your insider guide for a local perspective on Nashville, Tennessee.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Chatting with Keith Urban, and the Latest on Nashville's Fight to Preserve our History

As I'm sure you've witnessed firsthand or have seen in the local news as of late, we have had quite the uproar in our community regarding historic buildings being lost to commercial developers. Being the “it” city has apparently come at a cost, as we are beginning to see more and more of our past being destroyed to make room for a new future- bigger, ‘better’ developments- which unfortunately means losing a lot of Nashville’s character along the way.

I understand the need and benefits of growth. It’s exciting. It creates jobs, it allows for more opportunity, for us to be more culturally diverse. What I don’t understand is our beautiful neighborhoods being destroyed seemingly by greed. Mansions, music studios, shops, and other historic buildings are being razed overnight, with little to no concern about the effect that it is going to have on our community.

People of Nashville: We are one of the United States' most culturally rich cities, with our history rooted in one the most emotionally and impactful industries in the world. We need to preserve this history, preserve our culture, and I believe it starts with saving the places where it all began. 

What can we do to make a difference? How can we help ‘support the cause’? I think we can start with something somewhat simple - creating noise. We all have a voice, so, let’s make it heard. One of the city's loudest voices and biggest advocates for preservation, Historic Nashville, recently released their 2014 'Nashville Nine': A list, nominated by the public, of the city's historic properties endangered by demolition, neglect, or development. Since the inception of Historic Nashville, they have successfully advocated for the preservation of places like the Ryman, Union Station, Hermitage Hotel, Lower Broad, 2nd Avenue, and the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge. Can you imagine our city without these culture-defining landmarks?

Join the fight and connect with Historic Nashville.

Another one of the biggest voices supporting the cause is Nashville resident Keith Urban. I had the chance to chat with him briefly at the 2014 American Idol Auditions to get his thoughts re: the issue.

"I hope that the dialogue gets initiated," Urban says, "But it's not an easy conversation. But what does it take? There's lot of discussion I think that has to go into that...A conversation about how it can be done, can it be done, how much of it can be done, and having an actual conversation about how it's achieved," he says. "I'm passionate about (not) having that situation where the bulldozers come in and knock a building down and it's too late. I've seen it with buildings here in Nashville as we all have," he continues. "I'm not canning developers because we need them too, and progress is a part of it, I get it. It's just important that everyone gets to have an open dialogue about pros and cons, crosses their t's, dots their i's be for buildings are razed."

I'm confident that if we all continue to speak up, we will in fact make a difference. Let's all join Historic Nashville and Keith Urban in the fight to protect our city. Larry Garland sums it up perfectly in his recent letter to the editor of the New York Times:

"Heart and soul are interwoven with the brick and mortar of Nashville’s storied buildings. Without history for reference, there’s no benchmark to judge the present, no springboard for building a better future...Build your shining city, yes, but hold onto your solid history."

Learn more about Historic Nashville and become a member at


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