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Historical Markers - Religious Sites

Assumption Church

Nashville’s second oldest Catholic church, dedicated Aug. 14, 1859, its rectory on right was added in 1874, school on left in 1879. The present altar, windows, and steeple were added later. The Germantown neighborhood grew around it; sermons were often in German until World War I. The parish has produced many nuns and priests including Archbishop John Floersh and Cardinal Stritch.

Location: 1227 7th Avenue No.

Erected: 1981

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Black Churches of Capitol Hill

1. First Baptist Church, Capitol Hill (1848) 2. Gay Street Christian Church (1859) 3. Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church (1887) 4. St. Andrews Presbyterian Church (1898) 5. St. John A.M.E. Church (1863) 6. Spruce Street Baptist Church (1848). These six churches stood within 1/6 mile of this marker.

These six Black churches stood in the center of Nashville’s prosperous Black business district before the Capitol Hill Redevelopment Program. Several began before the Civil War as “missions” or Sunday School classes of earlier white churches. All boasted memberships of over 1,000 by 1910 and claimed the city’s most prominent Black business and professional families. All but one moved in the 1950s, and all continue to serve the Nashville community.

Location: James Robertson Parkway and Charlotte Pike

Erected: 1987

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Cane Ridge Cumberland Presbyterian Church

Cane Ridge Cumberland Presbyterian Church, built in 1859, replaced a log building which occupied land donated by Edwin Austin & Thomas Boaz in 1826. One of the best known pastors was Hugh Bone Hill, who also preached at the Jerusalem Church in Rutherford County. Isaac Johnson, a Revolutionary War soldier, died 1839 and is buried in the church cemetery.

Location: Antioch, 13411 Old Hickory Boulevard

Erected: 1982

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Christ Church Cathedral

Organized in 1829, Christ Church was Nashville’s first Episcopal parish. The present Victorian Gothic church, designed by Francis Hatch Kimball of New York, opened for services on Dec. 16, 1894; the tower, by local architect Russell E. Hart., was added in 1947. Designated the Cathedral for the diocese of Tennessee at the 1995 Diocesan Convention.

Location: 900 Broadway

Erected: 1995

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Disciples of Christ Historical Society

Library and archives of the 19th c. American religious unity movement which became: the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); Christian Churches; and Churches of Christ. Located here, 1958, in the Thomas W. Phillips Memorial. Architects: Hoffman & Crumpton; Hart, Freeland & Roberts. Sculptor: Puryear Mims. Stained glass artist: Gus Baker.

Location: 1101 19th Avenue So.

Erected: 1980

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First Baptist Church

Organized in 1820, this is the church’s third downtown location. The elaborate Gothic tower is all that remains of the Matthews & Thompson building that stood at this location from 1886 to 1967. The Baptist Sunday School Board, now one of the world’s largest publishers of religious materials, was organized here in 1891. Edwin Keeble Associates designed the new building, which opened in 1970.

Donated by First Baptist Church

Location: First Baptist Church, 108 Seventh Ave. South

Erected: 2007

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First Baptist Church East Nashville

Founded in 1866 under the direction of Rev. Randall B. Vandavall, First Baptist Church East Nashville built. This Classical Revival building between 1928 and 1931, during the height of Rev. W.S. Ellington’s career. Nashville artist Francis Euphemia Thompson painted the distinctive baptistry murals in the 1950s and 1960s. At that time the church served as a frequent meeting place for the African-American community during the Civil Rights Movement.

Donated by FBC East Nashville

Location: 601 Main Street

Erected: 2007

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Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

This building, renowned for its pure Gothic architecture and harmony of proportions, was designed by Wills & Dudley, of New York, in a style suggesting an English village church. The cornerstone was laid May 7, 1852, by Bishop James Otey. The church was used as a powder magazine by the Union Army for several months during the Civil War.

Location: 615 6th Avenue S.

Erected: 1968

Note: The exact date in May 1852 of the laying of the cornerstone is still disputed. Three dates are possible May 6, May 7, and May 29.

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Mill Creek Baptist Church and Graveyard

Mill Creek Baptist Church, mother church of Southern Baptists in Davidson County, occupied two meeting houses at this site from 1797 until the early 20th century. Here, in 1833, Baptists formed the first Tennessee Baptist Convention. The church’s graveyard includes the graves of many early settlers of both African and European descent.

Location: Glenrose Avenue at Dodge Drive

Erected: 1995

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St. Patrick Catholic Church

Erected in 1890 and named for Ireland’s patron saint, this Second Empire style church was built to serve South Nashville’s growing Irish Catholic population. Until 1954, the Sisters of Mercy taught a grade school here. Since the 1890s, the Irish Travelers, a unique clan of American nomads, have come here periodically for weddings and funerals.

Location: 1219 Second Avenue South

Erected: 1993

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Vine Street Temple

Nashville’s Jewish community began in the 1840s. Many early families were immigrants fleeing oppression in Germany, Russia, and Poland. Completed in 1876, the Vine Street Temple, with nine Byzantine domes was Nashville’s first synagogue, for 80 years a symbol of the city’s strong Jewish presence. In 1955, the Reform congregation moved to West Nashville where it and other Jewish congregations continue today.

Location: Commerce Street and 7th Avenue No.

Erected: 1990

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