NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The National Trust for Historic Preservation announced Thursday Nashville’s Music Row was named to its 2019 list of America’s 11 most endangered historic places.
The group’s annual list spotlights examples of the country’s architectural and cultural heritage at risk of destruction or irreparable damage.
Despite its critical role in the identity, economy, and culture of the city and Nashville’s international reputation as Music City for more than 60 years, vital pieces of Music Row’s historic fabric are being lost to growing pressure from Nashville’s rapid pace of development, according to a release.
By naming Music Row to its 11 Most Endangered list, the National Trust hopes its concern over the non-music industry related development on Music Row in recent years will help signal protection is needed.
“Music Row is exactly the kind of cultural district that many other cities have been trying to create,” said Katherine Malone-France, interim chief preservation officer of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “The sweeping arc of the past and present of the music industry can be felt in Nashville’s modest late-19th century bungalows and small-scale commercial buildings that have inspired and incubated the creation of music for generations. If demolitions and zoning exemptions continue, this one-of-a-kind musical ecosystem will be lost forever.”
The National Trust for Historic Preservation claims since 2013, there have been 50 demolitions on Music Row—many of which have pushed out small, independently owned music businesses within low-rise historic buildings—to make room for new high-rise luxury apartments and offices that have no provisions or set-asides to serve the music industry.
“This designation is the happiest we’ve ever been receiving bad news,” said Elizabeth Elkins, vice president of the board of Historic Nashville, Inc. “We are glad that the rapid rate of destruction of Music Row will now be in the national spotlight, as the zoning and ongoing demolitions strike at the heart of our greatest fear, which is the unabated loss of the compelling spaces that are the backbone of what makes Music City both an internationally-known destination and a unique place to live and work.”
The National Trust and its partner Historic Nashville, Inc. is urging the public to join them in asking the Metro Planning Department and Metro Nashville’s elected officials to make key changes to the draft Music Row Vision Plan and to enact the creation of new preservation tools.
“With the loss of so many historic resources since Music Row’s designation as a National Treasure in 2015, it’s critical that the city coalesces plans to protect this neighborhood—which is internationally renowned for its contribution to music culture—and keeps it viable for the creative class that built our music industry,” said Tim Walker, executive director of the Metro Nashville Historical Commission.