Nashville is the seat of Davidson County and the capital of the state of Tennessee. It is situated on the Cumberland River and is the second most populated city in Tennessee after the city of Memphis. It covers an area of five hundred and twenty-five square miles and has a population of six hundred and twenty-six thousand people. Nashville is known as the “Home to country music” and has become a major music production and recording hub. The music industry is estimated to add over six billion dollars to the city’s economy and employs almost twenty thousand people. Though tourism and the music industry are big pieces of this city’s economic pie, the largest Nashville industry is health care. There are almost three hundred healthcare companies in the city that contribute eighteen billion dollars a year to the economy, and employ over ninety-four thousand people. Other main industries in the city include publishing, finance and insurance. Fortune 500 companies headquarted in Nashville include Dollar General and Hospital Corporation of America.
Nashville is also home to a large number of colleges and universities. This has earned the city the moniker “Athens of the South”. Colleges and universities in the city include Nashville Auto Diesel College, University of Phoenix, Free Will Baptist Bible College, Meharry Medical College, American Baptist College, Watkins College of Art, Design & Film, Tennessee State University, Fisk University, Draughons Junior College, Vanderbilt University, Lipscomb University, Nashville State Community College, Nashville School of Law, Aquinas College, Strayer University, The Art Institute of Tennessee, Gupton College, Belmont University, Trevecca Nazarene University and the International Academy of Design and Technology. Nashville can trace its history back to the sixteenth century, when Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto visited the area. He decided not to build a settlement in the area, so the area was untouched by European settlement until the eighteenth century. This is when French fur traders established a trading post in the area near present day Nashville. This post didn’t last long, however and soon the area was once again without any European settlers until about 1796. The founding of this post and all the posts that were to follow by the French, earned the name “French Lick”.
In 1779, a permanent colony of settlers was finally established. Two hundred settlers, led by John Donelson and James Robertson, arrived on the banks of the Cumberland River on Christmas day. The would then go on to build a log stockade that they named Fort Nashborough in memory of American Revolution General Francis Nash. This fort would grow on to become a full fledged community and was incorporated in 1784 in the then state of North Carolina and renamed it Nashville. In 1796, land from the Allegheny Mountains to the Mississippi were ceded to the federal government by North Carolina. The area was admitted to the United States as the state of Tennessee.
Nashville has a thriving tourism trade and features many attractions and special events. Annual events in the city include the Tennessee State Fair, Nashville Film Festival, Australian Festival, Country Music Marathon, Tomato Art Festival, CMA Music Festival, Nashville Fourth of July Celebration, African Street Festival, Country Music Association Awards and the Gospel Music Association Dove Awards. The city is also known for its Civil War enactments which include the Battle of Stones River, Battle of Nashville and the Battle of Franklin.
If sports are your cup of tea, then Nashville has you covered there too. The city has NBA, NHL, MLB and NCAA teams which include the Tennessee Titans, Nashville Storm, Nashville Predators, Nashville Metros soccer team, Music City Stars and the Nashville Sounds. Sport venues in the city include Music City Motorplex, LP Field, Allen Arena, Sommet Center, Gentry Center, Nashville Municipal Auditorium, Curb Event Center at Belmont University, Herschel Greer Stadium, Hawkins Field at Vanderbilt University, Memorial Gymnasium at Vanderbilt University, Vanderbilt Stadium at Dudley Field and Ezell Park.
A popular attraction in the city is the Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art. This museum and botanical garden is located on fifty-five acres that originally belonged to the Cheek family of Nashville. It has a thirty thousand square foot mansion that was opened in 1960 as a museum. The flora and fauna included at the botanical gardens include magnolia trees, hydrangea, holly, ferns, Japanese Maple trees, dogwood and conifers. The museums permanent collection includes over five thousand prints and six hundred painting that encompass the history of American art. Artists represented in its collection include Davies, Edmondson, Bradford, Luks, Hamilton and Shinn.
Another popular attraction in the city is the Tennessee State Museum. This museum chronicles the history of Tennessee from the pre-colonization era to the twentieth century. The museum has over seventy thousand square feet of exhibit space. Sixty thousand feet are dedicated to the permanent collection and ten thousand feet dedicated to the rotating exhibits. The combined total area of the museum is over one hundred and twenty thousand feet and covers three floors. The history of the Tennessee State Museum goes back to 1817, when Ralph E. W. Earl opened a museum in Nashville’s public square. A larger state museum was opened by the General Assembly of Nashville in 1937. Eventually, in 1981, the museum would become housed in its current location at the James K. Polk building. It shares this building with the Tennessee Performing Arts Center.
Other prominent attractions in the city include Ryman Auditorium, The Hermitage, Grand Ole Opry, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, RCA Studio B, Texas Troubadour Theater, Opryland Hotel Gardens, Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum, Belle Meade Plantation, Belmont Mansion, Adventure Science Center, Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, The Parthenon, Opryland Museum, Riverfront Park, Centennial Park, Lotz House, Nashville Zoo, Willie Nelson and Friends Showcase Museum, Nashville Toy Museum, Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Radnor Lake State Park, Cooter’s Garage, B.B. King’s Blues Club, Travellers Rest Plantation and Museum, General Jackson Showboat, Athena Statue, Downtown Antique Mall, Gaylord Entertainment Center and Fort Negley Park.