When referencing Nashville, it is clear that music is often at the top of the list. Yet within the district of East Nashville, there is a blend of creativity and vibrancy that steps beyond its famous musical roots.
East of downtown, this neighborhood is made up of smaller neighborhoods, reflecting the Victorian architecture within its various subdivisions. Considered an exclusive area of the city, the district was surrounded by the Cumberland River, creating a natural division. Many historical homes were lost in a fire during 1916. Altogether over 500 homes were lost and 2,500 people were made homeless. The East End fire brought about the East End Park, which is one of the best places to watch the Independence Day fireworks. It is also home to the Hot Chicken Festival.
Another natural disaster was a tornado in the 1930s. Property damage resulted in over 1,400 homes, churches, factories and schools being destroyed. As a result, the neighborhood saw a decline. Yet the farmland and availability for growth meant that it quickly became a suburban location during the 1950s and 1960s. The 1970s brought the beginning of gentrification throughout the district, which brought an influx of action in the real estate markets, such as increasing home prices, along with a solid commercial district to support the increased residential activity.
The district also includes a large green preserve known as Shelby Bottoms. There are miles of walking trails, both mulched and greenway. In addition, the preserve has wooded areas and river overlooks. Shelby Park is part of these preserve, offering a lake and an easy way to reconnect with nature for the urban inhabitants.
Using the Cumberland River as a guide, East Nashville is creating a series of parks and residential development
Originally a factory and source of industry, the area is now being redeveloped to reflect the changing priorities of the district.
Although there has been an influx of new residents, the neighborhood itself has creative flair that has survived its gentrification. The quaint neighborhoods draw urban professionals and those with a more liberal bent. The district is also created stricter building codes to preserve an environment that is more pedestrian friendly, in response to the overall trend of reducing urban sprawl. Coffee shops and art galleries are interwoven into the area, providing an artistic touch to this area.
With its close proximity to downtown, the region also has access to a variety of musical venues and theaters. These will be even more accessible with the completion of the metro transit system, which is in the development stage. As with most of the current planning and building codes, Nashville and East Nashville are attempting to reduce urban growth and bring residents back to the city itself. An increase in unique shopping and entertainment options provide their residents plenty of social choices.
There are a variety of festivals and fairs throughout the year. One of the most popular is the Tomato Art Fest, which is held at the five points where 11th Street, Woodland and Clearview traverse. This is just one example of how this city supports its artistic reputation.
East Nashville has long offered a professional or musician a relatively short commute to downtown, while providing a small town feeling for its residents.