NASHVILLE, the capital of Tennessee, U.S.A., and the county-seat of Davidson county, on the Cumberland river, 186 m. S.S.W. of Louisville, Kentucky. Pop. (1890) 76,168; (1900) 80,865, of whom 3037 were foreign-born and 30,044 were negroes; (1910 census) 110,364. Nashville is served by the Tennessee Central, the Louisville & Nashville, and the Nashville, Chattanooga & St Louis railways, and by several steamboat lines. The Cumberland river is crossed here by four foot-bridges. Nashville is situated on and between hills and bluffs in an un dulating valley; its streets are paved with brick or granite blocks in the business section and macadamized or paved with asphalt in the residential sections. The city has fine public buildings, many handsome residences, and several beautiful parks. The principal building is the State House, a fine example of pure Greek architecture, on the most prominent hill-top, with a tower 205 ft. in height. On the grounds about it are a bronze equestrian statue of Andrew Jackson, by Clark Mills (1815-1883), and the tomb of President James K. Polk, who lived in Nashville. Other prominent buildings and institutions are the United. States Government Building, the County Court House, the City Hall, the Tennessee School for the Blind, the Tennessee Industrial School, the State Library, the Library of the State Historical Society housed in Watkins Institute, a Carnegie library, park buildings, the State Penitentiary, Vendome Theatre, the Board of Trade Building, the City Hospital, the St Thomas Hospital (Roman Catholic), and, near the city, a Confederate Soldiers' Home and a State Hospital for the Insane. Eleven miles east of the city is the "Hermitage," which was the residence of President Andrew Jackson.
The grounds of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition of 1897 (commemorating the admission of Tennessee into the Union) on the west border of the city now constitute Centennial Park, in. which still stand the reproduced Parthenon of Athens, the History Building, which in general outline is a reproduction of the Erectheum and contains a museum and an art gallery, and a monument to the memory of James Robertson (1742-1814), the founder of the city. Besides this there are four other parks: Glendale Park in the south section, a place of much natural beauty; Shelby Park. in the eastern part of the city, fronting the river; Watkins Park, on the north; and Cumberland Driving Park. In Mount Olivet Cemetery is a beautiful Confederate Soldiers' monument surrounded by the graves of 2000 Confederate soldiers, and a little to the north of the city is a National Cemetery in which 16,643 Federal soldiers are buried, the names of 4711 of them being unknown.
Nashville is one of the foremost educational centres in the Southern states. In the western part of the city is Vanderbilt University. This institution, opened in 1875, is under the patronage of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and was named in honour of Cornelius Vanderbilt, who contributed $1,000,000 to its funds, and whose son, W. H. Vanderbilt, and grandsons, W. K. Vanderbilt and Cornelius Vanderbilt, gave to the university about $820,000. It is coeducational and embraces an academic department, a biblical department, and departments of engineering, law, medicine, pharmacy and dentistry; in 1909 it had 125 instructors and 959 students. The University of Nashville is a non-sectarian institution embracing a college department, a medical department, a preparatory department, and the George Peabody College for Teachers; it was incorporated under the laws of North Carolina as Davidson Academy in 1785 and under the laws of Tennessee as Cumberland College in 1806, and the present name was adopted in 1826. The George Peabody College for Teachers, an important part of the institution, was opened as a normal school in 1875; in1907-1908it had an enrolment (including the summer session) of 647 students. In 1909 it received $1,000,000 from the Peabody Fund, later supplemented by $250,000 from the state, $200,000 from the city and $100,000 from Davidson county. The University of Tennessee, located mainly at Knoxville, has at Nashville its medical and dental departments. Ward Seminary, opened in 1865, Boscobel College, opened in 1889, and Buford, Belmont and Radnor colleges are all non-sectarian institutions of Nashville for the higher education of women. For the education of negroes the city has Fisk University (opened in 1866, incorporated in 1867), under the auspices of the American Missionary Association and the Western Freedman's Aid Commission of the Congregational Church (noted since 1871 for its Jubilee Singers,who raised money for Jubilee Hall, finished in 1876); it embraces a college department, a preparatory department, a normal department and departments of theology, music and physical training; and Walden University, founded as Central Tennessee College in 1866, under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and embracing a college department, a normal department, an industrial department, and departments of English, commerce, law, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, music, bible training, nurse training and domestic science. The Baptist, the Methodist Episcopal (South), the Cumberland Presbyterian, and the African Baptist and the African Methodist Episcopal churches have publishing houses in Nashville.
The leading manufactures of the city are flour and grist mill products (valued at $4,242,491 in 1905), lumber and timber products - Nashville is one of the greatest hard wood markets in the United States, and in 1905 the value of lumber and timber products was $1,119,162 and of planing-mill products, $1,299,066 - construction and repair of steam railway cars ($1,724,007 in 1905), tobacco ($1,311,019111 1905), fertilizers ($846,511 in 1905), men's clothing ($720,227 in 1905), saddlery, harness, soap and candles. The total value of the products of the factories increased from $15,301,096 in 1900 to $23,109,601 (16.8% of the entire factory product of the state) in 1905, amounts greater than those of any other city in the state. Nashville has a large trade in grain, cotton, groceries, dry goods, drugs, and boots and shoes. The water-works and the electric lighting plant are owned and operated by the municipality.
Nashville was founded in 1780 as "the advance guard of western civilization" by a company of two hundred or more pioneers under the leadership of James Robertson, the nearest settlement being at the time about three hundred miles distant. When first settled it was named Nashborough in honour of Abner Nash (1716-1786), who was at the time governor of North Carolina, or more probably in honour of the Revolutionary general, Francis Nash (1720-1777), a brother of Abner, killed at Germantown; but when, in 1784, it was incorporated as a town by the North Carolina legislature the present name was substituted. In 1806 Nashville was chartered as a city. Although it was not made the capital of the state until 1843, the legislature met here from 1812 with the exception of the period from 1815 to 1826. Many of the pioneers of Nashville were slain by the Creek and Cherokee Indians, and at times the settlement was saved from destruction only by the heroism of Robertson, but in 1794 the savages were dealt a crushing blow at Nickojack on the lower Tennessee and much more peaceful relations were established. On the 3rd of June 1850 a convention, known as the Southern or Nashville Convention, whose action was generally considered a threat of disunion, met here to consider the questions at issue between the North and the South. Since such a meeting had first been proposed by a state convention of Mississippi, the famous Compromise Measures of 1850 had been introduced in Congress and the support of the movement had been greatly weakened thereby except in South Carolina and Mississippi. Nine states, however, were represented by about 100 delegates, mostly Democrats, and the convention denounced the Wilmot Proviso, and, as "an extreme concession on the part of the South," promised to agree that, W. of Missouri, there should be slavery only in the territory S. of 36° 30' N. lat. At an adjourned meeting in November it expressed its dissatisfaction with the Compromise Measures of Congress, and asserted the right of the South to secede.
During the Civil War Nashville was at first held by the Confederates, but early in 1862 it was occupied by the Federals, who retained possession of it to the end. The battle of Nashville was fought on the 15th and 16th of December 1864 between the Union army under Major-General G. H. Thomas and the Confederates under General J. B. Hood. The Union defences extended in a semicircle round Nashville, the flanks on the river above and below. Hood's army was to the south-east, lightly entrenched, with its flanks on two creeks which empty into the Cumberland above and below Nashville. This position he desired to maintain as long as possible so as to gather recruits and supplies in safety. If Thomas, whose army was of motley composition, attacked, he hoped to defeat him and to enter Nashville on his heels. Thomas, however, would not strike until he had his army organized. Then, on the 15th, he emerged from the entrenchments and by a vigorous attack on the Confederate left forced back Hood's line to a second position i 2 m. to the south. Hood, having detached a part of his army, desired to gain time to bring in his detachments by holding this line for another day. Thomas, however, gave him no respite. On the 16th the Union army deployed in front of him, again over-lapping his left flank, and although a frontal attack was repulsed, the extension of the Federal right wing compelled Hood to extend his own lines more and more. Then the Federals broke the attenuated line of defence at its left centre, and Hood's army drifted away in disorder. The pursuit was vigorous, and only a remnant of the Confederate forces reassembled at Columbia, 40 m. to the south, whence they fell back without delay behind the Tennessee.
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