A rare shot of 219 Broadway while actually occupied.
So, downtown Nashville lost another building last night. At midnight last night,
despite not having a demolition permit (the fee for which is nominal) (they had a permit), demolition commenced on the property last occupied by Trail West (later, as the letters of the sign progressively burnt out, “Trai Wet”, “Tr Wt” and finally “W”, before sputtering out entirely. Having spent a lot of time downtown, I get it: this building was iconic, and a relic of the old Nashville (the old Nashville for us, anyway. it existed for decades before then). But before we get out our pitchforks, folks, let’s consider the facts, at least as I know them:
- It was on the National Register of Historic Places, yes, as part of that historic block, however (as I understand it), this property was excluded as part of the deal.
- It’s been empty since 2008. Trail West was forced to move after it was infested by bees.
- Since then, the only real occupants have been assorted charming occupants on the corner.
- It was a dump, and a relatively unremarkable one, at that. Ask anyone that’s toured the property.
- The only reason we love it is because of a great sign, and a brilliant choice of teal green for the brick wall.
- Trail West itself, incidentally, is still in business.
- It will, undoubtedly, become home to yet another bro country hive of villainy.
It’s sad that some old properties cannot be saved, but let’s not forget that Nashville’s urban core has been near-abandoned for decades. The resurgence of growth will, inevitably, involve the demolition of properties we’ve come to think of as ubiquitous — perhaps some necessarily, some not. The charm of these buildings remaining as-is comes at the cost of their complete lack of use. Using them (read: rehabbing them), however, often costs substantial amounts of money. Sometimes it’s worth it (see ACME feed house as great example), and sometimes it’s not. I like to use a good litmus test for whether or not I get upset about urban renewal/change: 1) Did I pony up money to buy the property? 2) does my outrage change anything? Lament the disappearance of an aesthetic icon, sure, but save your outrage for something that matters.
Mike told me that he was in bad shape because of his bad eyes (cataracts) until someone sent him an entire box of used eyeglasses, and he simply found the pair that seemed to work the best. Many things we take for granted (the discarding of used things) can make or break existence for people on the streets — makes you wonder how we could solve the distribution problem.
This isn’t the greatest photo, but I was pleased to capture it nonetheless. I have seen this woman over the years painting landmarks in Nashville that are not long for this earth — starting with some icons in the Gulch, including the Union Station train yard. I should probably come up with a better nickname than “the angel of death” for this woman, since she seems perfectly pleasant and (as far as I know) not actually blessed with celestial powers. I’ve chatted with her a few times, but I always forget her name — if anyone knows it and could pass it along, I’d be much obliged. I’d love to see her paintings.
This is not a death sentence for Printer’s Alley, but it certainly isn’t a good sign! But, this is not news to anyone has been there recently and seen firsthand that Printer’s alley has #moved #forward.