Our Back Pages brings you tidbits of this week in Nashville history from near and far, chronologically speaking.
This edition: Lower Broad's emergence as a peep-show paradise in the late 1970s, the three-decade saga of that bare patch of ground by the Music Row Roundabout, a millennial view of the restaurant scene, state Dems' botched swipe at a Swift-boater, and a Triple Crown champ's ancestral ties to Belle Meade Plantation.
Porn Palaces Plague Music CityLower Broad's clientele had gone from rhinestone-studded to rough since the Opry moved out to Opryland three years earlier from the venerable Ryman Auditorium:
The former heart of Nashville's tourist business is now overrun with adult movie houses, bookstores and massage parlors.
The Ryman remains open for tours, but a reporter recently counted 10 adult movie houses, bookstores or massage parlors within three blocks.Elsewhere around town, fine new tourism amenities were in the works to compete for the attention Lower Broad used to enjoy, the AP reported. Not only was the new Opryland facility expected to bring another 100,000 conventioneers to town annually, but plans were afoot to construct "a plush, high-rise hotel" near the Country Music Hall of Fame at the end of Music Row.
In fact, the Adult Mini Cinema is right across the street from the Ryman. A sign in the window says: "Hi, for open-minded adults we have fiery films, magazines, paperbacks [and] novelties, but you must be 18 to enter."
Roy Acuff, "the king of country music," owns one of the buildings housing an adult bookstore. He says there's nothing he can do because the person he leased to subleased.
The downtown boom has come at the expense of earlier tourist hot spots such as "Music Row," where the soon-to-be-closed Country Music Hall of Fame sits cramped and outdated beside a ghost town of former souvenir shops, tour bus offices and eateries.Ah, but singer and entrepreneur Reba McEntire had just the idea to bring the area back to life: A luxury hotel, which her company would partner with Ritz-Carlton to open in 2001 at the site of the now-shuttered Barbara Mandrell Museum where Division and Demonbreun Streets converge.
While people are willing to stand in line for two hours at P.F. Chang's for Crispy Honey Shrimp and Peanut-Lime Chicken Salad, on any given weeknight there are tables for the asking at establishments like Sasso in East Nashville and Mirror in 12 South.While bringing back Proustian remembrances of dearly departed dining establishments like Sasso and 6º, Kay's piece also serves as a primer to what stood in the way of success for any ambitious restaurateur in this town, circa 2000. Few of the barriers to entry she cites appear to have fallen in the past decade.
Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Randy Button has apologized for a press release he says was posted on the group's Web site by mistake that called for a boycott of businesses owned by prominent GOP contributor and Nashville businessman Lee Beaman.1902: End of an equestrian era
The release stated that Beaman had given a quarter of a million dollars to the political group "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth." It called on Democrats to boycott Beaman Automotive and not to purchase Pepsi products bottled at Beaman Bottling. In fact, Beaman had given $2,500 to that group.
The Carter House is located on Columbia Avenue and was the epicenter of the November 30, 1864 Battle of Franklin, described by historians as the five bloodiest hours of the Civil War because of the number of soldiers injured, killed or missing, approximately 10,000 soldiers from both Union and Confederate forces.Carnton this month opened its $1.2 million Fleming Center. Housing a gift shop, offices and exhibit space, the center is named for Sam Fleming, a Franklin native and renowned Nashville banker who was a major supporter of the museum.
Carnton's role in the battle came when the home served as the largest field hospital in the area of hundreds of wounded and dying Confederate soldiers. The historic house sits off Lewisburg Pike at the edge of the city's Eastern Flank Battlefield Park, approximately one mile from The Carter House.
This strategic alliance is seen as a way to greatly enhance the visitor experience by offering such things as comprehensive battlefield tours, combination tickets and seamless integration with other battlefield sites. The interpretive approaches to the sites will be preserved by the two boards that continue in their role as fiduciaries of their respective associations.