10 Interesting Facts about Nashville
Nashville, the capital city of Tennessee, is situated on the Cumberland River near the center of the state. Founded in 1779, it was the seat of government of Davidson county until 1963, when it was combined with the county under a metropolitan charter, forming a single unit of local government covering 533 square miles (1,380 sq km).
Nashville is perhaps best known in the United States and abroad as a major center for the recording and publishing of music, particularly country music, accounting for its nickname, "Music City, U.S.A."
Here are 10 interesting facts about Nashville:
1. A river town from the time of its founding and a railroad center beginning in the middle 1800s, Nashville now relies mainly on air and highway transportation. Several commercial airlines serve the city, and Interstate Highways 24, 40, and 65 converge there. The highways connect Nashville directly with Memphis, Knoxville, and Chattanooga, Tenn.; Louisville, Ky.; and Birmingham, Ala., all of which are within a driving distance of 200 miles (320 km).
2. The population of the old city of Nashville was 170,874 in 1960. In the 1970 census, after the consolidation of Nashville and Davidson county, the new entity recorded a population of 447,877, making it the 30th largest city in the United States. Its 2010 population increased to 601,222. About 1,589,934 people live in the 13-county metropolitan area, of which Nashville is the center. The other 12 counties in the area are Cannon, Cheatham, Dickson, Hickman, Macon, Robertson, Rutherford, Smith, Sumner, Trousdale, Williamson, and Wilson. Since 1940 the proportion of African Americans in the Nashville-Davidson county population has remained at about 15–30% of the total.
3. The most distinctive characteristic of Nashville's economy is its diversity. The health-care industry has become one of the largest employers in the Nashville area. Some of the other areas are government, educational institutions, religious bodies, insurance and banking companies, the music industry, publishing firms (particularly religious material), and manufacturers of chemicals, wearing apparel, aircraft parts, rubber products, and glass for automobiles. Nashville has also become home to the headquarters of a noted automobile manufacturing company, which has boosted the job market considerably. There are automobile assembly plants in nearby Smyrna and Spring Hill. Several religious denominations maintain their headquarters and publishing divisions there.
4. Nashville ranks with Los Angeles and New York City as a primary center for the recording, production, publication, and distribution of music. Largely as a result of the music industry, the city has become a major tourist and convention center as well as a site for the production of syndicated television programs and motion pictures. An area called "Music Row" is home to most of the offices and recording studios as well as many museums related to music and performers.
5. As a wholesale and retail trade and marketing center serving the upper South, Nashville has made a smooth transition from an essentially agriculture-based economy to a commercial and industrial one. It was aided in this transition by its easy accessibility, attractive geographical setting, moderate climate, and variety of opportunities for both work and leisure. Nashville has become a popular city for immigrants, owing to its relatively low cost of living and large job market. The city's foreign-born population grew some 10.9% between 2005 and 2009.
6. Education has figured prominently in the life of Nashville since 1785, when Davidson Academy, the forerunner of George Peabody College for Teachers, was founded; the college later became affiliated with Vanderbilt University and is now known as Peabody College of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University. Among the more than 20 other colleges and universities in the city are Fisk University, Tennessee State University, Meharry Medical College, Lipscomb University, Belmont University, Trevecca Nazarene University, Aquinas College, and Nashville State Technical Institute.
7. Nashville has an educational television station, 11 commercial stations, and several dozen radio stations. One daily newspaper, several weeklies, and a number of magazines are published. Adding to these resources are the Cumberland Science Museum; the Tennessee Performing Arts Center; the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, which performs in the newly constructed (2006) Schermerhorn Symphony Center; the university and public library systems; and numerous art galleries, theater groups, and musical aggregations. Other museums of note are the Music Valley Wax Museum of the Stars, the Nashville Toy Museum, and the Tennessee State Museum. There are many museums, scattered around Nashville. that are dedicated to the well-known singing stars of Opry fame.
8. Chief among Nashville's attractions, both to residents and visitors, are the weekly Grand Ole Opry, a country music show, and a family amusement complex called Opryland, U.S.A. The Opry Entertainment Complex comprises the Grand Ole Opry House, the Acuff Theatre, the Opry Museum, and the Opry Plaza. Many other city landmarks also are well known, including the Parthenon, a replica of the Greek original, in Centennial Park; the State Capitol, designed in 1845 by William Strickland; the Hermitage, home of Andrew Jackson, seventh president of the United States; Belle Meade Mansion and Travellers' Rest, historical southern mansions; Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Fine Arts Center; Fort Nashborough, a replica of the settlement built by the city founders; and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
9. Bridgestone Arena (formerly the Gaylord Entertainment Center) is the home base for the Nashville Predators, a National Hockey League team; the center also hosts entertainment productions. The Tennessee Titans (previously known as the Houston Oilers in the National Football League) share LP Field with Tennessee State University's football team. The field (formerly called Adelphia Coliseum, then simply the Coliseum) was completed in 1999 for the Titans after the team relocated from Texas to Tennessee in 1997. LP Field is also the venue for the annual CMA Music Festival.
10. Nashville's park system has won honors as one of the finest in the nation. A total of 65 parks covering more than 6,500 acres (2,630 ha) make up the system. Edwin Warner Park and Percy Warner Park are two adjacent tracts totaling 2,664 acres (1,078 ha). In addition, the state maintains a nature conservancy at Radnor Lake, and parks around Old Hickory and Percy Priest lakes are maintained by the federal government. The Nashville Zoo at Grassmere opened in 1996; a historical plantation and farm also are part of the exhibits at the zoo.