Our Community Manager Meagan Rhodes was putting together a neighborhood profile on 12th South and asked aloud if anyone knew anything about the crooked-looking sculpture behind 12South Yoga. I went into The Tennessean archives, searched for my byline and "sculpture," and sent her a copy of an article I wrote in 1997 … when she was 10.
Here's the thing about being the oldest person in the room: With experience comes pride.
And that is especially true in Nashville, where at 12th & Broad we are constantly talking to people who've moved here to be part of the wonderful creative culture – something that is distinguishing us as a city this decade as much as country music did in the '60s. As Meagan recently noted, when you ask people how long they've been here, they round up.
And so it's with a native's pride ("native" if you allow that I've been here 31 of my 36 years), that I've compiled the following list: 12 Random Things I Know About Nashville Neighborhoods Because I've Been Here Awhile.
1. I know the name of the crooked-looking staircase sculpture in 12South – The Church of Sculpture – and that before it was in 12South, it was in Hillsboro Village.
2. I know that before it was the Biscuit House, it was the Knife & Fork. Before it was Drifter's, it was Alley Cat. Before it was Mad Donna's, it was Radio Café. Before it was Lipstick Lounge, it was Sasso's.
3. The reason I know about places in East Nashville that don't exist anymore is that my father used to work for Hardaway Construction, whose offices are on Main Street (Gallatin Road). When Dad worked there, Hardaway occupied the whole building. Now it's owned by Christian Paro, who just won the Chamber's beautification award for what he's done to the space with Center 615. Anyway, Dad loved the Knife and Fork.
4. In Green Hills, I'm glad that Parnassus filled the void left by Davis-Kidd, which never felt quite right in its home inside the mall. When I was a kid – wow, I'm that person – my mom and I loved to visit Davis-Kidd at Grace's Plaza, where we ate lunch in the second-floor café. I loved the lemon chicken tarragon soup.
5. Wedgewood-Houston is cool now, but I know it used to be a bad idea to park your car on Chestnut. In 1994, my boyfriend's car was broken into while we were at a Sounds game, probably because I'd left my purse inside, in plain sight from the street. I was young.
6. Downtown, I know the stained glass in one of the Oak Bar's historic windows is not the century-old glass the Hermitage Hotel once proudly displayed, because I was there the night two men got into a brawl and shattered it into tiny pieces.
7. Up on the hill, I know Al Gore was all set to give his presidential victory speech at War Memorial before he had to fly, unplanned, to Florida.
8. Near Germantown, I know more than one town's name was initially misspelled on the giant map of the state at the Bicentennial Mall.
9. I believe – I don't know – that CoolSprings Galleria was good for Franklin. People love to complain about the sprawling awfulness of inside shopping malls, but in my opinion Franklin handled that development well, with thoughtful design standards and traffic engineering.
10. I know people still complain about the loss of Nashville's downtown department stores. The spot where Puckett's is now? It used to be Harvey's.
11. On the riverfront, I know that "Dancin' in the District" was way, way different than "Nashville Dancin.' "
12. And I know – but everyone knows this – people still miss Opryland. I was 16 when I worked there. I think I was 14 when I kissed a boy in the Sky Lift.
— By Knight Stivender, 12th & Broad