Nashville History Fun Facts
Founded in 1779, Nashville was originally called Fort Nashborough, in honor of acclaimed Revolutionary War hero General Francis Nash. In 1784, the community's name was changed from Nashborough to Nashville. The city became Tennessee's capital from 1812 to 1815 and was permanently established as the capital in 1843.
Under its Metropolitan Charter, which became effective April 1, 1963, Nashville and Davidson County have a unique single government, with an authority reaching more than 1.5 million people and 533 square miles. This widespread area is governed by Mayor Bill Purcell, Vice Mayor Howard Gentry and the 40-member Metro Council.
- 8000 BC
First Indian inhabitants build villages in the Nashville area.
- 1200 AD
(Mississippian Era) Large Indian villages cover the Nashville area.
- 1450 AD
Indian villages disappear; Middle Tennessee becomes a hunting area.
Charleville, a French-Canadian fur trader, establishes a trading post at the French Lick.
Charleville's post is abandoned; Middle Tennessee becomes a shared hunting ground for the Cherokee, Choctow, Chickasaw, and Creek Indian tribes.
Timothy Demonbreun, a French-Canadian fur trader, arrives at the French Lick and begins hunting in the area.
AMERICAN REVOLUTION BEGINS.
North Carolinian Richard Henderson meets with Cherokee Indian leaders on the Wautauga River and bargains with them for claim to the land between the Ohio and Cumberland Rivers.
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
Robertson leads the first group of settlers, mostly men and boys to the Cumberland Bluff; they arrive on Christmas Day.
Col. John Donelson prepares flotilla of flatboats to bring women and children by water.
Donelson arrives with second group on April 24 after a river voyage of 1,000 miles.
Cumberland Compact, detailing the rights of the settlers, is signed by 250 men May 13.
REVOLUTIONARY WAR ENDS.
North Carolina legislature creates Davidson County.
North Carolina legislature passes an act establishing the town of Nashville, naming it for General Francis Nash
Colonel John Donelson, a founder of Nashville, is mysteriously killed.
The first physician, Dr. John Sappington, arrives in Nashville.
Real estate in Nashville is assessed and taxed one dollar per acre.
Andrew Jackson arrives in Nashville to serve as public prosecutor.
Bob Renfroe, a free African American, opens popular tavern in Nashville.
Tennessee becomes the 16th state admitted to the Union.
Nashville's first newspaper, Henkle's Tennessee Gazette & Mero Advertiser, is printed.
Nashville is incorporated as a town, electing six aldermen and a mayor.
WAR OF 1812 BEGINS
The first legislature meets in Nashville.
James Robertson, a founder of Nashville, dies near Memphis.
Andrew Jackson defeats British troops at the Battle of New Orleans, January 8.
WAR OF 1812 ENDS
Nashville celebrates the first arrival of a steamboat, the Andrew Jackson.
James Monroe makes the first presidential visit to Nashville.
Nashville Medical Society, the first medical association in Tennessee, is founded in the log courthouse on the public square.
The first bridge, made of stone, is built across the Cumberland.
The City Cemetery is established on 4th Avenue, South.
Andrew Jackson is defeated in his campaign for president of the United States.
Music publishing begins in Nashville with the publication of Western Harmony, a book of hymns and instructions for singing.
Andrew Jackson is elected seventh president of the United States.
Nashville's first publicly owned waterworks is completed.
Cherokee Indians pass through Nashville on the Trail of Tears.
Nashville is named the permanent capital of Tennessee.
James K. Polk is elected president of the United States.
Construction of the Tennessee State Capitol begins.
Andrew Jackson dies at his home, The Hermitage.
The Nashville Merchant's Exchange, the predecessor of the Chamber of Commerce, is founded.
The first telegraph message is received.
James K. Polk dies in Nashville.
Nashville's first public school opens on the northeast corner of 8th Avenue, North, and Broad Street.
Mount Olivet Cemetery is established.
The Tennessee State Capitol is completed.
The building of the Maxwell House Hotel begins.
THE CIVIL WAR BEGINS
Federal troops occupy Nashville, the first southern capital to fall to the Union army.
African American laborers help Union troops build Fort Negley.
Union troops defeat Confederate forces in the Battle of Nashville, December 15 and 16.
CIVIL WAR ENDS
First mule-drawn streetcars appear in Nashville.
Mount Ararat Cemetery for African Americans is established.
Sampson Keeble becomes first African American to serve in the Tennessee General Assembly.
Meharry Medical College is founded.
Jubilee Hall, the first building in the U.S. constructed for the higher education of African Americans, is built.
The city's first telephone call is made.
Nashville celebrates the centennial year of its founding.
Nashville sees its first electric light.
Nashville's first professional baseball game is played in Athletic Park near the Sulphur Spring Bottom north of downtown.
Electric trolleys replace mule-drawn streetcars.
The Union Gospel Tabernacle, now Ryman Auditorium, is completed.
Joel Owsley Cheek develops Maxwell House Coffee blend.
The first automobile is driven in Nashville.
The Centennial Exposition opens with the Parthenon as its centerpiece.
Union Station opens.
Centennial Park is acquired by the city, marking the beginning of Nashville's public park system.
The city's first Carnegie Library opens at the corner of 8th Avenue, North, and Union Street.
Nashville's first skyscraper is constructed at the southeast corner of Fourth Avenue, North, and Church Street.
The African American community institutes a streetcar boycott to protest a new law requiring separation of the races on electric streetcars.
Tony Sudekum opens the first movie theater, The Dixie, on 5th Avenue, North, next to the Arcade.
A Model T Ford climbs the steps of the Capitol to prove that the automobile could replace the horse.
Nashvillian James C. Napier becomes Registrar of the U.S. Treasury.
Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State Normal School, later Tennessee State University, opens.
WORLD WAR I BEGINS
The town of Old Hickory and a powder plant are built by DuPont.
WORLD WAR I ENDS
18TH AMENDMENT (PROHIBITION) IS RATIFIED.
"Hampton Field" becomes Nashville's first airfield.
Tennessee becomes the 36th and deciding state to vote for ratification of the 19th (Woman Suffrage) Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The first Nashville symphony orchestra was organized.
Grand Ole Opry begins.
The Parthenon reopens in its permanent form.
The present Davidson County Courthouse is completed and opened.
Nashvillian William Edmondson becomes the first African American to be given a one-man show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
American Airlines lands the first plane in the new airport.
WORLD WAR II BEGINS WITH ATTACK ON PEARL HARBOR.
Cornelia Fort becomes the first woman pilot to die on war duty in American history.
The Grand Ole Opry moves to Ryman Auditorium.
World War II ends.
Capital Records becomes the first major company to locate its director of country music in Nashville.
Belmont College opens.
BROWN V. THE BOARD OF EDUCATION DECLARES SEGREGATION ILLEGAL.
Kelley Vs The Board of Education in Nashville leads to school desegregation plan.
The Country Music Association is founded.
Nashville Sit-In Movement leads to widespread desegregation of public facilities.
The Maxwell House Hotel burns.
Metropolitan Government is approved by the voters.
Tennessee's first interstate highway, connecting Nashville to Memphis, arrives in Nashville.
Metropolitan Government is formally inaugurated; County Judge Beverly Briley takes office as the first mayor.
CONGRESS PASSES CIVIL RIGHTS ACT.
The Grand Old Opry moves from Ryman Auditorium to Opryland.
The United Nations comes to Nashville for its first meeting away from New York City.
Tennessee celebrates its Bicentennial.
Nashville Banner Newspaper ceases with final edition Friday, February 20, 1998.
Name "Adelphia Coliseum" chosen in June for new stadium. First game in new coliseum is played on August 15, 1999.
New Country Music Hall of Fame opens
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