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Nashville: 1900

Circa 1900. "Union Station, Nashville, Tennessee." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

Circa 1900. "Union Station, Nashville, Tennessee." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Tornado damage

The 1998 tornadoes in Nashville blew out the clock face and left poor Mercury hanging by a toe. Mercury is actually only two dimensional to fool the eye. The Frist Arts Center next door was originally the main downtown post office. The designers did a marvelous job in keeping the integrity of the original building.

Hi-Tech Mail Handling

I had a meeting there in the mid-1970s. By that time, Amtrak only had two trains passing through daily, and they had been relegated to a small office in one corner of the building. Everything else had been left exactly as it was when in full operation. I remember a huge, Rube Goldberg-looking network of conveyor belts going everywhere under the big trainshed, that I was told was an experimental system of automated US Mail handling to and from trains.

I had a cheeseburger for lunch in a cafe that as I recall was located in the approximate area of the one in the photo. It was either semi-open air or they had all the door and windows open, because it was absolutely swarming with houseflies, like you see in video from third world countries. They were so thick they'd fly in your mouth while you were trying to eat, and keeping them off your food was impossible. I've never seen anything comparable anywhere else in the U.S.

Note Digital Clock now Analog

The linen sheets with numerals were hard to keep in sync. Great hotel now awaiting Amtrak trains we never should have lost.

Nashville Mystery

As I remember the statue of Mercury disappeared after its fall from grace and no one knew what became of it. Now this was a story I heard in town many times; it might even be true.

[This article gives the history of the statue and what became of it after the fall. - tterrace]

Thank you…. I was hoping someone would know the real story!

Union Station today

Here's a similar shot of Union Station today. It is now a fancy hotel operated by Wyndham. Next to it, further down Broadway, you can see the Frist Center for the Visual Arts and the Estes Kefauver Federal Building & Courthouse. Those buildings are new, but just past the federal building, you can see the same spires of the old Customs Building (now housing the U.S. Bankruptcy Court) and the First Baptist Church of Nashville.

Falling Mercury

Note the statue of Mercury on top of the tower. The poor old boy came to a bad end, falling to the street after a violent wind storm.

Three Landmarks Remain

Not only is Union Station (now the Union Station Hotel) still there, but the First Baptist Church (spire) and Customs House (tower) in the far background remain as well.


A clock on the station tower.

Inverted acorns

All the utility poles have finials the resemble an upside down acorn. Intended to fool my enemy, the squirrel?

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