Music City: Our Day in Nashville

Having only one full day here is like getting a sample of a sumptuous treat. You enjoy it but you know you'd be happier if you could have a whole lot more. That's this town... a treat with so much delicious variety, it was hard to choose what to do so we did as much as we could in the time that we had.

I love libraries. This downtown branch had a plaque on the entrance wall that read, "Its gift of one hundred feet of the ground occupied by this library made possible the acceptance of Mr. Carnegie's munificence. The site is historic as a portion of the home place of President Polk". That was then. Now it is the 300,000 sq. ft. Main Library. Wow.
Through the window of the Historical Archives room, I learned about Cornelia Fort. Miss Fort (1919 – 1943) born to a wealthy and prominent Nashville family, was a US aviator who became famous for two aviation related events.
While conducting a civilian training flight at Pearl Harbor, she was the first US pilot to encounter the Japanese air fleet during the Attack on Pearl Harbor, and narrowly escaped a strafing attack after landing. The next year, Fort became the second member of what became the Women Airforce Service Pilots, and was working as a ferry pilot when she became the first female pilot in American history to die on active duty. At the time of the accident, she was one of the most accomplished pilots of the WAFS. I had no idea.
Although the Printers have long since gone, the World Famous Printers Alley still remains, providing a Flair of Bourbon Street . The Alley started before the turn of the century as the location of many of Nashville's first Publishing and Printing Companies.
There is something for everyone here in Nashville!
We have a thing for Johnny Cash. We got a hint of the man while in Memphis but we wanted to learn more. Cindy Cash, Johnny Cash’s Daughter said, “Whatever anybody needs to know about my dad that they don’t know already is in that museum.” Hence our stop here.
Located in the heart of downtown Nashville, The Johnny Cash Museum is dedicated to the life and music career of the late “Man in Black". Exhibits featuring the world’s largest most comprehensive collection of Johnny Cash artifacts and memorabilia, chronicle Cash’s legacy through stunning graphics, artifacts and interactive technology.
Included are several pairs of his size 13D cowboy boots.
Items include stage costumes, instruments, personal letters, artwork and handwritten lyrics as well as contributions from family members and notable friends. We loved the numerous film clips of a variety of performances (acting and singing).
This was an incredible, thorough and emotional tribute to The Man. The last video shown was Hurt. It is worth watching. It is a naked portrayal of the legendary singer's life and career in the later years. There wasn't a dry eye exiting the museum. Wow.
Okay so printmaking is more my thing and a tour here was high on my list of Nashville treats.
The history of this company is really a history of this town. It started, naturally enough, with the Hatch family. William H. Hatch ran a print shop where his two sons, Charles R. and Herbert H. (born in 1852 and 1854, respectively), grew up and learned the craft of letterpress printmaking.  In 1875, William moved his family to Nashville where, four years later, Charles and Herbert founded the Hatch Company.
From their very first print job—a handbill announcing the appearance of Rev. Henry Ward Beecher (brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe)—the Hatch brothers got the look right. Here was the simplicity, the effortless balance between type size and style, vertical and horizontal layout. Here, too, was the distinct whiff of American history, southern culture, and entertainment.
The tour was an incredible history lesson and really showed me more than I had hoped about printmaking and the space is truly a museum. This block was used decades ago to announce a visit of FDR. When they were sure they wouldn't need to do any more runs, it was cut up and used as shelving. When the print shop moved to its current location, the block was found, joined back together, and this image was reprinted of our 32nd President.

The golden age of Hatch was from the mid-1920s, when Charles's son Will T. Hatch took over the business, until Will's death in 1952. It was a golden era for country music as well, and Hatch captured the magic. Will frequently turned his talent as a master woodblock carver to "chiseling and gouging" (as someone once put it) some of the most indelible images of country music performers ever made. To further secure the historic link, Hatch's home from 1925 to 1992 was right behind the Ryman Auditorium, the Mother Church of Country Music. The walls, adorned with old posters, could attest to that golden age. It was so cool to read them all.
After a very thorough history lesson, we were allowed to make our own Hatch print. Oh man, what a great stop on our Nashville tour.
We finished the day on this amazing bus- The Music City Rollin' Jamboree, a far cry from the typical Nashville tour; featuring country music, comedy, and sing-along fun on wheels!
It was so totally fun to see the sights of "Music City" while singing along at the top of our lungs. Jessie, Josh and Devon served up Nashville’s biggest sights, captured the city rambunctious spirit, and sang some of its best songs, all while sharing the City's secrets. This was an adults only, 90 minute raucous ride and boy was it good.
It was the ideal way to end our way too brief visit to Nashville. Next time, we'll stay a spell longer.

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2 comments:

Nick and Deb's Excellent Adventure said...

More new things for us to do when we go there again! Love the bus tour, I bet it was a hoot! So fun!

Cyndy Brown said...

WOW! Lots done in just one day...

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