|Nashville Tennessee Overview
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Nashville is the capital of the U.S. state of Tennessee. 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, and transportation industries.
Nashville's population stood at 575,261 as of 2005, according to United States Census Bureau estimates, making it the second-largest city in Tennessee (after Memphis). The 2005 population of the entire 13-county Nashville metropolitan area was 1,422,544, making it the largest and fastest-growing metropolitan area in the state.
A resident of Nashville is called a Nashvillian.
Nashville was founded by James Robertson and a party of Wataugans in 1779, and was originally called Fort Nashborough, after the American Revolutionary War hero Francis Nash. Nashville quickly grew due to 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. In 1843, the city was named the permanent capital of the state of Tennessee.
By 1860, when the first rumblings of secession began to be heard across the South, Nashville was a very prosperous city. Tennessee reluctantly sided with the Confederacy and became the last state to secede from the Union. The city's significance as a shipping port made it a desirable prize as a means of controlling important river and railroad transportation routes. In February 1862, Nashville became the first state capital to fall to the Union troops.
Though the Civil War left Nashville severely damaged and in dire economic straits, the city quickly rebounded. 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.
It was the advent of the Grand Ole Opry in 1925, combined with an already thriving publishing industry, that positioned it to become "Music City USA". In 1963, Nashville consolidated its government with Davidson County and thus became the first major city in the United States to form a metropolitan government. Since the 1970s, the city has experienced tremendous growth, particularly during the economic boom of the 1990s under the leadership of Mayor Phil Bredesen, who made urban renewal a priority, and fostered the construction or renovation of a number of the city's landmarks, including the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Nashville Public
Library downtown, the Gaylord Entertainment Center and LP Field.
The Gaylord Entertainment Center (formerly the Nashville Arena) 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 loss.
Geography and climate
Nashville lies on the Cumberland River in the northwestern portion of the Nashville Basin. Nashville's topography ranges from 113 meters (370 ft) above sea level at the Cumberland River to 227 meters (746 ft) above sea level at its highest point.
Nashville has a humid subtropical climate. Summers in Nashville are generally hot and humid, with July afternoons averaging 89 F (32 C). Winters are mild and occasionally chilly, with lows in January averaging 28 F (?2 C). Average annual rainfall is 1220 mm (48.1 inches), typically with winter and spring being the wettest and fall being the driest. Average annual snowfall is about 23 cm (9.1 inches), falling mostly in January and February. Spring and fall are generally pleasantly warm, but prone to severe thunderstorms - which occasionally bring tornadoes, with recent major events on April 16, 1998 and April 7, 2006.
The coldest temperature ever recorded in Nashville was on January 21, 1985, when the temperature dipped to -17 F (-27 C), and the highest was on July 28, 1952 when the mercury reached 107 F (42 C).
Nashville's position within the Nashville Basin can make it very uncomfortable for allergy sufferers, as pollutants can become trapped in the atmosphere between the area's highlands.
Nashville has the largest metropolitan area in the state of Tennessee, spanning thirteen counties. The Nashville metropolitan area encompasses the Middle Tennessee counties of Cannon, Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Hickman, Macon, Robertson, Rutherford, Smith, Sumner, Trousdale, Williamson, and Wilson.
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 graceful 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 and Ryman Auditorium, which was for many years the site of the Grand Ole Opry. Each year, the Country Music Association's Fan Fair (renamed "CMA Music Festival" in 2003) brings many 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 demolished to make room for the Opry Mills mega-shopping mall.
Lower Broadway is home to many country and honky tonk clubs and bars. Probably the most famous of these is Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, which has hosted many big names from the country music scene whilst being small, intimate and unchanged since it started in the sixties.
Civil War history is an 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.