Nashville is location in Davidson County and the state of Tennessee. The city's nickname is Music City.
The first settlers in what is now known as Nashville were Indians of the Mississippian culture, who lived in the area about 1000 to 1400 A.D. They raised corn, made great earthen mounds, painted beautiful pottery and then mysteriously disappeared. Other Indians, the Cherokee, Chickasaw and Shawnee, followed and used the area as a hunting ground.
The first white men to come to the area were French fur traders, who established a trading post around 1717. The first settlement, however, was not established until 1779. It was then on the banks of the Cumberland River near the center of present downtown Nashville, then a band of pioneers led by Englishman James Robertson cleared the land and built a log stockade. This was Fort Nashborough, named in honor of General Francis Nash who won acclaim in the new community that was then a part of North Carolina. In 1784 the community's name was changed from Nashborough to Nashville.
Nashville quickly grew because of its prime location, accessibility as a river port, and its later status as a major railroad center. In 1806, Nashville was incorporated as a city and became the county seat of Davidson County, Tennessee. Tennessee became the sixteenth state in 1796 and Nashville was made its permanent capital in 1843.
By 1860, when the first rumblings of secession began to be heard across the South, antebellum Nashville was a very prosperous city. The city's significance as a shipping port made it a desirable prize as a means of controlling important river and railroad transportation routes. Its vital position on the Cumberland River (linking to the Mississippi navigation system) and at the crossroads of important rail lines made it a strategic point during the Civil War. As federal troops advanced upriver, the legislature picked up and moved to Memphis, and within the week Nashville surrendered.
In February 1862, Nashville became the first state capital to fall to Union troops. Nashville was soon to be devastated by the Civil War. Because of its strategic location on the river and the railroad, the city was occupied by Federal troops for three years. Another legendary Tennesseean, Andrew Johnson (then a US Senator), was appointed military governor and installed Union loyalists to occupy and impose martial law on Nashville from 1862 to 1865, which left the city intact.
The Battle of Nashville, fought in 1864, was the last aggressive action of the Confederate Army. Confederates aimed their sights on Nashville to cut off the rail lines supplying Union General William Tecumseh Sherman's campaign against Atlanta, and the two armies fought the Battle of Nashville south of the city in 1864. Confederate General Thomas Hood's troops were destroyed.
The city's economic recovery after the Civil War was hampered by two major cholera epidemics, which killed about a thousand people and caused thousands more to flee. The Centennial Exposition in 1897, for which the still-standing reproduction of the Greek Parthenon was built, signaled the city's eventual recovery.
Within a few years, the city had reclaimed its important shipping and trading position and also developed a solid manufacturing base. The post-Civil War years of the late 19th century brought a newfound prosperity to Nashville. These healthy economic times left the city with a legacy of grand classical-style buildings, which can still be seen around the downtown area. In the decades following the war, Nashville once again experienced a growth in population, business and industry and education. Another area of growth was in country music, which has grown to the point that Nashville today is known as Music City, USA.
Nashville's Maxwell family established the world-recognized Maxwell House Coffee business here. Teddy Roosevelt himself proclaimed it 'good to the last drop' at the Maxwell House Hotel downtown. The Maxwell estate is now a fine arts center and botanical garden open to the public.
But eventually, Nashville became best known around the globe for the rocketing popularity of its live broadcast Barn Dance - later sarcastically nicknamed the 'Grand Ole Opry' - which began in 1925. The city was quickly proclaimed the Country Music Capital of the World, and recording studios and production companies established themselves along Music Row just west of downtown.
Nashville consolidated its government with Davidson County and thus became the first major city in the United States to form a metropolitan government. Under its present Metropolitan Charter, which became effective April 1, 1963, Nashville and Davidson County have a single government with its authority encompassing more than a half-million people and 533 square miles, a vice-mayor and a legislative council of 40 members.
In the 1960s, students from the all-black Fisk University led sit-in demonstrations at lunch counters downtown, encouraged an economic boycott and marched on city hall to demand desegregated facilities. Their successful non-violent protests served as a model and catalyst for civil rights demonstrations throughout the South.
In the 1970s, Nashville's patron Gaylord Enterprises invented the Oprylandia empire and shaped the city's country music tourist business by moving the Grand Ole Opry, renovating the Ryman Auditorium, sending boats up and down the river and contributing to the economic revitalization of the downtown riverfront.
Since the 1970s, the city has experienced tremendous growth, particularly during the economic boom of the 1990s under the leadership of Mayor (now-Tennessee Governor) Phil Bredesen, who made urban renewal a priority, and fostered the construction or renovation of several city landmarks, including the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Nashville Public Library downtown, the Sommet Center, and LP Field.
The Sommet Center (formerly Nashville Arena and Gaylord Entertainment Center) was built as both a large concert facility and as an enticement to lure either a National Basketball Association or National Hockey League (NHL) sports franchise. This was accomplished in 1997 when Nashville was awarded an NHL expansion team which was subsequently named the Nashville Predators. LP Field (formerly Adelphia Coliseum) was built after the National Football League's (NFL) Houston Oilers agreed to move to the city in 1995. The NFL debuted in Nashville in 1998 at Vanderbilt Stadium, and LP Field opened in the summer of 1999. The Oilers changed their name to the Tennessee Titans and saw a season culminate in the Music City Miracle and a close Super Bowl game.
Today the city along the Cumberland River is a crossroads of American culture, and easily the fastest-growing part of the Upper South and the territory between Atlanta and Texas. Currently, there are many plans of building multiple residential and business towers in the downtown area, including the Signature Tower. If constructed, this will be the tallest building in both Nashville and Tennessee surpassing the BellSouth Building, and will also become the tallest building in the USA outside of New York and Chicago surpassing the Bank of America Plaza in Atlanta.
Nashville is the capital of the U.S. state of Tennessee and the county seat of Davidson County. It is the second most populous city in the state after Memphis. It is located on the Cumberland River in Davidson County, in the north-central part of the state. Nashville is a major hub for the health care, music, publishing, banking and transportation industries.
Just down Demonbreun street out of Downtown is the core of the country music industry, Music Row. Alan leQuire's "Musica" was commissioned by the city to serve as a landmark... a twenty foot-tall "front door" to music row if you will. It depicts nine... "spirits" dancing and expressing themselves... musically... naked. One writer quipped, "it's a reminder how you can lose your shirt and your pants in the country music business."
Immortalized in song and verse, this pair of one-way streets houses offices for just about every major country record label, publishing company and industry-related venture that work together to create the music you love to hear. Although you may spot a hopeful in a cowboy hat, there's not a lot of star-gazing that happens on the row.
Notable landmarks are the Word Entertainment building - formerly owned by Capitol Records, this building is now the home of the Christian music company who brings you Word Records and Word Music. Curb Records and the RCA Studio B are easy to spot too. Further down the row as you approach Belmont University and the Belmont Mansion, you'll find Ocean Way studios. Formerly a church building and then a commercial studio, this facility was purchased as a teaching studio for Belmont University students by Mike Curb.
Nashville may be the capital of Tennessee, but it's better known as Music City USA, the country music Mecca. Yet it is so much more. Combining small-town warmth with an unexpected urban sophistication, Nashville is an increasingly popular tourist destination that boasts world-class museums and major-league sports teams; an eclectic dining and after-hours scene; and an eye-catching skyline ringed by a beautiful countryside of rolling hills, rivers and lakes, and wide open green spaces.
Ultimately, though, Nashville is the heart and soul of country music, that uniquely American blend of humble gospel, blues, and mountain music that has evolved into a $2-billion-a-year industry. At its epicenter, Nashville is still the city where unknown musicians can become overnight sensations, where the major record deals are cut and music-publishing fortunes made, and where the Grand Ole Opry still takes center stage.
Symbolic of Nashville's vitality is downtown, an exciting place that is finally breathing new life. Once tired and abandoned warehouses now bustle in the entertainment area known as The District. This historic neighborhood teems with tourist-oriented nightclubs and restaurants, including a new B.B. King's Blues Club, the ubiquitous Hard Rock Cafe that's become a staple of most large cities, and the one-and-only Wildhorse Saloon (the most famous boot-scootin' dance hall in the land). Luckily, The District isn't yet all glitz and tour-bus nightclubs. Along lower Broadway there are still half a dozen or more dive bars where the air reeks of stale beer and cigarettes and live music plays day and night. In these bars, aspiring country bands lay down their riffs and sing their hearts out in hopes of becoming tomorrow's superstars. With so many clubs, restaurants, shops, and historic landmarks, The District is one of the South's most vibrant nightlife areas.
Folks looking for tamer entertainment head out to the Music Valley area, home to the Grand Ole Opry, the radio show that started the whole country music ball rolling back in 1925. Clustered in this land the locals sometimes refer to as "Nashvegas" are other music-related attractions, including the epic Opryland Hotel, the nostalgic General Jackson showboat, several modest souvenir shops posing as museums, and theaters featuring family entertainment, with the majority showcasing performers from the Grand Ole Opry. Dozens of other clubs and theaters around the city also feature live music of various genres.
Today, Nashville draws a wide mix of friendly locals and talented transients who play small stages and hope their dreams will come true - that they'll sign multi-million-dollar recording contracts and be the next Shania Twain or Garth Brooks. The resulting glut of excellent musicians and songwriters has created an exciting, ever-evolving music scene. Though sprawling in many directions, both geographically and culturally, Nashville is still a small town at heart.
Country isn't the only music you'll hear in this city. Mainstream rock stars are also being lured by the city's intangible vibe. (Sheryl Crow is one of the high-profile stars to have recently moved here.) They come here for inspiration, to record new material, or for cross-over collaborations with local music pros. No matter the genre, the city seems to attract more musicians each year. Which means there's enough live music here in Nashville to keep your toes tappin' even long after you hit the highway home.
Nashville has a consolidated city-county government which includes seven smaller municipalities in a two-tier system. The population of Nashville-Davidson County stood at 613,856 as of 2006, according to United States Census Bureau estimates. The 2006 population of the entire 13-county Nashville Metropolitan Statistical Area was 1,486,695, making it the largest and fastest-growing metropolitan area in the state.
The city was home to three U.S. Presidents: Andrew Jackson, the seventh president; James K. Polk, the 11th president; and Andrew Johnson, the 17th president. Former Vice President Al Gore also has a home in Nashville.
Nashville has the largest metropolitan area in the state of Tennessee, spanning several counties. The Nashville Metropolitan Statistical Area encompasses the Middle Tennessee counties of Cannon, Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Hickman, Macon, Maury, Robertson, Rutherford, Smith, Sumner, Trousdale, Williamson, and Wilson.
Government and politics
The City of Nashville and Davidson County merged in 1963 as a way for Nashville to combat the problems of urban sprawl. The combined entity is officially known as "the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County," and is popularly known as "Metro Nashville" or simply "Metro". It offers services such as police, fire, electricity, water, and sewage treatment. When the Metro government was formed in 1963, the government was split into two service districts-- the "urban services district" and the "general services district." The urban services district encompasses the 1963 boundaries of the former City of Nashville, and the general services district includes the remainder of Davidson County. There are five small cities within the county that opted to retain some autonomy: Belle Meade, Berry Hill, Forest Hills, Lakewood, and Oak Hill. Two other cities (Goodlettsville and Ridgetop) cross county lines, and are also not considered part of the consolidated city-county government.
Nashville has a strong-mayor form of government. It is governed by a mayor, vice-mayor and 40-member Metropolitan Council. The current mayor of Nashville is Karl Dean. The Metropolitan Council is the legislative body of government for Nashville and Davidson County. There are 5 council members who are elected at large and 35 council members that represent individual districts. The Metro Council has regular meetings that are presided over by the vice-mayor, who is currently Diane Neighbors. The Metro Council meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 6:00 p.m., according to the Metropolitan Charter.
Nashville is one of the few major Southern cities that has remained loyal to the Democratic Party. Most local elections are officially nonpartisan. However, Democratic dominance is so absolute that most local races take place between the populist (moderate-to-conservative) and "good government" (liberal) wings of the Democratic Party; the "good government" faction has held the upper hand for some time; Mayor Dean may be said to represent that perspective. Elected Republicans are few and far between. At the state level, only two Republicans—one in the State House and one in the State Senate—represent significant portions of Nashville. Most area residents who prefer conservative politics generally live in the outlying suburban counties (which themselves were represented by conservative Democrats well into the late 1970s). Much of this, of course, is a reaction in many respects, somewhat akin to urban-suburban polarizations elsewhere in America, to the lifestyle-driven liberal orientation of the city's unusually large (for the South) collegiate and white-collar professional population (with the musician community divided between the cultural traditionalists in country and gospel music and the progressive, even leftist, slant among rock musicians and those in similar genres).
Democrats are no less dominant at the federal level. Since the end of Reconstruction, the Democratic presidential candidate has carried Nashville and Davidson County in every election with the exception of two. In the 1968 U.S. presidential election, George Wallace of the American Independent Party (and governor of nearby Alabama) carried the city by a large margin, although he did not win the state (Richard Nixon did). In the 1972 presidential election, Nixon became the only Republican to carry Nashville since Reconstruction, gaining support from the then-dominant conservative Democrats in the area. However, since then, Democrats have usually won Nashville by some of the largest, if not the largest, margins in Tennessee, even when the rest of the state strongly favors the Republican. In the 2000 presidential election, Al Gore carried Nashville with over 59% of the vote even as he narrowly lost his home state. In the 2004 election, John Kerry carried Nashville with 55% of the vote even as George W. Bush won the state by 14 points. The only part of Tennessee more heavily Democratic than Nashville is the major portion of the city of Memphis, which has a far larger population of African-Americans (some 60 percent as compared to Nashville's 25 or so), making Nashville's continued loyalty to the Democratic Party all the more remarkable--and increasingly unique--for a city so far south in the U.S.
Despite its size, all of Nashville has been in one congressional district for most of the time since Reconstruction. For most of the time, it has been numbered as the 5th District, currently represented by Democrat Jim Cooper. A Republican has not represented a significant portion of Nashville since 1875. While Republicans made a few spirited challenges in the mid-1960s and early 1970s, they have not made a serious bid for the district since 1972, when the Republican candidate gained only 38% of the vote even as Nixon carried the district by a large margin. The district's best-known congressman was probably Jo Byrns, who represented the district from 1909 to 1936 and was Speaker of the House for much of Franklin Roosevelt's first term. Another nationally prominent congressman from Nashville was Percy Priest, who represented the district from 1941 to 1956 and was House Majority Whip from 1949 to 1953. Former mayors Richard Fulton and Bill Boner also sat in the U.S. House before assuming the Metro mayoral office.
A tiny portion of southern Davidson County (between Hillsboro and Nolensville Roads, split by Interstate 65) was drawn into the heavily Republican 7th District after the 2000 Census. That district is currently represented by Marsha Blackburn of neighboring Williamson County. Despite this, many living Nashvillians have never been represented by a Republican on the state or federal levels
Source: U.S. Census
The data below is for all of Metropolitan Nashville-Davidson County, including other incorporated cities within the consolidated city-county (such as Belle Meade and Berry Hill). See Nashville-Davidson (balance) for demographic data on Nashville-Davidson County excluding separately incorporated cities.
As of the census of 2000, there were 569,891 people, 237,405 households, and 138,169 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,134.6 people per square mile (438.1/km²). There were 252,977 housing units at an average density of 503.7/sq mi (194.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 66.99% White, 25.92% African American, 0.29% Native American, 2.33% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 2.42% from other races and 1.97% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.58% of the population. Nashville's estimated population for 2006 is 613,856 people.
There were 237,405 households out of which 26.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.9% were married couples living together, 14.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.8% were non-families. 33.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.96.
In the city the population was spread out with 22.2% under the age of 18, 11.6% from 18 to 24, 34.0% from 25 to 44, 21.1% from 45 to 64, and 11.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 93.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $39,797, and the median income for a family was $49,317. Males had a median income of $33,844 versus $27,770 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,069. About 10.0% of families and 13.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.1% of those under age 18 and 10.5% of those age 65 or over. 4.6% of the civilian labor force is unemployed.
Because of its relatively low cost of living and large job market, Nashville has become a popular city for immigrants. Nashville’s foreign-born population more than tripled in size between 1990 and 2000, increasing from 12,662 to 39,596. Large groups of Mexicans, Kurds, Vietnamese, Laotians, Arabs, and Somalis call Nashville home, among other groups. Nashville has the largest Kurdish community in the United States, numbering approximately 11,000. During the Iraqi election of 2005, Nashville was one of the few international locations where Iraqi expatriates could vote. The American Jewish community in Nashville dates back over 150 years ago, and numbers about 6,500 (2001).
As the "home of country music", Nashville has become a major music recording and production center. All of the Big Four record labels, as well as numerous independent labels, have offices in Nashville, mostly in the Music Row area. Since the 1960s, Nashville has been the second biggest music production center (after New York) in the U.S. As of 2006, Nashville's music industry is estimated to have a total economic impact of $6.4 billion per year and to contribute 19,000 jobs to the Nashville area.
In 2009, the Signature Tower will begin construction in Downtown Nashville. Standing at more than 1,000 feet above the ground, it will be the largest skyscraper outside of either Chicago or New York City and will be the seventh tallest building in the United States.
Although Nashville is renowned as a music recording center and tourist destination, its largest industry is actually health care. Nashville is home to more than 250 health care companies, including Hospital Corporation of America, the largest private operator of hospitals in the world. As of 2006, it is estimated that the health care industry contributes $18.3 billion per year and 94,000 jobs to the Nashville-area economy. The automotive industry is also becoming increasingly important for the entire Middle Tennessee region. Nissan North America moved its corporate headquarters in 2006 from Gardena, California (Los Angeles County) to Nashville, with corporate headquarters temporarily located in the AT&T Building until 2008, when the Japanese auto maker will establish permanent headquarters in Franklin, Tennessee. Nissan also has its largest North American manufacturing plant in Smyrna, Tennessee.
Other major industries in Nashville include insurance, finance, and publishing (especially religious publishing). The city hosts headquarters operations for several Protestant denominations, including the United Methodist Church, Southern Baptist Convention, and National Baptist Convention, USA., and the National Association of Free Will Baptists.
Nashville has a small but growing film industry. Several major motion pictures have been filmed in Nashville, including The Green Mile, The Last Castle, Gummo, The Thing Called Love, Coal Miner's Daughter, and Robert Altman's Nashville.
Fortune 500 companies within Nashville include HCA Inc. (formerly Hospital Corporation of America) and Dollar General Corporation (in Goodlettsville).
Ryman Auditorium, the "Mother Church of Country Music"Much of the city's cultural life has revolved around its large university community. Particularly significant in this respect were two groups of critics and writers who were associated with Vanderbilt University in the early twentieth century, the Fugitives and the Agrarians.
Popular destinations include Fort Nashborough, a reconstruction of the original settlement; the Tennessee State Museum; and The Parthenon, a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens, Greece. The State Capitol is one of the oldest working state capitol buildings in the nation, while The Hermitage is one of the older presidential homes open to the public. The Nashville Zoo is one of the city's newer attractions.
Many popular tourist sites involve country music, including the Country Music Hall of Fame, Ryman Auditorium, which was for many years the site of the Grand Ole Opry, and Belcourt Theater. Each year, the CMA Music Festival (formerly known as Fan Fair) brings thousands of country fans to the city.
Nashville was once home to the Opryland USA theme park, which operated from 1972 to 1997 before being closed by its owners Gaylord Entertainment, and soon after demolished to make room for the Opry Mills mega-shopping mall.
Lower Broadway is home to many honky-tonk bars and clubs.
Christian pop music
The Christian pop and rock music industry is based along Nashville's Music Row, with a great influence in neighboring Williamson County. The Christian record companies include EMI (formally Sparrow Records), Rocketown Records, Beach Street and Reunion Records with many of the genre's most popular acts such as Rebecca St. James, tobyMac, Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, Steven Curtis Chapman, Avalon and Newsboys based there.
Kirk Whalum visiting the audience at a riverfront concert in 2007Although Nashville was never known as a jazz town, it did have many great jazz bands including The Nashville Jazz Machine led by Dave Converse and its current version, the Nashville Jazz Orchestra led by Jim Williamson as well as The Establishment led by Billy Adair. The Francis Craig Orchestra entertained Nashvillians from 1929 to 1945 from the Oak Bar and Grille Room in the Hermitage Hotel. Craig's orchestra was also the first to broadcast over local radio station WSM and enjoyed phenomenal success with a 12-year show that was aired over the entire NBC network. In the late 1930s, he introduced a newcomer, Dinah Shore, a former cheerleader and local graduate of Hume Fogg High School and Vanderbilt University.
Radio station WMOT in nearby Murfreesboro has aided significantly in the recent revival of the city's jazz scene, as has the non-profit Nashville Jazz Workshop, which holds concerts in a renovated building in the north Nashville neighborhood of Germantown.
Civil War history is important to the city's tourism industry. Sites pertaining to the Battle of Nashville and the nearby Battle of Franklin and Battle of Stones River can be seen, along with several well-preserved antebellum plantation houses such as Belle Meade Plantation and Belmont Mansion.
The Parthenon in Nashville's Centennial Park is a full-scale reconstruction of the original Greek Parthenon. The Tennessee Performing Arts Center is the major performing arts center of the city. It is the home of the Tennessee Repertory Theatre, Nashville Children's Theatre, the Nashville Opera, and Nashville Ballet.
In September 2006, the Schermerhorn Symphony Center opened as the home of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra.
Nashville has several arts centers and museums, including the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, located in the former post office building; Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art; the Tennessee State Museum; Fisk University's Van Vechten and Aaron Douglas Galleries; Vanderbilt University's Fine Art Gallery and Sarratt Gallery; and the Parthenon.
Major annual events
The GMA Music Awards Christian and Gospel music awards is held each April at various locations including the Grand Ole Opry or the Ryman Auditorium. Leading up to the awards is GMA week where radio stations interview and fans get autographs.
The CMA Music Festival is a four day event in June featuring performances by country music stars, autograph signings, artist/fan interaction, and other activities for country music fans.
In September, Nashville hosts the Tennessee State Fair at the State Fairgrounds. The State Fair lasts nine days and includes rides, exhibits, rodeos, tractor pulls, and numerous other shows and attractions.
The Nashville Film Festival takes place each year for a week in April. It features hundreds of independent films and is one of the biggest film festivals in the Southern United States.
In September, the African Street Festival takes place on the campus of Tennessee State University.
Other big events in Nashville include the Fourth of July celebration which takes place each year at Riverfront Park, the Country Music Marathon and Half Marathon which normally includes over 25,000 runners from around the world, the Tomato Art Festival which takes place in East Nashville every August, and the Australian Festival which celebrates the cultural and business links between the U.S. and Australia.
The primary daily newspaper in Nashville is The Tennessean, which, until 1998, competed fiercely with another daily, the Nashville Banner (although the two were housed in the same building under a joint-operating agreement). Although The Tennessean now enjoys a relative monopoly on the local newspaper market, a smaller free daily called The City Paper has cut into The Tennessean's market share somewhat. Online news service NashvillePost.com competes with the printed dailies to break news of business and local/state politics. Several weekly papers are also published in Nashville, including the Nashville Scene, Nashville Business Journal, and The Tennessee Tribune. Historically, The Tennessean was associated with a broadly liberal editorial policy, while The Banner carried staunchly conservative views in its editorial pages; The Banner's heritage is carried on these days by The City Paper. The Scene is the area's alternative weekly broadsheet, while The Tribune serves Nashville's African-American population.
Nashville is home to nearly a dozen broadcast television stations, although most households are served by direct cable network connections. Comcast Cable has a monopoly on terrestrial cable service in Davidson County (but not throughout the entire DMA). Nashville is ranked as the 30th largest television market in the United States.
Nashville is also home to cable networks Country Music Television (CMT), Great American Country (GAC), and RFD-TV, among others. CMT's Master Control facilities are located in New York City with the other Viacom properties. The Top 20 Countdown and CMT Insider are taped in their Nashville studios. Nashville is also the home and namesake of the NBC country music singing competition Nashville Star, which broadcasts from the Opryland complex. Shop at Home Network was once based in Nashville, but the channel signed off in 2006.
Several dozen FM and AM radio stations broadcast in the Nashville area, including five college stations and one LPFM community station. Nashville is ranked as the 44th largest radio market in the United States. Nashville is home to WSM which originally stood for "We Shield Millions". WSM-FM is owned by Cumulus Media and is 95.5 FM the Wolf. WSM-AM, owned by Gaylord Entertainment Company, can be heard nationally on 650 AM or online at WSM Online from its studios located inside the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. WLAC is a Clear Channel-owned talk station which was originally sponsored by the Life and Casualty Insurance Company of Tennessee, and its competitor WWTN is owned by Cumulus.
Metro Board of Parks and Recreation owns and manages 10,200 acres (4,120 ha) of land and 99 parks and greenways (comprising more than 3% of the total area of the county). 2,684 acres (1,086 ha) of land is home to Warner Parks, which houses a 5,000 square-foot (460 m²) learning center, 20 miles (30 km) of scenic roads, 12 miles (19 km) of hiking trails, and 10 miles (16 km) of horse trails. In late 2005, Centennial Park began offering free wireless broadband internet service.
Warner Parks, the largest municipal parks in the state, are home to the annual Iroquois Steeplechase.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maintains parks on Old Hickory Lake and Percy Priest Lake. These parks are used for multiple activities including fishing, water-skiing, sailing and boating. Percy Priest Lake is also home to the Vanderbilt Sailing Club.
Nashville is centrally located at the crossroads of three Interstate Highways: I-40, I-24, and I-65. Interstate 440 is a bypass route connecting I-40, I-65, and I-24 south of downtown Nashville. The Metropolitan Transit Authority provides bus transit within the city.
The city is served by Nashville International Airport, which was a hub for American Airlines between 1986 and 1995 and is now a mini-hub for Southwest Airlines.
Although it is a major rail hub, with a large CSX Transportation freight rail yard, Nashville is one of the largest cities in the U.S. not served by Amtrak.
Nashville launched a passenger rail system called the Music City Star on September 18, 2006. The first and only currently operational leg of the system connects the city of Lebanon to downtown Nashville at Nashville Riverfront. Legs to Murfreesboro and Gallatin are currently in the feasibility study stage. The system plan includes seven legs connecting Nashville to surrounding suburbs.
Nashville is a colorful, well-known city in several different arenas. As such, it has earned various sobriquets, including:
Music City, USA: WSM-AM announcer David Cobb first used this name during a 1950 broadcast and it stuck. It is now the official nickname used by the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau. Nashville is the home of the Grand Ole Opry, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and many major record labels. This name also dates back to 1874, where after receiving and hearing a performance by the Fisk Jubilee Singers, Queen Victoria of England is reported as saying that "These young people must surely come from a musical city."
Athens of the South: Home to twenty-four post-secondary educational institutions, Nashville has long been compared to the ancient city of learning, site of Plato's Academy. Since 1897, a full-scale replica of the Athenian Parthenon has stood in Nashville, and many examples of classical and neoclassical architecture can be found in the city.
The Protestant Vatican or The Buckle of the Bible Belt: Nashville has over 700 churches (more than any other American city per capita), several seminaries, a number of Christian music companies, and is the headquarters for the publishing arms of both the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church. It is also the seat of the National Association of Free Will Baptists, the Gideons International, the Gospel Music Association and Thomas Nelson, the world's largest producer of Bibles.
Cashville: Nashville native Young Buck, a rapper in the G-Unit clique, released a very successful album called Straight Outta Ca$hville that has popularized the nickname among a new generation.
Nashvegas: The rhinestones and neon of Nashville have given rise to a glitzy image that local residents have embraced. Playing off the image of Las Vegas, this nickname reflects the city's colorful nightlife and affluence. Americana music artist George Hamilton V has popularized the nickname in song.
Little Kurdistan: Nashville has the United States' largest population of Kurdish people, estimated to be around 11,000