History and photographs of Nashville's 2nd Avenue entertainment district

Nashville's 2nd Avenue, called Market Street until 1903, was originally a row of warehouses and storefronts 

Nashville's 2nd Avenue National Historic District is now a lively offshoot of the touristy honky tonk strip on nearby Broadway. The street has hosted shops, restaurants, night clubs, galleries, and residences. The famous BB King Blues Club sits on 2nd Avenue.

Most of these buildings were constructed between 1870 and 1890, when the street was still called Market Street. They were originally warehouses and retail shops selling goods transported in from the nearby Cumberland River.

The 2nd Avenue buildings run a block deep, with their backsides forming the historic Front Street row of warehouses (Front Street is now called 1st Avenue). Riverboats would dock and offload goods and produce, which would be received on the Front Street sides of the warehouses, and then retailed from storefronts on the Market Street (2nd Ave.) ends of the buildings.

Imagine what a fascinating and vital part of Nashville it must have been.

Historic map of Nashville, circa 1888, shows the Cumberland River. Front Street warehouses are highlighted.

Historic map of Nashville, circa 1888, shows the Cumberland River. Front Street warehouses are highlighted.

Silver Dollar Saloon

On the corner of Broadway at 2nd is an odd, old, red brick building that's now a gift shop for the Hard Rock Cafe, but was formerly the Silver Dollar Saloon. The Silver Dollar was built in the 1890s and catered to riverboat crews from the nearby Cumberland River dock. The Silver Dollar is interesting enough to deserve its own posting (link highlighted below).


Read my separate history of the Silver Dollar Saloon here.


Black and white photographs of Nashville's 2nd Avenue and riverfront warehouse architecture

2nd Avenue Roofline, Nashville, black and white photograph by Keith Dotson. Click to buy a fine art print.2nd Avenue Roofline, Nashville, black and white photograph by Keith Dotson. Click to buy a fine art print.

Nashville 2nd Avenue Windows, black and white photograph by Keith Dotson. Buy a print here.

Nashville 2nd Avenue Windows, black and white photograph by Keith Dotson. Buy a print here.

Fine art photograph of the ornate 1893 architectural details over the door of the Silver Dollar Saloon. Click here to buy a photograph.

Fine art photograph of the ornate 1893 architectural details over the door of the Silver Dollar Saloon. Click here to buy a photograph.

Nashville Waterfront Antique Painted Signs, shot on 35mm film. Click to buy a print.Nashville Waterfront Antique Painted Signs, shot on 35mm film. Click to buy a print.

Nashville Sign (Waterfront), black and white photograph by Keith Dotson. Buy a print.

Nashville Sign (Waterfront), black and white photograph by Keith Dotson. Buy a print

Source: 

Nashville Downtown Partnership: History and Architecture Tour 

 

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