Nashville was founded in 1779 near the original settlement of Fort Nashborough and was named for Francis Nash, the American Revolutionary War hero. Nashville was always located in a prime location, therefore it grew and prospered rapidly. The city was accessible as a river port and railroad center, creating a reliable economy and a steady rise in population.
Nashville’s position as a shipping port solidified it as an important asset during the early 1860s at the onset of the Civil War. In 1862, the city became the first state capital to succumb to Union troops. In 1864, the Battle of Nashville, one of the most significant Union victories,was fought on Nashville soil.
Luckily, the city recovered quickly after the war. The strong and prosperous economic time Nashville enjoyed created beautiful classical-style buildings that are still in the city today.
Much of Nashville’s history is rooted in music. As early as the 1800s, Nashville was already considered a center for music publishing. The Fisk Jubilee Singers from Nashville’s Fisk University were one of the first well-known musical groups out of the city. The Fisk Jubilee Singers put Nashville on the map as a vital center for music.
In 1897, Nashville was chosen as the location for a huge reunion of Confederate veterans. The event was held at the building that would eventually become the Ryman Auditorium. The Ryman became known as the “Carnegie Hall of the South” for its famous performers like John Phillip Sousa and the Vienna Orchestra. Later, the Ryman would become known as the home of the Grand Ole Opry in downtown.