Until the late 1770s Middle Tennessee was largely unexplored, until a contingent of men and livestock made the difficult trek from Hillsborough, N.C. They traveled during the coldest winter of the century in total isolation in the undeveloped territory. They arrived on Christmas day 1779, and were met six months later by women and children. A fledgling community had been created. Expansion happened almost immediately for this small farming community. At the same time the Colonies had fought for and won their independence from England, and the new settlement quickly began to establish a government and claim individual property rights.
Nashville was founded by James Robertson and named after Francis Nash, who was the clerk of the county at Hillsborough, N.C. Later, as the center of the cotton trade Nashville flourished. It also served as a key river port and later as a center for railroads. Today Nashville is known by many names such as Music City, U.S.A., Country Music Capital of the World, Home of the Nashville Sound, Home of the Grand Old Opry, and the Athens of the South. Nationally Nashville ranks amongst the top with New York and Los Angeles as the center of the recording industry. This brings in many vital tourists who boost the citys economy.
Nashville is home to dozens of recording studios, music publishers, record companies, and agents, as well as hundreds of talented musicians seeking to capture their attention. Opry Land U.S.A. is the mainstay of Nashvilles entertainment scene. It is a huge complex that regularly features big name music acts, and has been the home of the Grand Ole Opry since 1974.
The Grand Ole Opry is considered by some to be the most influential and inspirational program in the history of American music. It began in 1925, and has provided the nation with 75 years of broadcasting. The program has nationwide reach and has sparked the sale of millions of records as well as the imaginations and careers of countless musicians.
There are 22,030 businesses and over 800 industries in Nashville as of 1992.
Some of these industries include rubber products, boats and barges, aircraft parts, fertilizer, meatpacking, and structural steel. The labor force is 267,608 people, which is 68.9 percent of the population. The workforce is comprised of 137,494 males and 130,114 females. The income per capita is 14,490 dollars, but the median family income is 34,009 dollars. This leaves 12.79 percent of the citys population under the poverty level. (See graph number 1 attached on back.) The total population of the central city is 488,374 people. The demographics of the population are 73.86 percent white, 24.32 percent black, 0.29 percent American Indian, 1.27 percent Asian, 0.85 percent Hispanic and 0.26 other. The population of Nashville is 97.51 percent native born.
There is much to do in Nashville. The city has 72 total libraries, which includes 16 public. These libraries have 1,856,676 books in circulation and serve 531,200 people. There are universities in Nashville as well, which helped earn one of its nicknames, the Athens of the South. In 1872 Vanderbilt University was founded. The city also boasts Fisk University that was founded in 1866 and Tennessee State University, which was founded in 1892. Many famous buildings and homes can be found in Nashville. Andrew Jacksons home, the Hermitage, Belle Meade built in 1853, and the capital built in 1859 are all notable.
Andrew Jackson, Nashvilles first citizen, arrived in Nashville during the winter of 1788. As a lawyer he soon became a large landholder by swapping legal services for land. Later he and his wife, Rachel Donelson, built the Hermitage. The Hermitage is just east of town. This historic home spreads over 625 acres and includes a smokehouse, carriage house, and a Greek Revival home. Many tourists visit the Hermitage each year; it is the third most visited presidential home. It is even equipped with a gift shop and is sponsored by Nissan.
Nashville has a convention center, which is 118,675 square feet, as well as a zoo, and many museums and symphonies. Among the museums are the Hermitage, Museum of Tobacco and Art, Nashville Parthenon, Elvis Presley Museum, Nashville Toy Museum, and the Hank Williams Jr. Museum. The city offers a diverse variety of museums, but if one gets bored with them they can go watch the Nashville Sounds play baseball. With so much to do transportation is key.
Today Nashville is a thriving metropolis that depends on transportation to survive. However its history began on the feet of the Native Americans. Until the English arrived, Middle Tennessee served as a hunting ground to various Native American tribes that had established villages along the Mississippi River, just west of Nashville. For trading and the facilitation of communication, a sophisticated trail system was established throughout the region. The land is bounded by three of the largest watercourses in the country. These rivers are the Mississippi, Tennessee, and the Cumberland.
Two hundred years later the Highway Trust Fund was established. This led to the construction of the Interstate Highway System, which would shape the way people travel in Tennessee. In Nashville the automobile rules. The Urban Mileage total is 2,822, and has 96 more miles of interstate highway mileage. The total vehicle miles of travel daily are 15,403,000. With all these miles traveled the average death rate per 100,000 people is 15.7. In 1992 there were 81 motor vehicle deaths. There is no Amtrak service, but there are two railroads and one airport. Everyday 154 flights leave the airport. With so much going on in the city crime is inevitable.
There are two police officers to every 1,000 citizens, but still there were 9,164 violent crimes committed, as well as 46,336 property crimes. In 1993 there were 5,791 cases of aggravated assault, and 9,149 burglaries. There were 87 cases of murder, and 2,709 robberies. Larceny and theft reached 32,456 with 4,731 vehicle thefts. Forcible rape had 577 cases. These crimes cost 117 dollars per capita police expenditure. However, crime is unavoidable in such a metropolis.
The Places Rated Almanac rated Nashville as the 37th best place to live in overall rank. This is an increase from their 44th ranking in 1985. Important factors such as crime dropped as well as an increase in education and transportation. These factors all suggest that Nashville is a city that is concerned with its overall standing, and is taking the proper measures to ensure so.
The climate has changed little over the past 13 years. The biggest difference from 1985 to 1997 has been the number of days the temperature has exceeded 90 degrees. In 1985 the temperature climbed over 90 degrees 37 times as opposed to 1997 when the number was 51. The amount of precipitation raised from 46 inches to 47.3 inches and the snowfall decreased from 10.7 inches to 10.2 inches.
Perhaps the biggest positive increase has been in education. Nashvilles commitment to education has increased over the years. In 1985 Nashville was ranked 184th in education, and in 1997 increased to 59th. Healthcare and environment also improved moving up from 64 to 61. Transportation improved as well. The city has 153 buses to 100 in 1985. Another dramatic increase was in recreation. The city improved its overall standing from 137th to 85th nationally. This is a long way from 1985.
Until the mid 1860s, Nashville had remained a compact city despite some flight out of the downtown area by Nashvilles wealthiest citizens. However, mule drawn streetcars were introduced to the city, and Nashvilles suburbs were born. In the late 1880s the citys first electronic trolleys replaced the mule drawn streetcars. The downtown streets became business thoroughfares, and utilities stretched out along the streetcar lines to serve the growing residential neighborhoods. Eventually, commercial development began. Factories and mills joined the residential developments downtown. Working class families also chose to relocate along the tracks of the railroad, which provided many employment opportunities. These new suburbs provided country living close to all the conveniences of downtown. This also began the growth and expansion of Nashville in the following years.
One hundred years later between 1960 and 1980, Nashvilles Davidson County experienced tremendous growth as its population grew 20 percent. Davidson County had experienced modern suburbanation during the post World War II era. Their population had increased from 400,000 to 478,000.6. People began to leave the downtown area due to such factors as a simpler lifestyle, and more affordable housing. The citys population growth rate had declined as the population of the surrounding counties increased.
While the population of Nashville has increased since 1960, the person per square mile ratio has decreased. In 1960, 751 people lived within a square mile. In 1970, 332 people lived within a square mile. In 1980 the figure was 210, and in 1990 the statistic rose to 278 people per square mile. This data suggests the total area of the city is increasing. While the population is increasing so is Nashvilles overall land mass.
According to the 1990 census Nashville, Tennessee had a total population of 488,374. Of the five counties I chose to observe, Dickson had the least with 25,061 people. Cheatam had 27,180 people and Robertson had 41,994. Rutherford had a population of 118,570, while Davidson had the most people with 510,784.
Nashvilles population changed 8.6 percent according to the 1990 census. Rutherfords population changed the most at 53.1 percent. Cheatam was second with a 32.2 percent change. Dickson was next with a 21.5 percent change, and they were followed by Robertson County, which had an 18.2 percent change in population. Davidson was last in percent of population change with 8.4 percent.
Out of the five counties Cheatam had the highest income per capita with $15,195. Rutherford had $12,536 and Robertson had $12,077. Davidson followed with $11,868 and Dickson had the lowest income per capita with $11,162.
Nashville had a median housing income value of $74,400 in 1990. These numbers are compatible when compared to the per capita income. Cheatam still had the highest with a median housing value of $76,000. Rutherford was second with a housing value of $71,800. Davidson was third with $64,400. Next was Robertson with $61,300. Dickson had the lowest median value with $54,000. (See graph number 2 attached on back.)
Nashville averaged 8,665 serious crimes per 100,000 people. Davidson had the highest rate with 8,721 crimes per 100,000. Rutherford was second with 5,043 serious crimes. Dickson had 4,078 serious crimes and Robertson had 4,013. Cheatam had the fewest serious crimes with 3,358 per 100,000 people.
The ethnic makeup of Nashville has not changed much over the past 40 years. In 1960 the percentage of non-whites was 19.2 percent. In 1970, 96,265 people out of 541,106 were non-white. In 1980, 16.1 percent of Nashvilles population was non-white, and in 1990 the figure was 15.7 percent. (See graphs number 3 through 6 attached on back.)
Nashvilles total population rank has increased over the past 40 years. In 1960 Nashville was ranked 61st in overall population with 399,143 people. In 1970 they were ranked 60th with 541,106 people. In 1980 Nashville was raked 45th with 706,306 people.
In 1990 Nashville eclipsed the one million mark with 1,314,524 people. That year they were ranked 38th nationally. The projected population for Nashville in the year 2000 is 1,154,800 people. In 2010 the projected number of people is expected to be 1,287,900.
Nashville is a thriving metropolis. It is a perfect mixture of history and innovation. The future looms bright for Nashville. Recently residents have expressed their desire for the preservation of undeveloped land and the creation of more parks to add to the standard of life in Nashville. A series of trails connecting major park areas is already underway, along with numerous other projects in the future. Just as sure as you can count on the Grand Ole Opry, you can count on Nashville to stay beautiful for years to