1950's, 60's & 70's
DO YOU REMEMBER?
at the Parthenon in Centennial Park. The Nativity Scene featured life
size figures with lights that faded from white to blue to red and
Christmas Carols on the sound system. It was a truly spiritual
experience and one that brought families together and reminded them of
the meaning of the season.
The old Krystal Restaurants on West End and on Gallatin Road with curb
service. They served the burgers in a red plastic basket with
that wax paper covering them up for a dime each. Thick shakes and
chocolate ice box pie for dessert.
The Monkey Bar and Carousel (operated by Max
a survivor of Buchenwald) at downtown Harvey's. If
business was slow Mr. Harvey would let the monkeys run loose in the
The old movie theaters downtown: The Tennessee, Crescent, Lowes,
Knickerbocker and the Paramount? The "Popeye Club" was
at the Paramount Theater....also Bob Luck who played the big organ as
it rose from a lower level at the front of the theater. Most of the theatres carried big banners "AIR CONDITIONED"
in icy blue letters.
The original Green Hills Strip
- Chester's, Three
Sisters, Family Booterie, Durys, Woolworths, Walgreens, Cross Keys
restaurant & Castner Knotts. The BEST cherry cokes were at
Woolworths in Green Hills and you could pop a balloon to get the price
of your banana split. Chester's had a mynah bird on the basement
floor which would wolf whistle at the ladies walking by. Talking Mynah
birds were a novelty in the late 50's and downtown Harveys, the
Children's Museum and Jim Reed Chevrolet all had resident birds.
Green Hills & Inglewood Theaters - Party Rooms that were
soundproofed and could host noisy birthday parties and crying babies.
Melrose Theatre and it's make-out balcony, Martin Theatres at 100 Oaks
with the rocking chairs seats and Belle Meade Theatre with double seats
for dates to get close and personal. Many theatres had drawings for
cash and the prize could grow each week if unclaimed.
All the "real" hotels were downtown: Andrew Jackson, Maxwell House,
Noel, Hermitage, Sam Davis and ultra cool Hyatt Regency with the
revolving Polaris Restaurant on top and the Blue Max Lounge in the
basement. As a side note, the wildest and most out of control party in
the Nashville 60's was at the Hermitage in 1968 and was an after- prom
breakfast for Hillsboro High School. It made the newspapers and has
become an urban legend for it's gross excess. The Downtown Hermitage
Hotel was the year-round home for eight years to pool legend Minnesota
Fats. The pool shark, arguably the most famous player to pick up a cue
stick, had his own table on the Mezzanine above the lobby.
Swimming Pool at Fair Park.
The pool was massive and almost toxic from the chemicals employed to
keep it sanitary. One exited the dressing room to the poolside by
walking through a green ankle high pool of chemical to sterilize the
feet after which one walked through an adjoining pool of a similar
orange solution, then one dived into water so soaked with chlorine pool
solution it was bright blue in color, stung the eyes, and had a slight
bitter taste. There were several other
of note including Swim & Sun, Centennial Park Pool, Glendale in
Melrose, Sun Valley in Madison, Collins' Lake off River Road, Pleasant
Green in Goodlettsville, Willow Plunge in Franklin, Pine Springs off
Couchville Pike, Union Hill Pool next to the drag strip and Rawlings
off of Clarksville Highway. Swimming lessons at Shelby Park with Vic
Varallo. Remember when the Downtown YMCA pool was sans swimsuits? Boys
would start out as minnows and complete the course as whales.
The 2nd. biggest urban legend of Nashville (behind the Hookman)
concerned razor blades embedded in the water slide at Cascade Plunge.
Apparently the 3rd. biggest urban legend that the Downtown YMCA
required nude swimming was true.
(where the Vanderbilt Holiday Inn is) or the Rollerdrome (where H H
Gregg is on Thompson Lane at the railroad tunnel) or Skateland in
Madison (behind Sears). The Hippodrome also featured wrestling and
music concerts by groups like the Kingsmen of "Louie Louie" fame.
you remember Mary Kirby who played the organ? Mrs. Bargatze in the coat
check room? Moe the door man? Ham the floor man? Mrs. Gregory who sold
tickets? How about the Grand March and "Good Night Sweetheart"
Varallo's at the split of Highway 100 and 70 with the curb service.
The A & P grocery store where the J. Alexanders is now.
Cooper and Martin grocery stores on Hillsboro Rd, Belmont Blvd. and
Charlotte Pike. "Let's go to the Races".
Saturday mornings with live combos in the Downtown Harvey's
Department Store Loft. Remember the little chimes all the way around
outside Harvey's? The monorail at Harvey's at Christmastime--it went all the way around
the ceiling on the top floor. Harvey's featured fun house
mirrors, carousel horses and Nashville's first escalators. The "REAL"
was at Harvey's.
Harvey's also sponsored an Annual Easter Parade Downtown and
introduced the first costumed "Easter Bunny" character to Nashville.
They took out newspaper ads proclaiming Harvey's Easter Bunny as the real
one after other stores followed suit. "Harvey's, the fun
place to shop." At Harvey's Department Store, the toys and carousel
were on the top floor, so that parents were pulled by their kids up to
the top of the store and then "shopped" their way down. Near the
carousel was a bench to sit and relax if you didn't mind sitting next
to a (mannequin) cowboy. You could get Knott's Berry Farm jellies and jams
all the way from California from the shelves next to the cowboy.
Harvey's also displayed the Hope Diamond and the brass bed of a Chicago
madam. Mr. Harvey once flew a WWII weather balloon above the downtown
store. When it eventually died (natural causes), He took out a
newspaper ad offering a reward for information about who might have
shot it down. The inference was the shot might have come from a
competitor across the street. He never missed an opportunity for a good
Hank Snow music store on Church Street. Before his shop, most
instruments came from Sears
and Roebuck or Western
Auto . Elvis, the Beach Boys and
Beatles created waves of boys throwing down their band instruments and
picking up an electric guitar. Downtown blossomed with music stores
like Hewgleys, Roy Warden and Claude Street Piano.
The Ozburn-Hessey storage building where Riverfront Park is now.
Deadrick Street back when it had pawn shops and novelty shops. "Shorty Kilburn"
operated a novelty stand on Church St. next to the old Warner Building,
which later became the Sudekum Building and still later the Tennessee
Theater. He sold many little trinkets and unusual toys for
many years there from perhaps the forty's until his death in
1956. Harmon Tone, Ukuleles, Mexican Jumping beans
among other things. His
nick-name of "Shorty" was due to the fact that he had no legs, they
were lost at an early age on the L and N Railroad. He was
good friends of Mr.
Marty Robbins, and it is believed he was the inspiration
for his song about "Mr. Shorty".
Cain Sloan on Church Street with it's animated "Bunnyland" displays and
Breakfast with Santa. Bunny Land was in the toy department
near the Iris Room, sort of a primitive walk through version of a Small
World with an rabbit theme. Right after the moon shot, they had a thing
with rabbits of the moon called Astro Bunnies and a cave to crawl
through made out of foam called marshmallow mountain. You could
register for prizes and they showed old cartoons at the end of the
"trail." Young ladies could take classes in "White Gloves And Party
Manners." The guys that brought you your car at Cain-Sloan parking
garage would drive unbelievably fast up & down those tiny
Elk's Lodge on Sixth with the
chairs on the front porch and the elk statue in the small front yard
just in front of the State Capitol. In the 50's & 60's the
Elk's Lodge featured an elderly black man who performed with a
washboard, thimbles on all fingers, a tambourine and other rhythm
devices. He nightly played the harmonica and sang great rag-time songs
that made you tap your foot and want to dance. He naturally had a cup
on the ground in front of him for tips. There was also a
band that played three nights a week in front "Stack and the Boys". A
scrub board and a No. 3 wash tub bass were two of the main instruments.
They played for tips during the summer months. Their main song was
"Duck Butter and Salty Dog".
Before there was a Legislative Plaza, there was the old central bus
stop and there were always pigeons about and the smell of diesel bus
Fifties and Sixties brought new freedom to teens and cruisin' was a
weekend tradition. Shoney's, Griff's Hamburgers, Yannie's, Rawhide,
Ford's Drive In on Gallatin Rd. just past East High,
Black Stallion, Bar B Cutie on Murfreesboro Rd. and many others became
the meeting places of choice. The famous Hi-Ho
Restaurant (with the best hamburgers and french fries) was another hot
spot on Gallatin Road in East Nashville.
Do you remember the sorority girls circling Shoney's with the
particular car honks they would blow? I know that SAP was Dah, Dah,
Dah...Dah, Dah. Anther long standing Nashville tradition was to blow
your horn as you passed through the dark and narrow railroad tunnel on
Thompson Lane. Japanese
and acceptable in the sixties and on West End House of Honda had a
Honda 50 on top of a pole (what a waste). Motocross race tracks popped
up around town and stock motorcycles would be ridden to the races on
Sunday, stripped of their lights and mufflers, raced and then ridden
home. Honda Scramblers would race against Harley
Remember when they built the big roller coaster (Skyliner) at Fair
Park? Paris After Dark, the
Mad Mouse, Tilt-a-Whirl, bumper cars, hand cars, the Cyclone, pink
cotton candy, Leo the paper eater and
an actual organ grinder with a little monkey that
took money. Vietti Chili labels or RC Cola caps could get you
a whole afternoon of rides. Fair Park also had a miniature golf course
which held a tournament every labor day with the winner going to a
national event. Remember the "dedicated" railroad crossing guards at
the State Fair
with their loud whistles and waving signs? The monkeys driving Speedway
Cars was a popular feature at the Fair. As was the Wall of Death where
motorcycles circled inside a wooden bowl. Soda bottle caps were
especially coveted since scraping out the cork liner could reveal a
prize. Prior to Fair Park there was the Wee One Amusement Park in Green
Hills (where the donut shop is now) that opened in 1950 and Tot Haven
Amusement Park (out by the old drive-in) on Gallatin Road.
When WKDA-FM went on the air in 1970 with "Album Oriented Rock". WLAC
1510 would rule the new AM talk radio format with a powerhouse team of
Ruth Ann Leach, Les Jameson & Teddy Bart. A early pioneer of
Nashville talk radio was Roland Wolfe and when he got his "bible
thumping little old ladies" stirred up it was great entertainment. Dave
Overton and The Waking Crew were on every weekday morning on 650 WSM
radio with Papa John Gordy, Owen Bradley, the Anita Kerr Singers, etc
and also The Going Home Show, also on WSM radio, with Larry Munson and
Teddy Bart. WLAC-AM had late night DJs "John R" (John Richbourg), Hoss Allen, Herman
and Gene Nobles who played rhythm & blues for an audience all
over the Southeast, sponsored by Ernie's Record Mart or Randy's Records
The B&W Cafeteria on Sixth, Phillips & Butorff, the
neat old *single-file* Krystal Restaurants on 5th (next to the Orange
Bar and Cigar Store) and also on Church St. and the Candyland at 7th
and Church with the best milk shakes in town and delicious sandwiches.
The Sweet Shoppe at 21st and Capers with drive-in service where for
fifty cents you could get a hamburger and shake. Twentieth Century Pool
Parlor upstairs over the Sweet Shoppe where you could always get a good
game of 9-ball.
Loveman's on the corner of Union and Fifth? They had that
great balcony all the way around and the beauty parlor where they dyed
old ladies' hair blue, purple, and pink was on the balcony.
They did a lot of that bizarre hair dying at Harvey's, too.
Anyone remember the old blind black fellow ( Cortelia
sold shopping bags and played guitar and sang the blues on Fifth near
Woolworth's or the Buttercup saleslady on Church St. in front of
McKendree Methodist Church? Downtown had it's share of other memorable
characters. The "Whistler" was a well dressed gentleman who would
whistle at the sky and speak in tongues. He was often seen near Third
National Bank. The "Foot Stomper" was very active and had a fetish for
stomping ladies feet. David "Skull"
Schulman could be seen daily walking his white poodle "Sweetie" dressed
in his Hee Haw overalls. He was the "Mayor" of Printer's Alley where he
ran the Rainbow Room for forty years. Do you remember Webb
Pierce's silver dollar-studded,
pistol-and-horseshoe-appointed 1962 Pontiac Bonneville convertible,
dubbed the "Cowboy Car." Do you remember Nudie's Cadillac with the
steer horns on front? Nudie designed all those sequin outfits for the
country stars. Just some of the sights downtown.
Acme Farm Supply when it really was a farm supply and Farmer's Market
when there were actual Nashville farmers selling their produce. Lower
broad featured fleets of tour buses to carry tourists to the
homes of the stars. There were actual souvenir shops on Music Row
instead of empty storefronts.
Woody Allen's movies always debuted at the Crescent. "Mary
Poppins" stayed sold out there for weeks and "One
Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" did, too. The Crescent's 45-foot
screen and six-track stereo sound showcased "Ben-Hur, South
Pacific and Oklahoma".
However in 1966, "Virginia Woolf" got raided by an
over-zealous boy in blue when it opened downtown. The record for a
movie run had to be the "Sound of Music" at the
Belle Meade Theatre. The manager, Mr. Jordan got tired of dealing with
kids "acting badly" and held the movie over for six months.
was the Happiness
Club at Belle Meade Theatre
where on Saturday afternoon you could go
for 16 cents and watch a live stage show and a movie and sing--"Happy
Days Are Here Again" as long as you behaved and Mr. Jordan didn't kick
out. The kids nicknamed Mr. Jordan "Icky
Drake was a "matron" at the Belle Meade Theater. On Saturday and Sunday
afternoons and evenings she kept order among the many children
attending the movies and the Happiness Club. The Belle Meade policeman
who was best known for providing security was a rotund gentleman fondly
known as "Big Joe". Both the Belle
Meade and Green
featured many movie premiers during the 60's. A huge pie fight was held
in front of the Green Hills Theatre for the opening of "The
Remember how far you could see from the L&C
Deck for a dime or the L&C letters on top of the Tower that
would turn blue for fair weather and pink for change. If the
temperature was rising, the letters lit from top to bottom to top and
from top to bottom if falling. The Observation Deck was closed forever
after someone jumped off.
Remember that they had a little popcorn stand at Centennial Park and
you could buy a little box of popcorn to feed the ducks. The paddle
boats at Centennial Park were awfully fun for a little kid.
The old Children's
Museum that had live alligators
and a stuffed bobcat in
it. I always thought what a waste of a perfectly good little cat.
the Clown visited all the
schools for the Children's Theatre. If
you signed up at school for the Children's Museum, you got a pin with
the image of a raccoon
on it. Tom
Tichenor 's puppets were featured at the
Downtown Library. Do you remember going outside to visit the
when it visited your school?
free ride on Cleeces Ferry (off Charlotte Pike). There was also a ferry
from Riverwood Drive in Inglewood to near where Opryland Hotel stands
now. Unless you drove miles and miles the 6 or 8 car ferry was the only
way from Inglewood to Donelson. A gray painted paddlewheel
ferry vessel called the "Judge Hickman" served both the McGavock Pike
crossing between Donelson and Inglewood (until the North Briley Parkway
bridge opened) and then at Cleece's crossing off Charlotte Pike (until
the West Briley Parkway bridge opened). There was a list of rules for
the "voyage" posted below the wheelhouse and crewmen to guide the ever
bigger autos to consequently ever tighter parking slots on the two
parking decks. At times they could not fit the promised 8 cars aboard,
but a line of autos were almost always waiting on both river banks for
the next daylight "voyage".
--all that chrome!!!--Cakes (German
carrot cake, coconut cake with half a cherry in the middle) from
Harvey's in the white square boxes with cord tied around them--and
always the smell of chemicals in the air from where ladies were having
their hair permed.
The old National
Life Building on the corner of
Seventh and Union.
Absolutely gorgeous, all that wood paneling and marble. It
took them much longer to get the building torn down than they had
anticipated because it was so solid--then
they put in a parking lot. Remember
Mary Lyles Wilson's
cafeteria on the fifth floor?
Taking grade school field trips to Colonial Bakeries, Jersey Farms and
ride to Franklin , KY and back
leaving from the Union Station Shed .
Melrose Pool Hall way down in the dark basement near the Bowling
Alley . Pool Halls
were strictly male only in those days.
The Nashville Symphony gave performances in the War
Building. The State
Museum was in the basement and
Sam Davis' boot was always
the most memorable item in the entire place for me.
mummy and the polar
probably gave several generations of school kids nightmares.
Kuhn's 5 and 10 cent store (at 6th and Church) and Grant's 5 &
10 cent store (where West Bowl is now) . Going to the department store
Grants and talking to "Santa" there. I remember they would hire winos
for that role and once "Santa" was slurring and going on and on the
manager would make him leave and then put up a sign saying that "SANTA
IS SICK AND WILL NOT BE BACK TILL TOMORROW NIGHT"
38. Crescent, Bel-Air, Montague, Skyway, Colonial and Warner
Park Drive-ins. Many had playgrounds down front for the small kids.
Managers would walk around shining flashlights into dark cars to check
for hanky panky.
fashion shows at Cain Sloan in Green Hills. You could have lunch in the
Steeplechase Room on the third floor Monday-Friday and models would
stroll by showing outfits and giving you the prices if you were
S&H green stamps and the True Value stamp stores on West End
and Nolensville Road. Free dishes at Sinclair Gas Stations with a
fill-up. SPUR gas stations had the stamps where one could pick from the
prize cabinet on the lot.
Lobertini , Boyce Hawkins & Ron Kaiser... the original TV
weathermen. Dr. Carl Seyfert (Vandy Professor) reported the weather in
the very early days of Channel 4. Remember the Carl Seifert theme song?
"Everybody cares about, no one knows a thing about it --- About what?
the weather. If it's cold, if it's hot, if it's cloudy, rain or snow,
Here's the weatherman, the guy who knows!" Nashville named a street
after him. Ever wait for the TV weather to see if George Goldtrap would
miss flipping that chalk into his pocket? Jud Collins will forever be
Nashville's "Mr. Television."
Eleanor (Eleanor Rochelle), Miss Norma (Norma Tate Coverdale) and
Miss Nancy (Beverly Early) on Romper Room. Romper Stomper Bomper Boo
tell me tell me tell me true have all my friends been good today? I
see....... Captain Crook and Captain
Boatwright (Jim Kent) was featured on a Saturday morning Kids show on
WSIX-TV called Cap'n Crooks Crew. Other characters included a
named Honest Gabe ( Gwen Kent) and Jim Kent's son, Robert as Saturday
Ruff 'n Reddy (Jim Sanders), Captain Bob (Bob Lobertini)
& Captain Bill (Bill Jay) of WLAC-TV's Popeye
and Friends. Captain
show ended with an auction of items, paid for with Golden Flake potato
chip bags. Bozo was originally on WSM and performed by Tom Tichenor and
Dick Brackett. Joe
Holcum and Jim Kent later played Bozo on WSIX. Grandpa Moses (Boyce
Hawkins) and Happy A. Clown (Bayron Binkley) were the hosts of a live afternoon children's show on WSM-TV called Grandpa,
Happy and the Three
also produced Happy
Town with Dave Overton as Mayor and characters, Grandpa
Moses, Happy A. Clown, Professor
Popoffnik and Editor Cornelius Scoopnewsel. Jackie Bell had a
morning exercise program on Channel 5 and she kept Nashville's ladies
in shape. Do you remember Dr. Lucifur of Shock Theatre
(Ken Bramming) & Sir
Creape (Russ McCown) of Creature Feature? "Good
Night, Sleep Tight, and Don't Let the Beddie Bugs Bite!" Each Saturday night at 10:30 PM on WSM TV from
1971-1982, the 235-year-old Sir Cecil Creape beckoned his viewers (Did someone call?) into
his creepy cobweb covered world for a
sampling of puns, sight gags, insults (he loved to berate his
commercials) contests, awards ("The Frankie," a tiny statue of the
and strange movies guaranteed to chill his fans to the bone. Did you know
Pat Sajak wrote many of the scripts for Creature Feature? Do you remember whose picture was on the
mantel? Answer: Floyd Kephart (highlight
with your mouse). Dr. Lucifur, was the dashing late night
horror show host of Shock Theater on WSIX-TV in Nashville from 1958
through the late sixties. Dr. Lucifur wore a patch over his right eye,
smoked cigarettes dangling from an elongated holder, and dressed
eloquently in black tuxedo fashions. He claimed to be the President of
Transylvania for over 200 years. Regulars on the show included Cyril
Songbird the Poet, Frantic Freddie the Hipster and Granny Gruesome.
Remember him standing under the lamp post introducing Shock Theatre?
Ken Bramming also hosted a locally produced version of the Mickey
Mouse Club on WSIX-TV. Remember when Captain Bob asked the
kiddies why they were all giggling and someone volunteered "Herbie
farted!" (Another Nashville Urban Legend sometimes recanted
as Herbie giving the middle finger salute). The kid is
thought to have been named Willie.
43. Gulas and Welch
Wrestling on TV with Jackie
Yamamoto, Len Rossi,
and Gentleman Saul
Weingeroff with the "Germans" Kurt and Karl von Brauner.
They all had their signature moves: the Fargo strut and Atomic Drop,
Tojo's Japanese Claw and the Mario Milano head-butt all got the crowd
cheering or booing. Jerry Lawler
threw fire, Tojo threw salt and his wooden shoes were deadly weapons.
It was good versus evil with The Fargos (Jackie, Don
(roughhouse/nuthouse) versus the Masked Medics or Don and Al Greene
versus Tommy and Eddie Marlin. Heaven help the good guy who found
himself in the opponents corner and at the mercy of Gentleman Saul's
cane. Ginger the wrestling bear was another crowd favorite. Sponsored
you don't know diamonds, know your jeweler and if Harold says it's so,
it's so". Live wrestling at the Hippodrome where the kids
would yell at Announcer Gil Greene for Rudy's Farm pens and other
knickknacks. Nick Gulas would say..."Ladies and gentlemen
we're expecting an all time record breaking crowd, better get your
tickets early. They're available at the box office and in the lobby of
the Sam Davis Hotel".
Times before Marcia
Trimble's death when
kids were able to walk the streets and play without fear of kidnapping
and death. A kid could leave home in the morning on his bike and return
at dark, having explored miles from home.
When you shopped in Burkes Dept. store. transactions were completed by
a series of baskets, pulleys and wires that went from the apparel
sections to the balcony; similarly, the vacuum tubes in other dept
stores to get the money to the office. You could buy anything at the
downtown department stores with a charge-a-plate. It was a piece of
metal about the size of a WWII dog tag that had your name and address
in raised letters on it and had little notches along the side. Each
store that took the plate for credit had a certain place for the notch
on the side. If the card fit into their credit machine it
meant you had an account
there. I remember one time when we went to one store and didn't have
the proper notch and the folks were falling all over themselves trying
to cut a new notch in the little plate. Talk about easy credit!
Shakey's Pizza Parlors and the sing-a-longs on weekends. One side was
for families and the other side served beer. Singing to the bouncing
ball and player piano and the red/white striped jackets and straw hats,
When the only action on lower broad was Saturday night at the Opry?
When the Hard Rock Cafe was a Hardware store?
When riding the bus
was cool and safe and cheap (well, maybe not cool).
Sadie Hawkins Day and the Hillbilly
Day Festival and
Parade in Madison. Also, the boat ramp at the end of Neely's
Bend Road in Madison. Folks could go and put their boats in the
Cumberland River (across the river was the mouth of Stones
River). Madison was
also the home of WENO Radio. WENO built Nashville's first theme park
Town complete with
train and train robbers on horseback. Celebrities like Dan Blocker
(Hoss from Bonanza) would appear at the park. In addition, WENO hosted
a massive Easter Egg Hunt each year.
The first Nashville McDonald's and the original Shoney's Big Boy, both
Who could forget the good ole Sunset Park at the end of Neely's Bend
Road in Madison. Swimming pool, roller rink and concerts on week-ends.
There was Skateland, an outdoor skating rink behind the McDonalds in
Madison where the Allman Joys frequently played. Friday night football
- Litton Lions, Stratford Spartans, and Madison Rams. The
Frozen Castle was an East High School hang out in the 50's and the
Lions Dairy Dip was next door to Isaac Litton High School. Remember the Isaac Litton Marching
Band Director Sammy Swor, Sr. and their many parade appearances?
Charlie Nicken's Barbeque on Jefferson Street with curb service and
just a block from Sulphur Dell. (Bribe the curb waiters and get beer
sooner than the calendar allowed.) Also, Jim Coursey's Barbecue, 4th
Ave. S., just south of the Fairgrounds.
grade school team mascots? Stokes Wildcats, Woodmont Warriors, Percy
Priest Tigers, Burton Bulldogs, Cavert Cavaliers, Eakin Eagles, Parmer
Panthers or Julia Green Hornets. Going to parties in the Sycamore Lodge
in Shelby Park or at Riverwood
Riding Academy. Driving out to Warner Parks for a little necking but,
leaving quickly because your date is sure the "Hookman" was probably lurking
in the bushes. Road trips to Chapel
to watch for the ghost on the RR tracks or using a Ouija Board to
summon the Bell Witch? All guaranteed to frighten a date into your
arms. The Ghost of Granny White, stand on her grave and hear her heart
beat, or the "devil worshipers" off Granny White at the end of McGrace
Hill.Lovers Lanes included the Warner & Shelby Parks, Reservoir
Hill off 8th. Avenue, Love Circle behind 32nd. Ave. S., Baskin Hill off
of Jocelyn Hollow Rd. and Laurel Ridge. A great way to get a date out
to the park was the scientific experiment of coasting up gravity hill
in Edwin Warner Park. Submarine races were a regular weekend teen event
on Old Hickory Lake. An expensive date featured dinner at an exotic
restaurant like the Omni Hut in Smyrna, Jolly Ox, Sperry's or St.
Clair's in 100 Oaks. A very special dinner was Chateau Briand for two at Jack
Favier's Silver Wings Restaurant at the Airport. Rich Schwartz was the
place for that special prom dress. It had ladybugs on the steps.
Nashville's first major indoor mall...One
Woolco, Harvey's, Penney's, Magnavox, John Simmons, Games Imported
& other exotic stores we were fascinated with when it opened in
1968. Their was no food court but, there was a great hot dog place up
by Woolco called La Petite
Do you remember standing really still in JC Penney to feel the floor
Psychic Jean Dixon would later predict on talk radio that 100 Oaks
would eventually collapse. The Crazy Cave in 100 Oaks (the one
downstairs inside) every Saturday playing pool (on the little tables)
and Space Invaders then having lunch at Shoneys. Madison Square
Shopping Center was the largest in the country when it was first built
in 1956. Harding Mall featured the Santa from the Bozo Show.
Seeing James Brown at Sulphur Dell, Little Richard at the National
Guard Armory, or the Beach Boys, Ice Capades or Three Stooges
at the new modern Municipal Auditorium.
Circus in the Coliseum Building at
the Fairgrounds, the Dixie
Flyers in the Municipal
Nashville Vols at Sulphur Dell
with the steep banks in the outfields and Coach Larry Gilbert pointing
his finger to the high screen in right field for Charlie Workman or
Tookie Gilbert to hit one out. Larry Munson was the radio play by play
announcer for several years. The Harlem Globe Trotters in McQuiddy
Gym at Lipscomb and Coo
Coo Marlin and Marty
stockcars at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.
The Speedway had a really cool tunnel
that ran under the track to the infield and pits and during a race you
could hear the cars racing just above you. It was always a
sellout for the Joie Chitwood Thrill Show at the Speedway. Their big
finish would be a Astro Spiral jump. That’s where a car
goes off one ramp, does a complete 360-degree rollover in mid-air, and
lands on another ramp. It’s called the
“Astro” Spiral jump because it was first done in
Houston’s Astrodome back in the ’60s.
They would also blast a car out of a giant cannon loaded on the back of
a truck. The roof of the grandstands would make it sound like an atomic
bomb going off. Do you remember Fast pitch softball featuring The King
(Eddie Feigner) and his Court at Shelby Park?
Getting out of school for the State Fair?
The State Fair was a huge deal back then. Kids would be unable to sleep
the night before a trip to the fair and everybody dressed up just like
church. Knothole baseball was played at Fort Negley by teams sponsored
by companies like McDowell Road Builders, Jersey Farms Dairy and First
American National Bank. Whatever happened to all those local banks like
Third National, First American and Commerce Union? Swimming at the Harpeth
very popular on weekends.
High school fraternities and sororities sponsored Formals and summer combo parties in people's driveways. How about a spaghetti
supper or school carnival? A spaghetti supper at Walter Stokes School
promised the older kids an opportunity to "make out" in the adjacent
creek bed and playground while the parents feasted on spaghetti inside.
Carnivals were great, besides the carnival rides there would be game
booths and hay or bus rides where again the older kids were swapping
spit at every opportunity. In the 8th grade we had make-out parties and
in the 9th grade we had wild combo parties. Adult supervision, yeah
right. Seniors in high school got an official cut day. You could go to
Percy Warner Park or you could go to school. Of course the teachers
were all at the park to chaperone.
John Kennedy's Saturday, May 18, 1963 open presidential limo
motorcade through Nashville and where you were when he was shot in
Dallas on November 22, 1963.
(I was in school at Walter Stokes)
All restaurants, movie theatres and even hospitals allowed smoking. The
schools had zero air-conditioning. Cigarettes were available in vending
machines to anyone with the cash. Beer was purchased by tipping helpful
men who hung around the front of certain convenience markets.
Fake Id's were easy because the green paper drivers
licenses you could get an old one from an 18 year old friend and
carefully erase numbers and change them with a very fine pencil. Having
your "parents" write a note allowing you to buy cigarettes at
When the only great peanuts came from the Arcade. "Mr. Peanut" use to
walk up and down the arcade and pass out peanuts! For fresh roasted
peanuts you could also go to Acme Seed on lower broad.
Remember when you could just ride out to the airport
(Berry Field) and go stand outside on the observation deck and watch
the planes land and take-off? They also held air
shows that featured
Tour in a DC-7 for a
penny a pound.
Cerebral Palsy Telethon on Channel 4 with the parade of kids in
wheelchairs and on crutches while the telethon hosts sang "Call 244 7
Oh Oh Oh" to the tune of The Saints Go Marching In. "Call now
and light up those lights!!! " Look at us were walking.
62. Getting all your
home appliances at the Sears
and Roebuck on Lafayette, your car parts at the Western Auto, your toys
at the Phillip's Toy Mart on 8th Avenue, your scouting supplies at
McClures or the Army-Navy Store on
West End near downtown owned by Arnold Lefkovitz and everything else at
your neighborhood hardware or drug store.
Woolworth's would sell knockoffs of the latest hits for half price.
There was no way to copy songs off our transistor radios. Getting the
latest Beatles' 45 at Zibart's Books, which had listening booths to
preview the vinyl records and deal with
who ran the record department. The stamp collectors' guru, Murray
Brosius, ran the stamp department at Zibart's Book store and was
responsible for turning many Nashville kids into lifelong stamp
collectors. What about the hippest new hairstyle at Clyde's
Music City Barbershop or
experiencing Nashville's first lady barbers at
England's (they were babes, too)? For a different style you could visit
George the Barber at "The Flat Top Barber Shop" on Thompson Lane.
The fountains at Aladdin Industries lit with colored lights at night
you could see from Murfreesboro Road.
Receiving the polio vaccine on little sugar cubes in the school gym.
Taking the hearing
test in grade school?
Getting ready for school and the only TV program on would be Ralph Emery with Spider, Norm and the Band or Eddie Hill's
Country Junction with Smiley and Kitty. Do you remember the Farm
Reports in the early morning?
Guard Tanks stationed in Centennial Park and downtown when Dr. Martin
Luther King was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn.
Slot-car tracks, trampoline centers, go-cart tracks and miniature golf
courses that sprung up and disappeared. The best miniature golf in town
was at the Wee Tee Golf Course behind the Dairy King on Thompson Lane
at Mill Creek. The best slot-car track was next door to the Hippodrome
on West End. Large slides also appeared around town were kids would
ride down on mats or potato sacks. There was always plenty for a kid to
do in those days. Carnivals setup in shopping center parking lots on a
regular basis. It seemed like there was always a carnival at Madison
Real deep snows in the winter where school would be out for days/weeks
and Centennial Pond (Watuga) would freeze for ice skaters. Everyone
would rush to Inglewood Hardware for sleds and get the tire chains
ready if Boyce Hawkins said snow was on the way. Waiting for Carlisle
Beasley of Metro to decide if the roads were bad enough to close
schools and for Keith Bilbrey to
announce it on Channel
4's Ralph Emery Show. Fortunately Mr. Beasley always checked the hills
of Joelton first and we could go back to bed by 7AM! January 1951's
major snow and ice storm paralyzed the city.
brought an Air Force Early Warning Radar Station to the Joelton Area.
Residents were certain that this was just like painting a big bulls-eye
on Joelton for Russian missiles. 1962 and the Cuban Missile Crisis had
school students practicing hiding under their desks in case of attack.
Students took home permission slips to their parents to request whether
children should be kept in school or sent home in event of a missile
attack. TVs were not allowed in class except for space launches which
were incredible and dangerous (because our missiles blew up at first).
It was a bit like getting a day off, because space launches were
Friday night with Night Train and host Noble
Blackwell, featuring artists like: Ironing
Board Sam, James Brown, The Van Trease Trio, Good Rockin'
a very young Jimmy
Hendrix. Friday night also
featured Shock Theatre
where the creepy organ intro music was usually more scary than the
movie. Shock, Jr. came on Sunday afternoons.
71. Stiefs Jewelers windows
displayed German made clocks with animated figures that would march out
at the change of time intervals and dance and turn in time to music
that you could stand and watch forever. Stiefs Jewelers was on 6th Ave.
North between Church and Union. Something you always had to do when you
went downtown was to have ham and rolls in Harvey's basement at the
counter which was the best lunch in Nashville. As they always
said, "Harveys has it."
When Nashville had two daily newspapers, the Tennessean in the morning
and the Banner in the afternoon. Papers were delivered by boys walking
or on bikes and papers were placed on the front porch of homes.
Where you got the best sports equipment, The Sportsman's Stores and
Bill Clay's in Melrose for hunting and fishing gear. The Woods and
Waters TV Show was very popular.
When you could park all day for free on Lower
The "Popcorn Vendor" that was right outside the front entrance of the
downtown Walgreens (popping fresh popcorn....a dime a bag).
Shoes were a big deal since the average kid only had a school
pair and a Sunday pair. There was Stride Rite on Sixth and Flagg
Brothers on Church Street. However the ultimate was a pair of Red Goose
Shoes from a Family Booterie Store. Every kid dreamed of pulling the
goose's neck and getting that prized golden egg. The Family Booterie
store in Hillsboro village had a fluoroscope that would show your feet
inside the shoes you were trying on. I wonder how
many cooked feet resulted from that particular commercial gimmick.
I can still hear their ad..."Two for the price of one plus a
dollar, two for the price of one plus a dollar..." followed
in a few weeks by "table and rack (clap clap) it's back."
Vanderbilt's SEC title
in basketball in 1965 with Clyde Lee setting many school records.
Also memorable was Vandy's 1954 football victory over UT, 26-0 or the
1975 "Punt, Barry Punt!" Vandy victory over UT in Knoxville. Vandy's
Memorial Gym was also host to the Annual March of Dimes Basketball
Tournament which featured schools of the N.I.L. It was a major deal the
year (1963) that Nashville's Bill Wade quarterbacked the Chicago Bears
to the NFL Championship. There were major high
school rivalries like Cameron vs Pearl that were
settled on the basketball court. The spirit squads were awesome!
Nashville had three all black high schools...Cameron, Meigs and Pearl.
Remember "All the way for Doc" and the 1954 West End High School march
through the state basketball tournament led by the "dynamic duo", Ralph
Greenbaum and Jimmy French at Vandy's Memorial Gym? The Annual
Clinic Bowl game was played at Vandy's stadium with the best high
school team from the west vs the best high school team from the East
side of town. .Nashville
High Schools also competed on TV in Classroom Quizbusters. Long
live the Cumberland Indians, Joelton Blue Jays, Dupont Bulldogs,
Bellevue Owls, Issac Litton Lions, Central Golden Tornadoes, Donelson
Dons, Howard Rebels, West Blue Jays, East Eagles, Madison Rams,
Goodlettsville Trojans, Cohn Black Knights, Pearl Tigers, Cameron
Mighty Panthers, and North Yankees, if only in our memories. High
School rivalries were a big deal. Overton and Antioch had
a teasippers/farmers thing going. Schools actually had school
spirit then. The Overton Band would have teabags hanging from the end
of their trombone slides at the Antioch game. Good times. I won't even
repeat what kids thought of Hillsboro's Burros LOL
Long before liquor by the drink (1967) passed, Nashville had numerous
public and private clubs which offered gambling, alcohol and music. The
Colemere Club (currently the New Orleans Manor near the Airport on
Murfreesboro Rd.) which was owned by Nashville City Government and
served as the hangout for most of the city's politicians , openly had
slot-machines in several rooms as did most American Legion and Knights
of Columbus Halls. At the annual Colemere Club Easter Egg Hunt kids
could finish gathering up the eggs and still have time to play the
gaming machines. "My favorite machine featured little horses that raced
around a track." The Club Plantation on Murfreesboro Road and the Palms
Club on Nine Mile Hill were major adult hangouts. Many clubs offered
Las Vegas style gambling. Printer's Alley Clubs featured Boots Randolph
and Exotic Dancer Heaven Lee. Most teens knew the beer joints or liquor
stores that accepted fake id's without question. In the 1950's in West
Nashville it was practically a rite of passage for a young man to have
his first beer at King's Inn (where no one ever asked for an id) near
the corner of West End and Woodmont Blvd. You could tip Ace on White
Bridge Road and keep the mug. Joe's Village Inn in Hillsboro Village
was also infamous for allowing underage drinking. There was also "Frank's Friendly" a
non-descript bar off of Charlotte fairly close in to town. Boys would
go to Frank's where there was usually some adult guy waiting to take
your order, your money and bring you back quarts of Pabst Blue Ribbon
beer for your party!! Sin
was abundant in Nashville in the "old" days. The Belle Meade Motel was
nicknamed the "No Tell Motel". Other motor courts in town featured high
fences or rooms with attached garages where a person could hide their
car from prying eyes. In the 70's Video Poker Machines were widespread
and Massage Parlors ;-) were operating in every area of town.
Nashville's vice squad must have had other priorities. The Police
Department also maintained an official position that there were no
gangs in Nashville and police promotions were rumored to be made in a
Goodlettsville Liquor Store. Strange times indeed. The Belle Meade
police were so helpful they would carry you home, instead of the drunk
tank or a DUI. The Southerner Liquor store, where you could cash a
check postdated (at 1% interest per DAY). Funeral homes in Davidson
county were the only Ambulance service. They monitored the police
frequencies and would race each other to the scene of an accident.
According to rumors, the driver would take the long way to the hospital
in hopes that the patient would expire and they could then take the
deceased to their funeral home. Newman's Raiders... Metro Police
motorcycle cops that patrolled the streets. They always traveled in
formation and fanned out in groups of two. They were led by Sgt. Kerry
attend a WMAK Schools Out Party at Fair Park? WMAK's "Our Leader" Scott
and his trademark signoff "Reminding you to live, love, be happy and
never ever forget...?" " and followed by Cherish by the Association. He
had a weekly show called Crying Time, he would read sad breakup stories
followed by an even sadder song. The "Wild
Child" Bill Berlin or "Captain
Schutt at WKDA? Urban legend is thatskating Captain
Midnight would play tapes at night while he slipped down to Printer's
Alley to mingle with the masses. The radio request lines were very
popular with teens. While you were on hold the lines would bleed over
and you could talk to others on hold and guys could get dates. WMAK,
WSIX and WVOL went directional at night and often the signal
was lost to certain areas of the area. WLAC covered the whole
Southeast selling baby chicks. Ever visit the Stahlman Bldg. to pickup
concert tickets or an album you won in a radio contest? On WSM-TV there
was the "Five O'Clock Hop" hosted by Dave Overton and hostess Martha
Sanderson. Kids would do the solo dance for gift certificates for shoes
at Flagg Brothers (guys') and Holiday (gals'). There was also the "Sock
Hop" hosted by Noel Ball. On Noel's show young girls would lipsync to
the hits. The Sock Hop also featured a quartet of three boys/one girl
called the "Manhattans" who would also lip-sync. Members of the
Manhattans included Doug Seymour, Buzz Cason, Bill Pruitt, and Judy
Eades. The Manhattans appeared in 1956 & 1957 while they were
students at Issac Litton High School. Noel Ball was Nashville's first
and most flamboyant
rock n roll disk jockey. He drove a pink & white 1955 Crown
Victoria and pushed the envelope in his professional and personal life.
Noel Ball was "THE DJ" of the late 50's &
early 60's. Hugh Baby Hops were held all over Middle Tennessee hosted
by DJ Hugh Jarrett whose radio show was sponsored by Royal Crown Hair
Dressing. In the mid-sixties it was a big deal when the Dick Clark
"Caravan of Stars" rolled into town at Sulphur Dell or the Armory. On a
clear night, if you lived in West Nashville you might be able to pickup
real rock on Vanderbilt University's 10-watt mono WRVU, transmitting on
91.1 from high atop the Oxford House apartments at the corner of 21st
and Capers, the tallest structure in the Vandy realty portfolio.
Deserted military barracks and hospitals were scattered around town.
White Bridge Road (near current Target), Howard School Campus? The
separation center on Thompson Lane which consisted of Army Barracks.
They housed soldiers coming home from World War II until they were
Defunct Nashville restaurants included the Captain Ray's Sailmaker
(theme restaurant on West End) that featured wait staff in exotic
costumes and dining rooms like the "harem". Cajun Wharf on Cowan, Mahi
Mahi on White Bridge Road, Captain Paulos on Riverside Drive (best
hushpuppies in the world), Malones Restaurant on First Avenue, Cross
Keys (downtown with the red doors
and favorite items such as Hot Brown and getting to write your own
order on that little pad of paper they had at the table with the golf
Deli the best Matzo Ball Soup
founded by Morris Zager (Mr. Morris). Mr. Morris'
sons, Arnold and Jack, took over the business. At the
Downtown location, there was a "Men's Balcony." One day,
according to Arnold, some "bra burners" (liberated women) came in and
demanded to be seated in the Men's Balcony. He took them
upstairs without a word, where they were greeted with stares and
silence by the men seated there,
the Iris Room at Cain-Sloan, Melfi's
Italian, (Vito & Frances Melfi) the original pizza
house in Nashville on Division Street and the original Irelands (steak
& biscuits) near Vandy. There was also Nero's Cactus Canyon in
Green Hills (which housed a
private club before liquor by the drink; called Silver Slipper), The
Melrose grill by the theater, and Marchetti's on 19th off of West End.
Madison Square had the Lazy Susan Restaurant beneath Harvey's where
patrons shared bowls of food served from the center of large tables.
The really great hot fudge sauce at Candyland that made the ice cream
sundaes the best in town. If you wanted a great banana split, you could
go to Elliston Place Soda Shop.
Remember the old TV studio locations? WLAC (Life & Casualty) on
4th Ave. just south of the L&C Tower. The WSIX (Where Service
is Excellent) studio on the hill in Brentwood at the base of the
broadcasting tower. The original WSM (We Shield Millions) studio in
west Nashville off Granny White Pike. WSM-TV (now WSMV) signed on the
air in September 1950, on channel four, to become the area's first
television station. WSM also conducted a special promotional campaign
prior to going on the air. A live "TV studio" was set up on the main
floor of Harvey's department store on Church Street. Shoppers could
watch as performers went through the paces of doing mock TV shows. You
may remember, too, that Harvey's was also selling its own brand of
early television sets--and those "Harfield" TVs weren't cheap.
The Shetland ponies at the Litsey farm where Briley parkway now
intersects Lebanon Rd. The Rudy farm in Pennington Bend with its herd
of real live buffalo. The Nashville Game Farm in Joelton. 100 Oaks Mall
had lions on exhibit in the summer and reindeer at Christmas.
84. Girls Club
"ETC" dances at the
old Maxwell House Ballroom with Francis
Craig's Orchestra and later Tea
Dances at the Hyatt Regency on Sunday afternoons with The Louis Brown
vocalist Marti Brown?
When the only lottery was the one that young men who turned 18 played?
Taking ballet or flamenco lessons from Albertine Maxwell and also Joy
Zibart who taught Modern Dance to generations of Nashville girls. Mrs.
Zibart's pianist was Mr. Werner Zepernick. There were dance lessons
from the Nick Lambos Dance studio and regular dances at Fort Nightely
(followed by do-nuts across the street at Krispy Kreme). There was also the Tweensters dances
in West Nashville. Music lessons were given downtown at the Eva
Thompson Jones School, whose alumni reportedly included Pat Boone. Mr.
Boone was also a frequent celebrity guest at the Happiness Club of the
Belle Meade Theatre.
The sound of squealing tires as the attendants
delivered and parked cars in the Cain Sloan parking lot downtown? They
would ride back upstairs on a chain lift.
In grade school somehow we all brought in cigar
boxes which held our school supplies and shoe boxes which could be
decorated at Valentines to hold treasured cards. Remember "milk break"
in elementary school and when being chosen to wheel the milk cart to
all the rooms was a big deal! Do you remember when they came by for a
count on hamburger day in the cafeteria? Kids with extra money could
order a second hamburger which was a big deal. Remember when girls
FINALLY got to wear pantsuits to school (NOT jeans) in 1970! Do you
remember when there were patrol boys at remote corners a few blocks
away from the school? They had yellow flags on wooden poles
and usually a patrol lady was there to supervise. Patrol
girls only got to work at the school on the porch. Do you remember
leaving your prized bike in a bike rack at school and not even
considering putting a lock on it? Did you ever ride your bike with
playing cards stuck in your spokes with clothes pins?
mostly stayed out of trouble, occasionally "rolling" a friends house,
drag racing or sneaking into the "Hoochie Coochie" shows at the
Tennessee State Fair. The youth/delinquent officer Sergeant Currey
would cruise by the "parking spots" every Friday and Saturday night to
see if he could catch kids circle dancing in the headlights of their
cars. The State "reformatory" was at Jordonia, and being sent there was
the ultimate threat that any school principal or other adult authority
could issue to an errant youth. We were always much happier with a
school visit by the Police Department rock band "The Blue Lights" than
the youth officer. The exclusive two-percent club at Hillsboro High
School, whose members called themselves that after the principal said
the school was great except for "two percent who were wild." Green
Hills also had a "real" motorcycle gang called the R.A.T.S. (raising
all types of stuff). Or at least the Metro Police thought so since they
investigated the group and visited the schools to warn about the
dangers of gangs. In fact, the guys met at Griff's Hamburgers on Sunday
afternoons and rode their small Hondas, Harleys, Sears Crusaires and
Cushman Eagles around the area and were totally harmless. Times were
very naive and innocent back then.
90. Toys in this period
were very low-tech.
Nashville's Kusan Toys made a very popular
derringer replica cap-gun. Kusan also later made pop-guns that would
fire ping-pong balls. In the late 50's every boy had a coon skin hat,
replaced in the sixties by a beatle wig. Kids traded
baseball cards and
marbles. Did you ever know the difference between a Candy Swirl,
Goldstone Swirl, Swirled Band or a Indian Swirl? Girls mostly
played with Barbies after they came along in 1959. Prior to that
Shirley Temple Dolls were really hot. Building model cars was cool and
Phillips Toy Mart had them all. Phillips was also a great place to go
for a small bottle of chemicals guaranteed to make your house or school
hall smell like rotten eggs - if you knew what to get. Most young boys
carried pocket knives, even to school. Nobody even considered
that they might be used for violence. It was a real accomplishment if
you could throw a pocket knife and stick it in a tree trunk. Hardware
stores had these great huge displays of pocket knives to ogle. Boy
scout knives were kinda lame in comparison to a slick pearl handled
knife. To have your own whet stone was the ultimate. Everybody had at
least one toy made by Wham-O. Boys aged there own cinnamon toothpicks
in pill bottles and the older, the hotter. The first video game I ever
saw was Pong at the Magnavox Store in 100 Oaks. Kids were busy all
summer with programs provided by the parks. Day camps like Camp
Widjiwagen and Davis Gorham Day Camp were very popular. At the Oak Hill
Day Camp you were either a Chickasaw or a Cherokee. Beechcreek Day Camp
with camp director Allen Bell was where hundreds of girls learned to
ride and swim and do archery, etc. Youth Incorporated was where you
went downtown to the bus shelters and you could catch a bus to spend
the whole day at the camp for like a dollar a year. There was
horse-back riding at Riverwood Academy in Inglewood and at Percy Warner
Park Stables. At Shelby Park Day Camp kids looked forward to "Gold Rush Days" when gold
painted rocks were hidden in the grass and gullies just waiting to be
Kids were encouraged to save and Fidelity Federal
had the coolest piggy banks.
In the sixties teen clubs popped up all over town: Hullabaloo on Dickerson
Upbeat Club in Tusculum Shopping Center, The Dog House located in the
old gym at DuPont High School in Old Hickory, Pirates’ Cove
at Two Rivers, Don’s Den at Donelson High, Teen Town at Ryan,
Skateland on Thompson Lane (aka The Salt Mines because they threw salt
on the concrete so you could dance), Chicken Coop out on Hwy
70 , Tiger A-Go-Go out Charlotte near River Road, The Sack on Gallatin
Road across from East High above an appliance store or the Co-Ed in
East Nashville and the Nowhere Club in Hendersonville behind Woody's
Restaurant. Whether you were scoping babes in the boogaloo line at
Pirates Cove or avoiding the drunken gaze of Bill Grewcook at Dons Den,
you would have been under the same roof on the same night. Both Dons
Den and Pirates Cove took place at the Lions Club Bldg. behind the
Donelson High football bleachers. Imagine! Rival high schools
coexisting simultaneously at the same venue ... although, at times, it
could get interesting! In Green Hills there was Saturday night at Teen
Town at Calvary United Methodist Church.
In the early seventies clubs included the 23rd Psalm, located at 1415
17th Ave. So. in the music row area that was in operation from November
1st of 1970 until June of 1972. Also, the Market Place, and Furnace
operated in West Nashville. The steps of the Parthenon were a major
teen hangout as were the stone gates of Percy Warner Park and the train
trestle in Shelby Park. Did you ever see a performance of "Sing Out
South" or go Christmas caroling for Fannie Battle Day Home?
92. Remember the advertising jingles
of the times: "The
height of a piggy's ambition from the day he is born is hope that he'll
be good enough to be a Frosty Morn" (ham). How about "Elm Hill Bill"
or the rockabilly pig that likes Jacob's Preferred sausage?
Not to mention "Colonial is GOOD bread." Did you buy Tom Polk Tires or
ever "Go get a Goo Goo, they're good"? Remember Little Miss Sunbeam
making appearances for Sunbeam Bread? Sunbeam, the bread with no holes.
Young redheads could also compete to be "Little Miss Spark" at the
Nashville Fire Dept. "Live the life of Riley in a Wiley Mobile Home".
Purity Dairies cow said "it must be nice to be wanted". Who could
forget Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs singing for Martha White Flour.
"Goodness Gracious good and light, Martha White." Ole Ernest sold us
all on Purity milk.
Remember having a school jacket or sweater with a
letter? How about a madras shirt? Girls collected love loops off the
back seams of the boys new oxford shirts. Beatle boots were available
at Family Booterie and were so pointy they could be considered a deadly
weapon. One year lightning bolts on our shoes were the bomb, the next
year multiple taps on our soles was a must have. Winter coats came from
Spartans or Zayres Dept. Stores. Kids wore goulashes
good shoes in wet weather.
A trip to the dentist meant a visit to the Bennie
Dillon Building downtown. A trip to the doctor meant a visit to the
Doctor's Bldg. on Church St. or to Doctor's Row on West End near the
hospitals. Do you remember when Nashville was one of only two cities in
the country to have a dental division and to have fluoride in the water
(1953). We also had a dentist come to each school every year to check
the teeth of the students. You had your teeth checked every fourth year
and if you had cavities, you got a note to take to your parents. The
dentists in the health department would fix the cavities if you came
in. Nashville also had two dental vans that went from one area to
another (much like the bookmobiles)
In the 60's Country Music stars attempted to
capitalize on their names by launching fast food restaurants. We had
Minnie Pearl's Chicken, Tex Ritter's Chuckwagons, Hank Williams's
Barbeque Pits, Tennessee Ernie Ford Steak and Biscuits, Minnie Pearl's
Roast Beef and
Eddy Arnold's Tennessee Fried Chicken among others. We also had Loretta
Lynn's Western Wear, Hank Snow Music and Ernest Tubb's Record Shop.
We had lots of special media personalities.
Sportscasters were always flamboyant, especially at WSM. Charlie
MacAlexander wore the most bizarre sports jackets. Paul Eells was known
for his trademark "Holy Smokes". How about when Dan Miller giving us all
gift of a fireplace crackling on TV or when WSM decided we needed Disco
lessons each night during the news? What
about Channel 5's "Dialing
for Dollars" every weekday afternoon on "The Big Show" 3:30 to 5:30? Bill
Hall and Ralph Emery worked in local rock and roll radio before
settling down. Huell Howser had his "Happy Features" on Channel 4.
Huell tried to warn us that we were losing our cities history and got
suspended for it. This website proves his point was well taken. Oprah
Winfrey read the news on Channel 5 and Pat Sajak did the weather on
Several music/movie/tv stars got their early starts here. Ronnie Milsap
played the roof club of the King of the Road Hotel for many years.
Roger Miller played Printers Alley between sets for Boots Randolph.
Actresses Cynthia Rhodes and Mary Elizabeth Mastrontonio are both
alumni of Opryland USA. Randy Travis washed dishes at the Nashville
Palace Restaurant. Not to mention, Dinah Shore and Pat Boone got their
starts on local TV.
Nashville had it's share of unique and memorable
food products. Goo Goo's and King Leo Candy were made world famous by
the Opry but, did you ever hear of a Dream Cream candy bar?
How about Charlie Nicken's pickled tomatoes and fried corn bread?
Nero's Catcus Canyon and Jimmy Kelly's also featured corn cakes. How
about an Elm Hill Meats Spice Round? How about Kleemans apple pie at
Harveys with cheese on top? The Pie Wagon in 12th Avenue featured a
Boston and Denver sandwich and meats that were boiled, not fried. Have
you ever tasted anything as good as Lorenzo's Special Chicken
(Nolensville Road at Thompson Lane) which was only served in limited
supply on weekends? Slow cooked in lemon juice, vinegar and real
butter. Did you ever try a Black Walnut Angel Whip
from the Frozen Castle
on Gallatin Road or a Chocolate Drift from Candyland downtown? You can
still relive the past at a few Nashville establishments. Varallo's
downtown restaurant (knick name Nicks) was started in 1907 and the
restaurant was a haven for
politicians and many famous people around Nashville. You never knew who
you would sit next to at Varallo's or who you would meet. Over 500
marriages started at lunch introductions at Varallo's. It was truly one
of the most popular gathering places in Nashville for almost 100 yrs.
You could get Varallo's 3-way Chile only .10 cents a bowl. It's still
owned and operated by Varallo's. Rotier's Restaurant on Elliston Place
and the Loveless Cafe on Highway 100 are virtually unchanged from the
1950's. If you want a "old fashioned" sugary birthday cake, where else
but Becker's Bakery on Granny White Pike.
99. Christmas and
Easter Parades and Funeral Processions downtown on Church Street and
when people dressed up to go "downtown"? Ladies would wear hats and
gloves to visit Castner Knotts. Remember the display windows of the
department stores on Church St. , they were works of art. How about the
elevator ladies in Castner's downtown with their white gloves soiled
from opening and closing the gates.
Remember when Nashville had a real theme park? Remember the first time you attended a
performance of "I
Hear America Singing" and the
pride you took in Nashville?
from posts on the Nashville Newsgroup
(nashville.general), e-mails and many of my own
recollections. I would like to post pictures of many of these events
and establishments. If you should have old photos or would like to
contribute a memory (1950-1979), please contact me:
You may also
leave a public message
e-mail address and High School
and Graduation Year and you may hear from old friends.
Read the old guestbook
with 1,500 memories
Gen. Jackson, Skyline,
State Fair and more.
Comparison - 1950
|Loaf of Bread
||1 lb. of Butter
||1 Doz. Eggs
||1 Qt. Milk
Comparison - 1960
|Loaf of Bread
||1 lb. of Butter
||1 Doz. Eggs
||1 Qt. Milk
Value of a Dollar, 1860-1989
Comparison - 1970
|Loaf of Bread
||1 lb. of Butter
||1 Doz. Eggs
||1 Qt. Milk
the consumer price index
$100 in 1950 = $742.32 in 2002
Cost of Living Calculator
wage in 1950 $.75
Minimum wage in 2006 $5.15
brings Nashville it's first television station, WSM-TV (Channel 4).
The station is owned by the National Life and Accident Insurance
Company. WSM = We Shield Millions.
Records becomes the first major company to locate it's director of
country music in Nashville.
Park a year-round amusement park opens featuring a Ferris wheel and
playground areas for children at the TN State Fairgrounds. A new roller
coaster (Skyliner) is added in 1965, drawing more kids back to the park
and creating many memories for folks who grew up then.
Harvey of Harvey's Department Stores erects a life size Nativity Scene
in Centennial Park in front of the Parthenon. The Nativity Scene lasts
until 1967 when the exposure to weather finally takes it's toll on the
display and it is retired.
Channel 8 goes on the air as only Nashville's second TV station. When
WSIX-TV went on the air, the faces of Ken
Bramming, Hugh Cherry, Jim Kent, Noel Ball and many others quickly
became well know to viewers in Middle Tennessee. WSIX-TV produced many
local programs, such as Saturday Showcase, Romper Room, Bop Hop, Shock
Theatre and Shock, Jr., Classroom Olympics, Bozo Show, Lucky Video,
Mickey Mouse Club and Know your Bible to name a few.
Channel 5 signs on as
Nashville's third TV station. The CBS affiliate is owned by
the Life & Casualty Insurance Company, which built Nashville's
first skyscraper, the L&C Tower, in 1956.
v. The Board of Education leads to a school desegregation plan in
numbers in Nashville and Davidson County now have named prefixes.
Telephone number are published as ALpine, CHapel, AMherst, CYpress,
VErnon, CAnal, TUcker or COngress. Prior to that a favorite form of
recreation was listening on the party line. If an incoming call was for
your house it was 2 rings, 3 for the neighbors, etc. You had to get on
the waiting list for a 2 party line, most were 4. A "private" line was
County's population is estimated at 368,514 with 47% living in
Nashville and 53% living in the unincorporated areas.
"L&C" (Life and Casualty) Tower is completed downtown.
Nashville Sit-In Movement leads to widespread desegregation of public
downtown Maxwell House Hotel is destroyed by fire.
Municipal Airport opens.
government, to combine Nashville and Davidson County into one entity,
is approved in a voters' referendum.
first interstate highway, connecting Nashville with Memphis, arrives in
Auditorium opens hosting everything from rock concerts to circuses,
auto shows to evangelical crusades, and trade shows to touring
government is formally inaugurated on April 1. County Judge Beverly
Briley takes office as the first Mayor. Within its 533 square miles,
Davidson County is home to an estimated population of 423,150.
Sulphur Dell ballpark, one of the most interesting and charismatic
ballparks in all of baseball history with its sloping outfield and
short right field fence, was razed in 1963. In its heyday, the
“Dell” was a gathering place for all walks of life
that watched the hometown Nashville Volunteers of the old Southern
Association League and even spent a short period as a race track.
struck the Fairgrounds in September, 1965 when a $10 million fire
destroyed the grandstand, the Woman's Building and other exhibition
buildings. The flames could be seen for miles. Fire struck again in
1970 when the Coliseum Building burned down.
County's voters approve liquor by the drink.
Martin Luther King is
assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee and Nashville braces for riots.
||100 Oaks Mall opens to
huge crowds as Nashville's
first major indoor Mall.
park Opryland USA opens in northeast Davidson County.
Pool closes in 1975. The
200-foot-by-80-foot pool drew young and old to dip in it's cooling
waters. In the 1950s and 1960s, more than 1,000 people a day often came
to the pool.
Trimble's body is found in a neighborhood garage, 33 days after her
disappearance on Easter Sunday. Nashville loses it's innocence.
This page is dedicated to
Fred Harvey, Sr.
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