100 Things About Nashville (part 5)

Alright… I tried to make this about things uniquely Nashville, and in a way where folks who aren’t from or haven’t been to Nashville might be able to see why we appreciate these things.

* Honkytonk USA. While many spend their time trying to show the world that there is more the Nashville than country music, there is no denying that is a huge part of our identity. Lower Broadway has been, and always will be, a popular destination for country music lovers around the world, and the CMA Festival is a huge reminder of the power it has on our city’s commerce.
* Marathon Motor Works. The only cars that were actually made IN Nashville. Marathon Village still stands today and is one of my favorite places in the city.
* The Buckle of the Bible Belt. With more than 800 houses of worship in the city, being home to The Baptist Sunday School Board, The United Methodist Publishing House, The National Baptist Publishing Board, and Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville is without a doubt the “big buckle” in the Bible Belt. We also are home to Free Will Baptist Bible College, David Lipscomb University, Trevecca Nazarene University, and Belmont University. Not to mention, the majority of the Christian music industry calls Nashville home and a lot of other stuff that I can’t remember.
* Varallo’s. One of my favorite breakfast spots in the heart of the Nashville on 4th Avenue and Nick is carrying on a wonderful family legacy. The original was located on Church Street. Varallo’s was Nashville’s original Chili Parlor(which was a popular gig back in the day). The Varallo family has been a part of Nashville’s commerce for almost a century. One of their first businesses was a chilled watermelon store. It was the first of its kind! Cutting edge!! The Scene did a great article about the family back in 1998.
* The General Jackson. A replica of a riverboat built in 1817, this model was launched in 1985 and was an attraction at Opryland USA. When Opryland closed, the General Jackson took to the waters of the Cumberland River, bringing identity to the river when most other things associated with it had faded away.
* Fat Mo’s. De-frickin-licious. Uniquely Nashville and a great story of the dream of America.
* Lawrence Record Shop. The other famous record shop in town. For more than 50 years Lawrence Record Shop has been owned by the same family, and it ain’t just country. They have tons of stuff from different decades and random genres. If you haven’t ever been in, drop by and let the Lawrence brothers tell you some stories. They know Nashville. And they know music.
* Opryland USA. I don’t know a Nashvillian that doesn’t miss it.
* WSM-FM. Whether you dig the format or not… it was the first commercial FM station in the country. That’s pretty dang impressive. Side note: WSM stands for We Shield Millions which was the slogan of former owner, National Life & Accident Insurance Company.
* Schermerhorn Symphony Center. While it may not be uniquely Nashville, it is certainly the first world class symphony hall to be in Nashville. I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am about its planned opening in September. It is surely to open the door for a bright future for the arts in our incredible city.

9 Comments so far

  1. Kate O' (unregistered) on July 13th, 2006 @ 8:37 am

    I have a friend who rented space as a photography studio in the Marathon building, and it was great to see so many other artists working there, too.

  2. Cheryl (unregistered) on July 13th, 2006 @ 9:32 am

    This list is GREAT!!! It makes me realize why I LOVE Nashville so much. I nominate Ellington Ag Center for the list. Not only is it a great shortcut, but it’s beautiful as well!

  3. Lesley (unregistered) on July 13th, 2006 @ 9:59 am

    Aaaand…WLAC is for “Life And Casualty.” I think it’s interesting that two of the most influential radio stations in Nashville (and the country) were first owned by insurance companies!

  4. Jackson Miller (unregistered) on July 13th, 2006 @ 11:12 am

    I thought the Varallo’s on 4th closed down. Is the one at Church and 9th closed too?

  5. Mister Nashville (unregistered) on July 13th, 2006 @ 1:24 pm

    The one on 4th is still kicking. The one on Church closed in 1998.

  6. Jackson Miller (unregistered) on July 13th, 2006 @ 2:11 pm

    Good. I thought Cheesburger Charlies had taken over the location but I guess I was a few doors off.

  7. Jack Shell (unregistered) on July 13th, 2006 @ 7:07 pm

    For the record WSM-FM was originally broadcast on 100.1 FM, but unlike that frequency’s current resident, WRLT/Franklin, WSM-FM 100.1 was a Nashville license. The original radio station was strictly experimental and ceased operation by the end of the 50’s. The current WSM-FM 95.5 was originally WLWM and signed on in 1962. It was acquired by National Life in 1968 and was a beautiful music counterpart to full service WSM-AM. It later became a Lightning 100 esque format called SM95 that was very popular for many years, but like Lightning 100 didn’t make much money… so it became a contemporary country version of it’s AM sister station which had gone all country by 1979. 95.5 still howls as The Wolf and is rockin’ in first place. And yes, I work there.

  8. Jack Shell (unregistered) on July 13th, 2006 @ 7:10 pm

    Also I think it should be noted that everything in this city is “World Famous”.

    World Famous Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge

    World Famous Grand Ole Opry

    World Famous Nashville Palace

    World Famous Ryman Auditorium

    World Famous Goo Goo Cluster

    World Famous Lower Broadway

    We are World Famous for having lots of things that are apparantly World Famous.

    Who’da thunk it?

  9. sistasmiff (unregistered) on July 13th, 2006 @ 8:57 pm

    The company formerly known as the Baptist Sunday School Board is now “LifeWay.” It was known as the BSSB since it formed in 1891 until 1998 when feeling some were put off by the “Baptist” name, they decided to go with something a little more mainstream. Old timers refuse to call it anything but “the Board”. I didn’t think I’d ever adjust to the new name, but, it didn’t take long.

    Like Jack Shell knows his WSM history, I know the BSSB history cause I work there.

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