 2, 1997 Baptist Hospital security personnel are caught secretly photographing Scene reporter Willy Stern as he leaves Vandyland restaurant.

May 3, 1997 Ground-breaking takes place for the new football stadium.

May 30, 1997 Longtime Scene art director Lee Weidhaas leaves for Virginia. Her going-away is celebrated with a party at a Scene writer’s house. Among the guests are Scene media critic Henry Walker and an unexpected Sen. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis. No one thinks much about it at the time.

June 1997 Nashville gets an NHL franchise, pending approval from the NHL’s Board of Governors and Metro Council.

June 3, 1997 Police announce Paul Dennis Reid as a suspect in the Captain D’s/McDonald’s murders.

June 23, 1997 Drag bar and rock club Victor/Victoria’s, for a brief time Nashville’s coolest hangout, is destroyed by an electrical fire.

July 3, 1997 The Scene publishes “King David,” Willy Stern’s exposé about Baptist Hospital and its president, C. David Stringfield.

July 7, 1997 WAMB deejay Ken Bramming dies of cancer at age 70.

July 13, 1997 Local entrepreneur Alvin Beaman dies at age 85.

July 17, 1997 The Scene publishes its “You Are So Nashville If...” contest results—including a highly controversial (some would say tasteless) winning entry about the public’s fascination with the Janet March case.

Aug. 7, 1997 Garth Brooks plays his much-hyped concert in Central Park.

Aug. 10, 1997 The Dollar General Store in Sam Levy Homes is torched in the aftermath of the shooting death of murder suspect Leon Fisher.

Aug. 31, 1997 The Tennessee Oilers play their first official NFL game in Memphis before a woefully small crowd of 30,000 people.

September 1997 Contrary to the recommendations of the SoBro Charrette, Mayor Bredesen OKs the plan for the Franklin Street Corridor, a thoroughfare that will connect East Nashville almost to Music Row.

Sept. 6, 1997 Bassist Roy Huskey Jr. dies of lung cancer at age 40.

Sept. 18, 1997 The Scene publishes “A Yuppie Among the Bubbas,” Liz Murray Garrigan’s profile of Sen. Steve Cohen, in which the gubernatorial hopeful is described as having “been known to...smoke a joint with a group of [journalists] at a private party.” Garrigan does not mention that it was a Scene party.

Oct. 4, 1997 Cab driver Richard Ray becomes Nashville’s 100th murder victim in 1997, in what was a record year for homicides.

Oct. 24, 1997 After its lease ends with Carmike Theaters, the Watkins Belcourt cinema, Nashville’s last historic neighborhood theater, reopens to the public as the city’s sole arthouse. Its new owners are a group of investors led by developer Charles Hawkins on behalf of the Watkins Institute and its new film school.

Nov. 3, 1997 Gaylord announces its plans to shut down the Opryland theme park and replace it with a giant mall called Opry Mills.

Nov. 6, 1997 Gummo, a movie filmed in Nashville by former Hillsboro High student Harmony Korine, opens at the Watkins Belcourt.

Nov. 24, 1997 Mayor Bredesen announces his plan to ask Metro Council for the funding to turn the downtown post office into an art center and museum.

Dec. 16, 1997 A group of consultants recommends to the Metro Library Board that the new downtown public library be built on the site occupied by Church Street Centre.

January 1998 Dr. Thomas Frist Sr., cofounder of Hospital Corporation of America, dies at age 87. Two days later, his wife of 60 years, Dorothy Cate Frist, passes away at Centennial Hospital.

Jan. 7, 1998 Owen Bradley, legendary Nashville producer and architect of Music Row, dies at age 82.

Jan. 15, 1998 Regal Cinemas opens its Hollywood 27 megaplex, the largest theater east of the Mississippi, which singlehandedly ends Carmike Cinemas’ long dominance of the local movie scene.

Jan. 25, 1998 Jim Kennedy, Gov. Ned Ray McWherter’s top aide and a Capitol Hill press corps favorite, dies unexpectedly during a tennis game.

Jan. 29, 1998 Service Merchandise founder Raymond Zimmerman announces he will step down as chairman of the board.

Jan. 30 & 31, 1998 After six-and-a-half years, Lucy’s Record Shop closes with two huge celebratory shows.

February 1998 Dr. David Satcher gets what Dr. Henry Foster couldn’t: a thumbs-up from the Senate as U.S. surgeon general.

Feb. 16, 1998 After striking an agreement with Gannett, publisher Irby Simpkins announces that the Nashville Banner will cease publication that week, thus ending its 122-year history.

Mar. 28, 1998 The Nashville Predators beat the NHL’s imposed goal of selling 12,000 season tickets to become Nashville’s first major-league hockey team.

Mar. 29, 1998 The UT Lady Vols win their third straight NCAA national championship.

Apr. 6, 1998 Country great Tammy Wynette dies in her sleep, of causes that are debated for the year to come.

Apr. 16, 1998 The Scene’s Christine Kreyling reports that John Rochford’s relatives, who own the 1917-vintage West End apartment building the Jacksonian, are planning to sell it to Walgreen’s—which would raze it. The Scene declares war.

May 1998 Cicadas!

May 4, 1998 Kevin Longinotti dies of injuries sustained at Centennial Park during the Apr. 16 tornadoes.

May 5, 1998 For the first time in his career, state Rep. Bill Boner loses an election: the Democratic primary for the $84,000-a-year register of deeds office. He announces he will not seek further public office, and is seen months later delivering Yellow Pages.

May 18, 1998 As part of a $2.9 billion deal, Dillard’s buys the Castner Knott chain, ending the store’s 100-year presence in Nashville.

May 20, 1998 The Scene escalates the fight to save the Jacksonian. As “Save Jack!” becomes a civic catchphrase, local celebs ranging from Emmylou Harris to Jonell Mosser join the fray.

July 2, 1998 It’s official: Tennessee Oilers season-ticket sales suck. Must be the Oilers’ stupid name, which owner Bud Adams refuses to change.

July 11, 1998 Lawyer/artist Jack Kershaw unveils his, um, unusual statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest off I-65 near Brentwood.

Aug. 6, 1998 Setting the stage for a fight that never materializes, gadfly John Jay Hooker wins the Democratic primary for governor.

Aug. 28, 1998 After 28 years, the Gerst Haus closes its Woodland Street location to make way for stadium parking.

Sept. 19, 1998 The Nashville Predators win their first pre-season game—and the city’s hearts and minds.

Sept. 28, 1998 Judge Thomas Wiseman approves a $206 million desegregation plan for Metro schools—thus ending the city’s 43-year-old desegregation suit.

Oct. 1, 1998 The Scene introduces a new design: bigger print, new features, more headaches.

Oct. 19, 1998 Ending almost two years of will-he-won’t-he speculation, Mayor Phil Bredesen tells the downtown Rotary Club he will not seek a third term.

Oct. 19, 1998 State Sen. Tommy Burks is killed by a gunshot wound at his farm in East Tennessee. His opponent in the senatorial race, Putnam County Tax Assessor Byron “Low Tax” Looper, quickly becomes the primary suspect.

Oct. 29, 1998 The Scene’s Lisa A. DuBois reports that Mac Pirkle is stepping down after 14 years as head of the Tennessee Repertory Theatre.

Oct. 30, 1998 The despised West Meade Wal-Mart opens, built on a Native American burial ground.

Nov. 3, 1998 Gov. Don Sundquist trounces John Jay Hooker in the gubernatorial race by a 2-to-1 margin. In his senate race against Charlotte Burks, widow of his alleged murder victim Sen. Tommy Burks, Byron “Low Tax” Looper mysteriously receives almost 1,500 votes. Talk about loyal Republicans.

Nov. 12, 1998 The Scene’s Willy Stern exposes a pattern of alleged kickbacks and sweetheart deals involving Baptist Hospital’s chief of construction, Gerald Hemmer. The story puts another dent in the armor of Baptist chairman of the board C. David Stringfield. Two weeks later, Stringfield is ousted as chairman by the hospital board’s executive committee.

Nov. 14, 1998 The Tennessee Oilers become the Tennessee Titans.

Nov. 14, 1998 The ReLeaf Nashville effort draws 1,000 tree-planting volunteers to tornado-stricken East Nashville.

Nov. 27, 1998 Red Grooms’ Tennessee Fox Trot Carousel opens at Riverfront Park.

Dec. 5, 1998 Albert Gore Sr., 90, dies at his home in Carthage.

Dec. 19, 1998 President Bill Clinton becomes the second U.S. president in history to be impeached.

Dec. 24, 1998 After nine-and-a-half years, John Bridges writes his final “Keeping Up” for the Scene.

Dec. 31, 1998 The beloved chili mill Varallo’s closes its 79-year-old location at 817 Church St. We miss Frank and Eva.

Jan. 28, 1999 Failing to find an audience, the Watkins Belcourt, Nashville’s only arthouse and last historic neighborhood theater, closes its doors.

Mar. 18, 1999 The Scene’s Liz Murray Garrigan reports that the new East Bank stadium will be named Hyperion Coliseum.

Mar. 31, 1999 A Florida court sentences Rev. Henry Lyons, disgraced president of Nashville-based National Baptist Convention, to five-and-a-half years on a racketeering conviction.

April 1999 Vanderbilt Chancellor Joe B. “The Unseen” Wyatt announces he will step down in July.

Apr. 3, 1999 John Bibb, The Tennessean’s venerated former sports editor, dies after a long battle with lung cancer.

Apr. 15, 1999 Media critic Henry Walker writes his last column for the Scene.

May 6, 1999 Dell Computer Corp. announces it will build a plant near Nashville International Airport.

May 20, 1999 New media critic Matt Pulle makes his first appearance in the Scene, just after Henry Walker turns up at Pulle’s old home, InReview.

June 1999 The Federal Trade Commission announces its opposition to the $600 million purchase of Ingram Book Group by Barnes & Noble, thus killing the deal.

June 24, 1999 Whaddaya know? Ten years later, the Scene’s still here. And so are you.

Thanks for everything

May 11, 1996 A ValuJet airliner en route to Atlanta from Miami crashes in the Everglades, killing all 109 passengers on board. Among the dead are six Middle Tennesseans: Isabel Anderson, Angie Greene, Rafael Lameda, newlyweds Ronald Carpenter and Susan Heffernan, and popular Nashville singer-songwriter Walter Hyatt.

June 1996 Planet Hollywood joins the Hard Rock Cafe on Lower Broadway, thus turning the area into a downtown district of enormous, gaudy theme restaurants.

Jun. 1, 1996 The grand opening of the Bicentennial Mall. More than 20,000 people show up to see luminaries such as Isaac Hayes and John Ritter.

Jun. 8, 1996 No longer a talk-show host, Bill Boner campaigns like crazy in East Nashville for the 52nd House District seat.

Week of Jun. 13, 1996 The Tennessee Supreme Court strikes down the long-despised Homosexual Practices Act, upholding a state Court of Appeals ruling that says sex acts between consenting same-sex adults are protected by privacy rights in Tennessee’s Constitution.

Jun. 27, 1996 Nashville runner Ronald Gooch carries the Olympic torch before a cheering throng at the Parthenon.

July 1996 Construction costs on the downtown arena creep upward to $145 million.

Dec. 27, 1991 Literary brat packer Jay McInerney marries Nashvillian Helen Bransford in New York; the two decide to move to Nashville for part of the year.

January 1992 Mayor Phil Bredesen takes office.

February 1992 Bruce Dobie reports that local entrepreneur and gadfly John Jay Hooker has been trying to interest Texas billionaire H. Ross Perot in running for president. This is the first mention anywhere in the press of the Hooker-Perot connection.

March 1992 Ned Horton, general manager of WRLT-FM Radio Lightning, wins ownership of the station after a hair-raising battle against outside investors. The “adult-alternative” station quietly becomes one of the most influential new stations in the country.

April 1992 Anne Brown, the controversial executive director of the Metro Arts Commission who was widely blamed for the previous year’s Summer Lights debacle, resigns from the post. When she eventually leaves, she takes everything in the office with her—including the light bulbs.

Apr. 16, 1992 After The Tennessean runs an investigative series blasting pizza companies that will not deliver to low-income neighborhoods because they fear robbery and theft, a Scene investigation reveals that The Tennessean itself refuses to deliver papers to the same areas. The Washington Post picks up the story.

June 1992 On the strength of the smash single “Achy Breaky Heart,” Billy Ray Cyrus’ Some Gave All becomes one of the fastest-selling albums in country-music history.

June 13, 1992 Leatrice McKissick and Tom Buchanan become the first black guests ever to attend the Swan Ball in its 30-year history.

July 1992 H. Ross Perot, whose ballooning presidential campaign is scaring the hell out of both parties, addresses the national convention of the NAACP in Nashville, where he infuriates the audience with references to “you people” and “your people.”

July 8, 1992 In a midnight call from Little Rock to Carthage, Bill Clinton asks Tennessee Sen. Al Gore to be his running mate on the Democratic presidential ticket.

August 1992 Despite chickening out on a scheduled debate and running one of the most nervous campaigns in years, incumbent congressman Bob “Little Bob” Clement beats squirrelly opponent Chip Forrester at the polls.

August 1992 Lucy’s Record Shop opens on Church Street. Within two years, it is the center of Nashville’s indie-rock scene and a renowned stopover for touring underground bands.

September 1992 A Tennessean story on the four-star Italian restaurant Mario’s notes that the respected eatery has hired a new chef named Roberto Medi, fresh from an Italian restaurant in New York. Further investigation reveals that Medi is actually Robert Mead, formerly a part-time chef at the Sunset Grill.

Oct. 8, 1992 The Scene reports the results of lab tests that prove the veal served by Mario’s in two dishes is actually pork. A horrified city gags.

Oct. 12, 1992 The entrance to the Scene office on 301 Broadway, having been the target of drive-by pellet-gun shootings and minor vandalism in weeks past, is splattered with thick black paint.

November 1992 A packed-to-the-rafters memorial service for Roger Miller, the legendary singer/songwriter who died in October after a year-long bout with cancer, draws everyone from Music Row’s most powerful label heads to movie reviewer Gene Siskel to the Ryman for a heartfelt sendoff. A plan to renovate the Ryman is announced almost immediately afterward.

Nov. 3, 1992 Bill Clinton is elected president in an electoral landslide; Tennessee Sen. Al Gore becomes vice president.

Nov. 11, 1992 UT football coach Johnny Majors gets the boot, a move that inspires furious arguments for months.

December 1992 Attorneys Dale Quillen and William R. Willis—the opposing counsel in Quillen’s divorce case—get into a fistfight on an elevator during a break in a pre-trial deposition.

Dec. 14, 1992 Working undercover on a prostitution sting, a black Metro police officer, Reginald Miller, is mistakenly pulled over by another (white) officer; as more (white) officers arrive, they handcuff Miller, place him on the ground, beat him, and kick him in the groin. The incident seems grimly reminiscent of the Rodney King incident in L.A.

January 1993 Harlan Mathews, Gov. Ned McWherter’s longtime political ally, is appointed by McWherter to fill the Senate vacancy left by Vice President Al Gore.

Jan. 28, 1993 The Scene radically changes its look, expanding columns, adding a plethora of new typefaces, and redesigning the masthead.

February 1993 Nashville experiences a rash of carjackings.

March 1993 After months of expense and hype, the plug is pulled on 5 O’Clock With Dan Miller, Miller’s return vehicle to WSMV-Channel 4.

April 1993 WDCN-Channel 8 makes Nashville a laughingstock by becoming one of the only public-TV stations in America not to air Frederick Wiseman’s classic documentary Titicut Follies. The station claims that it is “not consistent with our programming policies.”

Apr. 23, 1993 U.S. Congressman Bob “Major Frank Burns” Clement tells the Banner that American Airlines will begin direct flights from Nashville to London and back. Observers say Clement wanted to grab the headlines before Mayor Phil Bredesen could announce the news himself the next day.

May 1993 After a dramatic crisis of confidence, the congregation of Woodmont Baptist Church votes whether to keep the Rev. Bill Sherman, the church’s pastor for 25 years. Sherman wins.

June 1993 Mayor Phil Bredesen decides, after long debate, that he is definitely not going to run for governor.

June 16, 1993 Inexplicably popular Nashville TV fixture Ralph Emery announces that he is retiring from the inexplicably popular TNN show Nashville Now.

July 1993 The Metro Council approves Mayor Phil Bredesen’s plan for a downtown arena to be built at the corner of Fifth and Broadway. The approved cost is $100 million.

August 1993 Dr. David Satcher, president of Meharry Medical College and the Scene’s 1992 Nashvillian of the Year, is appointed by President Bill Clinton to head Atlanta’s Centers for Disease Control. The same month, Bob “No-Show” Clement announces he will not seek the office of governor.

Aug. 26, 1993 The Scene announces it will move its offices from 301 Broadway to the new Cummins Station complex at 10th and Demonbreun.

Aug. 27, 1993 The Thing Called Love, Peter Bogdanovich’s Nashville-filmed tribute to Music City songwriters starring River Phoenix and Samantha Mathis, opens in Nashville theaters for a two-week run.

September 1993 After the death of country superstar Conway Twitty, his relatives begin a widely publicized quarrel—especially between his children and his widow, Dee Henry Jenkins, over the nearly $20,000 a month she receives from the estate.

Sept. 29, 1993 Vince Gill becomes CMA Entertainer of the Year after receiving a whopping eight nominations—the most since Merle Haggard in 1970.

October 1993 The merger of Nashville’s Hospital Corporation of America with Louisville’s Columbia Healthcare Corporation stuns the local business community—particularly over worries that the resulting $10 billion business will locate its headquarters in Louisville. Nah, it couldn’t happen.

Oct. 14, 1993 John Bridges celebrates the release of his book Keeping Up, a collection of his Nashville Scene columns, at Davis-Kidd.

November 1993 Nashville Mayor Phil Bredesen, with a little help from Gov. Ned McWherter and Sen. Harlan Mathews, decides that, yes, he will run for governor after all.

December 1993 After a fight with his fiancée, Metro Council member Fermo DePasquo is arrested for the second time. He decides to undergo counseling.

Dec. 9, 1993 The most controversial story yet in the history of the Nashville Scene, an article by Galyn Glick on life in Grundy County, hits the stands. Within days, the Scene is flooded by angry calls, irate visitors, and obscene threats.

Jan. 30, 1994 Four employees at a Clarksville Taco Bell are brutally murdered in the worst mass murder in the history of Montgomery County. Fort Campbell soldier Courtney B. Mathews is later arrested for the crime.

February 1994 The Country Music Hall of Fame announces that it will move from the Music Row area to a location near the downtown Arena With No Name at Fifth and Broadway.

Feb. 10, 1994 Nashville is struck by the worst ice storm in 40 years, which leaves more than 74,000 Nashvillians without power (or worse, cable).

March 1994 Former Lt. Gov. Frank Gorrell, one of Capitol Hill’s most colorful figures—and perhaps its most powerful lobbyist—dies after choking on a piece of steak.

April 1994 In a stunning reversal of fortune, Shelby County Mayor Bill Morris returns to the gubernatorial race after the state drops charges of misusing his office. Mayor Phil Bredesen, his main rival for the Democratic primary, welcomes him back through gritted teeth.

Apr. 15, 1994 The Phantom of the Opera, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hammy middlebrow spectacle, opens at TPAC for a record-breaking run that singlehandedly erases the facility’s debts. In the process, it alienates local theater groups, who are unceremoniously bumped from the facility to make way for the massive production.

Apr. 22, 1994 Former President Richard M. Nixon dies at the age of 81.

Apr. 24, 1994 The 34-year-old Cain-Sloan Building is razed to make room for, surprisingly enough, a downtown parking lot.

Apr. 30, 1994 35,000 fans turn up at Greer Stadium to watch the Birmingham Barons play the Nashville XPress in AA baseball. Oh, did we forget to mention Michael Jordan was playing with the Barons?

May 1994 After seventh-grader Terrence Murray becomes the first student ever to be shot dead in a Metro school, following an accidental shooting at John Trotwood Moore, Mayor Phil Bredesen begins to implement metal detectors and weapons searches at some Nashville schools.

May 8, 1994 Pink Floyd plays a sold-out show before more than 40,000 fans in Vanderbilt Stadium. The concert is loud, but it’s nothing compared to the high-decibel complaints of Hillsboro-West End residents.

June 1994 Mayor Phil Bredesen returns from a fishing trip to face a near-mutiny in the Metro Council over ballooning costs of the new Arena With No Name. Expected to reach no more than $100 million, the arena’s projected costs have swelled to nearly $140 million. By trimming a few niceties—food, shelter, clothing—Bredesen is able to lower the price tag to $117 million.

June 30, 1994 The Nashville Scene celebrates its fifth year of rebirth and change—mirroring, as always, the city that has been such a rich source of drama, tragedy, suspense, and horselaughs over the past half-decade.

July 1994 Having announced his candidacy for governor, Mayor Phil Bredesen campaigns in earnest around the state, which doesn’t thrill the folks back home. Outside Nashville, his TV ads somehow omit his Harvard education but feature testimonials from beer wholesaler Fred Detwiller.

July 2, 1994 Former Vice President Dan Quayle draws 1,200 people to Davis-Kidd for a signing of his book Standing Firm.

August 1994 Setting the tone for the coming election year, someone stuffs The Tennessean, The Metropolitan Times, and other local papers with a flyer depicting state Sen. Thelma Harper, Davidson County Sheriff candidate Gayle Ray, and Edith Taylor Langster engaged in group sex.

Aug. 18, 1994 A sexual-harassment suit filed by Metro Police Department employee Paula Hendricks against Capt. David Allman and the department commandeers the city’s media with its lurid detail.

Aug. 20, 1994 Richard Sinkfield becomes the first African American member in the Belle Meade Country Club’s history.

Aug. 29, 1994 Avon Williams Jr., former state senator and a lion of Nashville’s civil-rights movement, dies after a long struggle with Lou Gehrig’s disease.

September 1994 The Tennessean conducts a stupefying monthlong series that sends Brad Schmitt and Susan Thomas undercover at Nashville’s Sam Levy Homes housing project. Their findings: Several residents party, drink, take drugs, and have sex without marriage—unlike, say, the inhabitants of a Vanderbilt frat house.

Sept. 2, 1994 The Wonderbra makes its first Nashville appearance at Castner-Knott.

Oct. 13, 1994 The debut of the Scene’s snarky society column “Connie Goes Out.” The identity of “Connie” remains a secret.

Oct. 15, 1994 Instead of being routed by 20 points, as expected, the Vanderbilt Commodores spay the Georgia Bulldogs with a shocking 43-30 upset—the ’Dores’ first win at Sanford Stadium in 33 years.

Oct. 23, 1994 Angered by what he considers sleazy allegations concerning his ties to the Coventry Corp. health-care organization, gubernatorial candidate Phil Bredesen admonishes Peaches Simpkins, a supporter of his GOP rival Don Sundquist, backstage after a televised debate. Fanned by the ever-impartial Banner, the rumor spreads that Bredesen shoved Simpkins, leading to “Phil Pushed Peaches” buttons—and a flurry of bad press from which Bredesen’s campaign never recovers.

November 1994 Former Davidson County Sheriff Fate Thomas returns from serving a jail sentence in Texas. He starts selling cars at Bob Frensley.

November 1994 Gayle Ray, a former Metro Council member, defeats incumbent Hank Hillin to become Davidson County’s first woman sheriff.

Nov. 3, 1994 In his cover story “Bloody ’94,” fearless prognosticator Bruce Dobie calls Phil Bredesen the likely winner over Don Sundquist, and incumbent U.S. Sen. Jim Sasser the winner over his challenger, Nashville cardiac surgeon Bill Frist. Fortunately, no money is riding on these picks.

Nov. 10, 1994 Michael McCall profiles bandleader Greg Garing, who has started drawing people back to Lower Broadway to hear real-live hillbilly music. Garing, Paul Burch, and a promising cover band called BR5-49 will become the center of a honky-tonk renaissance that electrifies the city’s music scene.

Nov. 12, 1994 Olympic champion Wilma Rudolph dies of an inoperable brain tumor.

December 1994 Vanderbilt football coach Gerry DiNardo buys out his contract for $250,000 to become head coach at Louisiana State University.

January 1995 Dan Miller returns to co-anchor WSMV’s 6 p.m. newscast.

Jan. 5, 1995 Henry Walker’s debut in “Desperately Seeking the News.” Ever the shrinking violet, Walker’s first act is to outrage the Tennessee State Museum by bashing its heavily hyped Genghis Khan exhibit.

Jan. 10, 1995 Health-care giant Columbia/HCA announces it will move its corporate headquarters from Louisville to Nashville.

Jan. 14, 1995 Michael Westerman, a 19-year-old from Todd County, Ky., is shot and killed in Robertson County by gunmen in a carload of black motorists, who allegedly objected to the Confederate flag flying from Westerman’s truck.

Jan. 16, 1995 Former Scenester Clark Parsons is named “Today’s Employee” by The Tennessean. Attaboy!

February 1995 President Bill Clinton nominates Dr. Henry Foster as U.S. surgeon general—a seemingly sound choice that leads to a bitter Senate battle, the smearing of Foster’s reputation, and ultimate rejection.

Feb. 4, 1995 After a hiatus of several years, Jason & the Scorchers, the band that first put Nashville’s rock scene on the map, reunite and return in triumph to the Exit/In.

Mar. 30, 1995 Hoping to stir controversy for its film Priest, Miramax screens it for local clergymen at Fountain Square. The ruse works only too well: A threatened boycott keeps the movie out of Nashville theaters. It opens six weeks later at the Franklin Cinema to record-breaking crowds.

Mar. 31, 1995 Jimmy Bowen, one of Music Row’s titans and an early supporter (and later critic) of Garth Brooks, resigns as president of Liberty Records.

April 1995 Longtime hard-rock station KDF switches formats to modern rock.

Apr. 13, 1995 The Scene salutes the worst of Metro Council. Among the losers: Fermo DePasquo (“the Andy Capp of Metro Council”), Gary Odom (“the Prince of Darkness”), and Julius “If You’re in Office, I’m Your Pal” Sloss.

Apr. 30, 1995 A bizarre plot to kidnap WKRN- Channel 2 anchor John Seigenthaler and WLAC-AM radio host Les Jameson ends when Sean and Brian Bottoms of Madison are captured by Texas police.

June 1995 Butch Spyridon at the Convention and Visitors Bureau receives information that an NFL team might be interested in moving to Nashville. After three calls, Spyridon learns the team in question is the Houston Oilers.

June 2, 1995 The Scene hosts the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies convention. Highlights: the sublime Lynda Barry; three jokes from Roy Blount Jr. about intercourse with sheep; and a tanked 1995 Pulitzer Prize winner boogieing on a hotel sofa to “Wipeout.”

July 7, 1995 Butch Spyridon, Byron Trauger, and Chamber of Commerce head Mike Rollins hold a secret meeting in Chicago with Houston Oilers officials.

July 27, 1995 The Scene’s snotty Committee of Insiders refuses to award a first-place winner for the lamer-than-usual “You Are So Nashville If...” contest. Readers revolt as one.

July 28, 1995 Operation Dumbo Drop opens in Nashville theaters.

Aug. 3, 1995 Before moving to Mississippi, beloved “Hot Homes” columnist Bernie Sheahan bids her fifth and final farewell to the city in a Scene cover story. Most people love it, but not reader David Paine. “Enough already with the long goodbye of Bernie Sheahan,” Paine writes. “Could we help Bernie pack? Call her a cab? What?”

Sept. 7, 1995 The Scene launches its Web site.

Sept. 20, 1995 ABC’s PrimeTime Live airs disgusting footage of health-code violations at Nashville restaurants, including a Denny’s where an employee proudly displays a dead rat in a Baggie.

Fall 1995 The downtown Watkins Institute offers the first semester of its new film school.

Oct. 28, 1995 Lamar! Alexander, the most persistent presidential hopeful since Harold Stassen, appears on Saturday Night Live begging door-to-door for votes.

Nov. 3, 1995 WKRN-Channel 2’s secret weapon, San Antonio attack-dog reporter Michael Turcot—a.k.a. TURKO!—debuts his Wall of Shame.

Nov. 15, 1995 Seventeen-year-old Jamie Rouse walks into the Richland School in Lynnville and begins a grisly shooting spree that leaves teacher Carolyn Foster and student Diana Collins dead.

Nov. 27, 1995 The talk show PrimeTalk debuts on the new Warner Bros. affiliate WNAB-Channel 58. Its host: Bill Boner.

Nov. 30, 1995 Henry Walker conducts an informal survey that ranks Nashville’s best-to-worst journalists. According to respondents, the Banner’s Jay Orr “walks on water”; The Tennessean’s Susan Thomas has “two skills: writing and self-promotion”; and The Tennessean’s Mark Ippolito “always looks like he smelled a fart.”

December 1995 The Werthan Bag Mill, open since 1928 in a building that dates back to the 1880s, closes after 67 years.

Dec. 17, 1995 Twelve-year-old Jerimayer Warfield is killed when drive-by gunmen strafe the Seventh Avenue Market in East Nashville with armor-piercing bullets.

January 1996 Emmett Turner replaces Bob Kirchner to become the first African American police chief in Nashville history.

Jan. 18, 1996 Rudolph Wanderone Jr., a.k.a. Minnesota Fats, dies of congestive heart failure. The world’s most famous pool player had resided for years at the downtown Hermitage Hotel.

Jan. 29, 1996 An F-14 Tomcat piloted by Navy Lt. Cmdr. John Stacy Bates slams into the Antioch home of Elmer and Ada Newsom, killing the couple, their guest Ewing (Tommy) Wair, and the two men on board.

February 1996 A banner year for political posturing in the General Assembly climaxes with resolutions that would end the teaching of evolution as fact and encourage all Tennesseans to follow the Ten Commandments.

Feb. 3, 1996 After 90 years, Castner Knott closes its flagship location at 618 Church St., thus sounding the death knell for what had been the city’s retail center for most of the century.

Feb. 9, 1996 Morningstar Green, depressed over a recent divorce, asks to see the balcony outside Tuned-In Broadcasting’s offices on the 30th floor of the Life & Casualty Building. To staffers’ horror, the 20-year-old woman climbs onto the ledge and jumps to her death.

Mar. 4, 1996 Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon, known to millions as Minnie Pearl, dies at age 83.

Mar. 5, 1996 As promised, Lamar! Alexander bows out of the 1996 presidential campaign after Sen. Bob Dole carries all eight states in the Junior Tuesday GOP primary.

Apr. 6, 1996 Les Jameson, former WLAC-AM talk-show host, dies after a bout with pancreatic cancer.

Apr. 11, 1996 Scene media critic Henry Walker raises questions about the authenticity of artifacts housed in Winston-Derek Publishers founder Dr. James Peebles’ new Sankofa African Heritage Museum—just weeks after the museum has received a front-page plug from The Tennessean.

Apr. 17, 1996 Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher addresses some 4,000 people at Vanderbilt’s Memorial Gym.

Apr. 30, 1996 After almost a year of wrangling, the NFL gives Houston Oilers owner Bud Adams approval to move the team to Nashville.

May 1996 Staffers say Mayor Phil Bredesen will probably not seek a third term. That hardly ends the matter.

May 11, 1996 A ValuJet airliner en route to Atlanta from Miami crashes in the Everglades, killing all 109 passengers on board. Among the dead are six Middle Tennesseans: Isabel Anderson, Angie Greene, Rafael Lameda, newlyweds Ronald Carpenter and Susan Heffernan, and popular Nashville singer-songwriter Walter Hyatt.

June 1996 Planet Hollywood joins the Hard Rock Cafe on Lower Broadway, thus turning the area into a downtown district of enormous, gaudy theme restaurants.

Jun. 1, 1996 The grand opening of the Bicentennial Mall. More than 20,000 people show up to see luminaries such as Isaac Hayes and John Ritter.

Jun. 8, 1996 No longer a talk-show host, Bill Boner campaigns like crazy in East Nashville for the 52nd House District seat.

Week of Jun. 13, 1996 The Tennessee Supreme Court strikes down the long-despised Homosexual Practices Act, upholding a state Court of Appeals ruling that says sex acts between consenting same-sex adults are protected by privacy rights in Tennessee’s Constitution.

Jun. 27, 1996 Nashville runner Ronald Gooch carries the Olympic torch before a cheering throng at the Parthenon.

July 1996 Construction costs on the downtown arena creep upward to $145 million.

Jul. 4, 1996 Vic Scoggin emerges from the Cumberland River in Smithland, Ky., becoming the first person to swim the river’s 696-mile length. The feat takes 10 weeks.

Jul. 26, 1996 Publisher Albie Del Favero and editor Bruce Dobie become the sole owners of the Nashville Scene for a reported $2.5 million. As usual, staffers learn the price when they read it in Henry Walker’s column.

August 1996 Janet Levine March, a successful artist and mother of two, disappears from her Nashville home. The disappearance initially goes unreported by her husband, attorney Perry March.

Aug. 8, 1996 In a scathing review that polarizes the city, Kay West describes her bad food and worse service during two trips to Mario’s.

Sept. 9, 1996 The great Bill Monroe, the Father of Bluegrass, dies five days short of his 85th birthday.

Nov. 2, 1996 Controversial former governor Ray Blanton dies of complications from liver disease.

Nov. 5, 1996 Bill Boner returns to public office, defeating GOP challenger Roy Dale in the 52nd House District. In another hotly contested race, state Sen. Joe Haynes wins a reelection bid over Metro Council member Vic Varallo.

Dec. 15, 1996 More than 26,000 curious taxpayers visit a weekend-long open house for the completed Nashville Arena. Days later, the arena’s inaugural event, Amy Grant’s “Tennessee Christmas” celebration, brings in another 13,000. The verdict: Cool!

January 1997 SoundScan numbers reveal a 12-percent drop in country sales from the previous year.

Jan. 1, 1997 Singer/songwriter Townes Van Zandt dies at age 52.

Jan. 10, 1997 The Scene stages the SoBro Charrette at the First Amendment Center. The result? A promising urban-design plan for the area south of Broadway.

Jan. 16, 1997 The Scene publishes the first installment of Willy Stern’s two-part investigation into the disappearance of Janet March. It becomes the most explosive piece in the Scene’s history—at least until the summer.

February 1997 Larry Schmittou sells the Nashville Sounds minor-league baseball team to a group of Illinois buyers.

Feb. 16, 1997 Workers Steve Hampton and Sarah Jackson are found shot to death at the Captain D’s on Lebanon Road.

Feb. 21, 1997 In a Gallatin News Examiner article, reporter Nick DeLeonibus characterizes a Gallatin High soccer player in colorful terms involving the genitals of a donkey. The description was, of course, a practical joke that failed to be caught before the paper went to press.

Feb. 25, 1997 Legendary WLAC deejay Bill “Hoss” Allen passes away at St. Thomas Hospital.

Mar. 23, 1997 Three employees are murdered during a robbery at the McDonald’s in Hermitage.

Apr. 3, 1997 The Scene publishes its biggest issue to date, the annual “Best of Nashville” issue, which comes in at 128 pages.

May 1997 E.W. “Bud” Wendell retires as president and CEO of Gaylord Entertainment.

May 1, 1997 The Scene’s Beverly Keel writes about the brewing anti-Garth Brooks sentiments on Music Row—causing Garth’s flacks to deny the writer press credentials for the singer’s upcoming concert in Central Park.

May 2, 1997 The Nashville Kats arena football team plays its first regular season game in the Nashville Arena, trouncing the San Jose Sabercats 47-21.

May 2, 1997 Baptist Hospital security personnel are caught secretly photographing Scene reporter Willy Stern as he leaves Vandyland restaurant.

May 3, 1997 Ground-breaking takes place for the new football stadium.

May 30, 1997 Longtime Scene art director Lee Weidhaas leaves for Virginia. Her going-away is celebrated with a party at a Scene writer’s house. Among the guests are Scene media critic Henry Walker and an unexpected Sen. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis. No one thinks much about it at the time.

June 1997 Nashville gets an NHL franchise, pending approval from the NHL’s Board of Governors and Metro Council.

June 3, 1997 Police announce Paul Dennis Reid as a suspect in the Captain D’s/McDonald’s murders.

June 23, 1997 Drag bar and rock club Victor/Victoria’s, for a brief time Nashville’s coolest hangout, is destroyed by an electrical fire.

July 3, 1997 The Scene publishes “King David,” Willy Stern’s exposé about Baptist Hospital and its president, C. David Stringfield.

July 7, 1997 WAMB deejay Ken Bramming dies of cancer at age 70.

July 13, 1997 Local entrepreneur Alvin Beaman dies at age 85.

July 17, 1997 The Scene publishes its “You Are So Nashville If...” contest results—including a highly controversial (some would say tasteless) winning entry about the public’s fascination with the Janet March case.

Aug. 7, 1997 Garth Brooks plays his much-hyped concert in Central Park.

Aug. 10, 1997 The Dollar General Store in Sam Levy Homes is torched in the aftermath of the shooting death of murder suspect Leon Fisher.

Aug. 31, 1997 The Tennessee Oilers play their first official NFL game in Memphis before a woefully small crowd of 30,000 people.

September 1997 Contrary to the recommendations of the SoBro Charrette, Mayor Bredesen OKs the plan for the Franklin Street Corridor, a thoroughfare that will connect East Nashville almost to Music Row.

Sept. 6, 1997 Bassist Roy Huskey Jr. dies of lung cancer at age 40.

Sept. 18, 1997 The Scene publishes “A Yuppie Among the Bubbas,” Liz Murray Garrigan’s profile of Sen. Steve Cohen, in which the gubernatorial hopeful is described as having “been known to...smoke a joint with a group of [journalists] at a private party.” Garrigan does not mention that it was a Scene party.

Oct. 4, 1997 Cab driver Richard Ray becomes Nashville’s 100th murder victim in 1997, in what was a record year for homicides.

Oct. 24, 1997 After its lease ends with Carmike Theaters, the Watkins Belcourt cinema, Nashville’s last historic neighborhood theater, reopens to the public as the city’s sole arthouse. Its new owners are a group of investors led by developer Charles Hawkins on behalf of the Watkins Institute and its new film school.

Nov. 3, 1997 Gaylord announces its plans to shut down the Opryland theme park and replace it with a giant mall called Opry Mills.

Nov. 6, 1997 Gummo, a movie filmed in Nashville by former Hillsboro High student Harmony Korine, opens at the Watkins Belcourt.

Nov. 24, 1997 Mayor Bredesen announces his plan to ask Metro Council for the funding to turn the downtown post office into an art center and museum.

Dec. 16, 1997 A group of consultants recommends to the Metro Library Board that the new downtown public library be built on the site occupied by Church Street Centre.

January 1998 Dr. Thomas Frist Sr., cofounder of Hospital Corporation of America, dies at age 87. Two days later, his wife of 60 years, Dorothy Cate Frist, passes away at Centennial Hospital.

Jan. 7, 1998 Owen Bradley, legendary Nashville producer and architect of Music Row, dies at age 82.

Jan. 15, 1998 Regal Cinemas opens its Hollywood 27 megaplex, the largest theater east of the Mississippi, which singlehandedly ends Carmike Cinemas’ long dominance of the local movie scene.

Jan. 25, 1998 Jim Kennedy, Gov. Ned Ray McWherter’s top aide and a Capitol Hill press corps favorite, dies unexpectedly during a tennis game.

Jan. 29, 1998 Service Merchandise founder Raymond Zimmerman announces he will step down as chairman of the board.

Jan. 30 & 31, 1998 After six-and-a-half years, Lucy’s Record Shop closes with two huge celebratory shows.

February 1998 Dr. David Satcher gets what Dr. Henry Foster couldn’t: a thumbs-up from the Senate as U.S. surgeon general.

Feb. 16, 1998 After striking an agreement with Gannett, publisher Irby Simpkins announces that the Nashville Banner will cease publication that week, thus ending its 122-year history.

Mar. 28, 1998 The Nashville Predators beat the NHL’s imposed goal of selling 12,000 season tickets to become Nashville’s first major-league hockey team.

Mar. 29, 1998 The UT Lady Vols win their third straight NCAA national championship.

Apr. 6, 1998 Country great Tammy Wynette dies in her sleep, of causes that are debated for the year to come.

Apr. 16, 1998 The Scene’s Christine Kreyling reports that John Rochford’s relatives, who own the 1917-vintage West End apartment building the Jacksonian, are planning to sell it to Walgreen’s—which would raze it. The Scene declares war.

May 1998 Cicadas!

May 4, 1998 Kevin Longinotti dies of injuries sustained at Centennial Park during the Apr. 16 tornadoes.

May 5, 1998 For the first time in his career, state Rep. Bill Boner loses an election: the Democratic primary for the $84,000-a-year register of deeds office. He announces he will not seek further public office, and is seen months later delivering Yellow Pages.

May 18, 1998 As part of a $2.9 billion deal, Dillard’s buys the Castner Knott chain, ending the store’s 100-year presence in Nashville.

May 20, 1998 The Scene escalates the fight to save the Jacksonian. As “Save Jack!” becomes a civic catchphrase, local celebs ranging from Emmylou Harris to Jonell Mosser join the fray.

July 2, 1998 It’s official: Tennessee Oilers season-ticket sales suck. Must be the Oilers’ stupid name, which owner Bud Adams refuses to change.

July 11, 1998 Lawyer/artist Jack Kershaw unveils his, um, unusual statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest off I-65 near Brentwood.

Aug. 6, 1998 Setting the stage for a fight that never materializes, gadfly John Jay Hooker wins the Democratic primary for governor.

Aug. 28, 1998 After 28 years, the Gerst Haus closes its Woodland Street location to make way for stadium parking.

Sept. 19, 1998 The Nashville Predators win their first pre-season game—and the city’s hearts and minds.

Sept. 28, 1998 Judge Thomas Wiseman approves a $206 million desegregation plan for Metro schools—thus ending the city’s 43-year-old desegregation suit.

Oct. 1, 1998 The Scene introduces a new design: bigger print, new features, more headaches.

Oct. 19, 1998 Ending almost two years of will-he-won’t-he speculation, Mayor Phil Bredesen tells the downtown Rotary Club he will not seek a third term.

Oct. 19, 1998 State Sen. Tommy Burks is killed by a gunshot wound at his farm in East Tennessee. His opponent in the senatorial race, Putnam County Tax Assessor Byron “Low Tax” Looper, quickly becomes the primary suspect.

Oct. 29, 1998 The Scene’s Lisa A. DuBois reports that Mac Pirkle is stepping down after 14 years as head of the Tennessee Repertory Theatre.

Oct. 30, 1998 The despised West Meade Wal-Mart opens, built on a Native American burial ground.

Nov. 3, 1998 Gov. Don Sundquist trounces John Jay Hooker in the gubernatorial race by a 2-to-1 margin. In his senate race against Charlotte Burks, widow of his alleged murder victim Sen. Tommy Burks, Byron “Low Tax” Looper mysteriously receives almost 1,500 votes. Talk about loyal Republicans.

Nov. 12, 1998 The Scene’s Willy Stern exposes a pattern of alleged kickbacks and sweetheart deals involving Baptist Hospital’s chief of construction, Gerald Hemmer. The story puts another dent in the armor of Baptist chairman of the board C. David Stringfield. Two weeks later, Stringfield is ousted as chairman by the hospital board’s executive committee.

Nov. 14, 1998 The Tennessee Oilers become the Tennessee Titans.

Nov. 14, 1998 The ReLeaf Nashville effort draws 1,000 tree-planting volunteers to tornado-stricken East Nashville.

Nov. 27, 1998 Red Grooms’ Tennessee Fox Trot Carousel opens at Riverfront Park.

Dec. 5, 1998 Albert Gore Sr., 90, dies at his home in Carthage.

Dec. 19, 1998 President Bill Clinton becomes the second U.S. president in history to be impeached.

Dec. 24, 1998 After nine-and-a-half years, John Bridges writes his final “Keeping Up” for the Scene.

Dec. 31, 1998 The beloved chili mill Varallo’s closes its 79-year-old location at 817 Church St. We miss Frank and Eva.

Jan. 28, 1999 Failing to find an audience, the Watkins Belcourt, Nashville’s only arthouse and last historic neighborhood theater, closes its doors.

Mar. 18, 1999 The Scene’s Liz Murray Garrigan reports that the new East Bank stadium will be named Hyperion Coliseum.

Mar. 31, 1999 A Florida court sentences Rev. Henry Lyons, disgraced president of Nashville-based National Baptist Convention, to five-and-a-half years on a racketeering conviction.

April 1999 Vanderbilt Chancellor Joe B. “The Unseen” Wyatt announces he will step down in July.

Apr. 3, 1999 John Bibb, The Tennessean’s venerated former sports editor, dies after a long battle with lung cancer.

Apr. 15, 1999 Media critic Henry Walker writes his last column for the Scene.

May 6, 1999 Dell Computer Corp. announces it will build a plant near Nashville International Airport.

May 20, 1999 New media critic Matt Pulle makes his first appearance in the Scene, just after Henry Walker turns up at Pulle’s old home, InReview.

June 1999 The Federal Trade Commission announces its opposition to the $600 million purchase of Ingram Book Group by Barnes & Noble, thus killing the deal.

June 24, 1999 Whaddaya know? Ten years later, the Scene’s still here. And so are you.

Thanks for everything

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Recent Comments

Sign Up! For the Scene's email newsletters





* required

All contents © 1995-2015 City Press LLC, 210 12th Ave. S., Ste. 100, Nashville, TN 37203. (615) 244-7989.
All rights reserved. No part of this service may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of City Press LLC,
except that an individual may download and/or forward articles via email to a reasonable number of recipients for personal, non-commercial purposes.
Powered by Foundation