Nashville 2016...I

It's New Year's Day, and my last day in the "Music City"...Nashville! This day I wanted to visit some Historically Black Colleges and Universities. My first stop was Tennessee State University, established in 1912. The first thing I saw when I got there was this huge U.S. Air Force jet. I read the historic marker, and found out that it's there to commemorate TSU's Air Force R.O.T.C. From there I see W.J. Hale Stadium and one of the many buildings on campus. I couldn't walk around the campus like I wanted to, but security was gracious enough to let me get the photo of one of the main buildings. Next up was MeHarry Medical College, founded in 1876 as the Medical Department of Central Tennessee College. It was interesting lining up the building with the deep-sloped street, but I managed. My last stop in the area was Fisk University, founded in 1866. Fisk was pretty much open enough to walk around to photograph buildings like the Carl Van Vechten Art Gallery, Cravath Hall, The Harris Music Building, Fisk Memorial Chapel and the famous Jubliee Hall, erected in 1876. Jubilee Hall was named in recognition of the Jubilee Singers. While walking around, I stumbled into Fraternity and Sorority heaven. I spotted Fraternity plots for Alpha Phi Alpha and Phi Beta Sigma and Kappa Alpha Psi's Fraternity logo in the driveway of Jubilee Hall. And I spotted the Sorority plots for Sigma Gamma Rho and Delta Sigma Theta. I thought the creativity was fantastic! From there, I drive over to Vanderbilt University. Vanderbilt is so huge and spread out, I had a hard time finding a good parking spot. So I parked in a store parking lot and grabbed quick photos of the 21st Avenue Bridge, Vanderbilt Stadium and a Vanderbilt Police SUV.

My first stop after a much needed lunch break was the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. The building was closed, so I didn't get the chance to go inside. But there was a huge sculpture outside by Will Ryman called "Rose On 65th Street". This is a very cool flower sculpture, complete with bugs on it...awesome! Across the street is the Union Station Hotel. Through my travels, I see a lot of Union Stations converted to a hotel from a train station...very genius to see the way they turn out. The interior is fantastic. Down the street from the hotel is The Tennessean, home of their newspaper. While driving from that area, I spot a building with a huge guitar propped against it. I find out that it's Valley Arts Guitar, a division of the famous Gibson Guitar company. Next up was the Nashville Parthenon, a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens, Greece. It was built in 1897 as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition. Today the Parthenon, which functions as an art museum, stands as the centerpiece of Centennial Park just west of downtown Nashville. The center piece of the Parthenon is the gold statue of Athena Parthenos inside. And that's what everyone came from miles around to see, including myself. But the building was closed and everyone left disappointed. Also in Centennial Park was a Tennessee Air Guard F-86L Sabre jet, a Nashville Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway locomotive and a statue of John W. Thomas. Thomas helped found the Tennessee Centennial Exposition.

My last stop of the day was "Music Row". Music Row is an area just to the southwest of Downtown Nashville that is home to hundreds of businesses related to the country music, gospel music, and Contemporary Christian music industries. Centered on 16th and 17th Avenues South, along with several side streets, Music Row is widely considered the heart of Nashville's entertainment industry. In this area, one will find the offices of numerous record labels, publishing houses, music licensing firms, recording studios and video production houses, along with other businesses who serve the music industry, as well as radio networks and radio stations. Whew...Music Row is thee spot! Buildings I photographed on Music Row were: BMI, Nashville Association of Musicians, Historic Site of Columbia Records & Studio A, DECCA Records & The Quonset Hut, BMG, Warner Music, RCA Victor Studio B, Word Entertainment and ASCAP. RCA Victor's Studio B is known for their recordings of Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, Charlie Pride, Roy Orbison and many more. I also photographed several statues. There was a statue of Owen Bradley sitting at a piano. Owen is responsible for producing hits for Patsy Cline, Red Foley, Sonny James, Brenda Lee and many others. Across from the Owen Bradley statue is the controversial, yet awesome statue called "Musica". It was built as part of an urban renewal project for the Music Row neighborhood and unveiled in 2003. The controversy stems from the fact that it features nine nude figures...male and female, dancing in a circular composition approximately 38 feet tall. There are five figures which spring forth from the base...four more rise up in the center floating above the others. The pinnacle of the statue is a female up top holding a tambourine. The scale of each figure is fourteen to fifteen feet, or more than twice life-size. The dancers and part of the base are cast in bronze. The other part of the base is composed of massive natural limestone boulders, which are prevalent in the Nashville area. Much of the work on the statue was actually done at a foundry in Lander, Wyoming, with the pieces transported and assembled onsite. It weighs approximately 10 tons. Another "must see" when in Nashville. Across from that statue is Keith Harmon, Mac Hill and Franne Lee's "Microphone Bike rack" statue.

The next morning before I hit the highway heading back to Chicago, I stopped by The Bluebird Cafe, a music club featured on the ABC drama "Nashville". After that, I headed to the Grand Ole Opry House and Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center. I love traveling, but Chi-Town, here I come!