Sunday, September 15, 2013

When Downtown Nashville Started Booming

As VU Centennial Class returns to campus in the Fall of 2013, downtown Nashville nearby has become the center of what THE NEW YORK TIMES calls the nation's "It City" these days.

Our glittering night life, foodie scene, vibrant businesses and trendy residential developments have truly put Nashville on the map. Compared to 40 years ago when we were in school, well, the picture below tells the story and shows the difference.....

But the seeds of Nashville booming were first planted back when we were students in the early 1970s. Visionary Nashvillians such as former Vanderbilt Board of Trustees Chair Martha Ingram had the audacious idea of creating a Tennesee Performing Arts Center downtown.

That idea first came to life with the redevelopment of the War Memorial Plaza right across from the State Capitol. And things began with a boom when the old Andrew Jackson Hotel was imploded. Implosions were still rather rare events in those days and so it made national news. Climbing into our "way back" machine, courtesy of the Vanderbilt TV News Archives, here's how David Brinkley and NBC Nightly News covered it on June 14, 1971....

The footage of the implosion was so compelling that for several years it was featured as a part of the opening of WSM-TV Channel 4's local news. What took the place of the old Andrew Jackson Hotel has had an ever longer lasting impact on Nashville as TPAC continues to be a cultural center of downtown more than three decades after it opened in 1980.....

TPAC's success is also due in some large part to our classmate (and Reunion Chair) Steven Greil whose leadership of the Center took it to new heights back in the 1990s and early 2000s.

By the way, the other two brief NBC Nightly News stories you watched on the clip above are included for your amusement and to set up a future blog posting on the 18 year old vote. As for the other news clip, if you were the person who sold the guy the oregano or thought the oregano you bought really was pot, it's OK to to fess up now.

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