Nashville Neighborhood Designated One Of The Most Endangered Historic Places In America

Dated: 06/06/2019

Views: 346

by TJ Anderson

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Historic RCA Studio B on Music Row, Cliff/Flickr

Whatever your relationship with Nashville real estate might be, it’s clear that our city’s remarkable growth has brought its share of pluses, and a share of minuses. With a rapid increase in population, we’ve seen a rapid increase in development — and not all of it has been done with an eye on maintaining Nashville’s unique culture and history.

Ask a local about the Nashville neighborhoods they’re most afraid of losing, culturally speaking, and you’ll hear about East Nashville, Edgehill, sometimes Germantown and Hillsboro Village or Belmont. And almost always: Music Row.

Support for the latter worry: The latest list of “America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places,” determined and announced annually by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, includes historic districts and landmarks that span the nation, from Dallas’ Tenth Street Historic District to the Bismarck-Mandan Rail Bridge in Bismarck, North Dakota, plus Nashville’s Music Row.

“Despite its critical role in the identity, economy, and culture of internationally renowned ‘Music City,’ Music Row is on pace to becoming a thing of the past,” reads the report from the National Trust. “Since 2013, 50 buildings — the majority serving music-related functions — have been demolished to make way for new development.”

The report urges Nashville leaders to work toward a plan that maintains Music Row’s historic identity, and invites readers to share their support. You can read the full list of "America's Most Endangered Historic Places" here.

Music Row’s historic importance

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If you’re new to Nashville, the importance of Music Row to the city’s culture might not be readily apparent. It’s a comparatively small neighborhood — a clump of blocks around Sixteenth and Seventeenth Avenues South and Division and Grand Streets — with a healthy share of commercial buildings that you might not visit if you don’t have professional needs in the music industry. Although plenty of new mixed-use buildings reside in the area — key to the National Trust’s designation — Music Row is known for its congregation of older commercial structures, home to label HQs, studios, publishing houses and other practical players in the Music City machine.

That’s been the case for decades, particularly since the 1950s. As Music Row blossomed, labels including Capitol and RCA Victor, and studios led by music industry heroes like Owen Bradley and Chet Atkins, proliferated in that small sector, with musicians and industry players cohabitation and collaborating. The tightly packed passion and talent created an energy that helped Nashville reach its place as an international recording center, and right there in some of those simple, squat buildings, some of music’s enduring hits were captured. Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, Roy Orbison and so many others flocked to Music Row, leaving their voices in the walls, and making an enduring mark on American culture.

Even 20 years ago, Music Row felt a lot like a time capsule: still a place where songwriters, singers and industry players hid out to create art, there in plain sight.

Some Nashvillians think that the 2001 relocation of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, from Music Row to Downtown, was the harbinger of change. But most peg it to the population and attention boom that’s changed so much of the rest of the city.

Whatever the catalyst, Music Row is certainly changing, and it’s concerning both locals and national historic preservationists.

What buying property around Music Row looks like now

If you were aiming to live or work on or near Music Row, you’ll have a tough time grabbing hold of history. But it’s still possible, if more probable that you’ll end up looking at more modern condos.

Below, a few properties on the market in Nashville as of this posting, right on the edges of Music Row in Nashville, to give you a sense of what the real estate market in the immediate area looks like in 2019.

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900 19th Ave. S., Apt. 308

Nashville, TN 37212


A songwriter or player who’s just getting his or her footing can still make the Music Row area work, in theory — they’d just need to be cool with tight confines. This condo, just off Chet Atkins Place, is listed at just under $200K, and has 1 bed and 1 bath to work with.

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1803 Broadway, Unit 402

Nashville, TN 37212


An example of newer development in the area, though The Bristol really came in ahead of the boom, in the mid-aughts. Its location just off Music Row, a quick stumble to classic-cocktails haunt Patterson House and all the industry power lunches on Demonbreun, makes it a prime choice for music industry professionals on the rise.

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1026BB 18th Ave. S.

Nashville, TN 37212


Steps off Music Square West, this townhome looks historic, but the building actually hails from the ‘80s. Still, George Jones’ "He Stopped Loving Her Today" came from the ‘80s, so it wasn’t exactly the worst time for creating around Music Row. If the home isn’t emblematic of the area's historic roots or new development, it is a picture-perfect example of what living in the middle of Nashville history runs you in 2019: The 2,750-square-foot unit is listed at over $260 per square foot.

Trying to find the Nashville neighborhood that’s right for you, and driven to contribute toward preserving and loving a historic property? Please let me know if I can help you on your househunt! Take a look at some Nashville homes for sale here, and contact TJ Anderson Homes here.

Properties are listed with their own respective real estate firms, and not under agreement with TJ Anderson and/or Benchmark Realty, LLC, unless noted.

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TJ Anderson

TJ Anderson is a Nashville Realtor with Benchmark Realty who's helped countless clients both buy a home and sell a home in Nashville, Tennessee. He blogs about Nashville regularly, from Nashville-area....

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