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Our History - 1900-1949

Timeline of Nashville / Davidson County

Prepared with information from the website of the Nashville Public Library and from research conducted at the Metropolitan Archives of Nashville and Davidson County.

Special thanks to members of the staff and management of the Metro Archives for their professionalism in helping to gather this information.

Year Events and Milestones
1900 Union Station opens.
1902 Centennial Park is acquired by the city, marking the beginning of Nashville’s public parks system.
1902 The National Life Insurance company is founded in Nashville.
1903 The Arcade opens downtown.
1903 Thomas E. Cartwright is Sheriff of Davidson County.
1904 Nashville’s first skyscraper is constructed at the southeast corner of 4th Avenue North and Church Street.
1904 Some of downtown’s street names are changed to numbers.
1904 The city’s first Carnegie Library opens at the corner of 8th Avenue North and Union Street.
1904 The One-Cent Savings Bank, later known as Citizens’ Bank, opens.
1905 The black community institutes a streetcar boycott to protest a new law requiring separation of the races on electric streetcars.
1905 The Davidson County Sheriff’s Office has 14 Deputies, one Jailer, and one Turnkey, all of whom are listed by name in the City Directory.
1907 Charles D. Johns is Sheriff of Davidson County.
1907 Tony Sudekum opens the first movie theater in town, The Dixie, on 5th Avenue North by the Arcade.
1908 Ex-Senator and Prohibition leader Edward Ward Carmack is shot by his political adversaries on 7th Avenue North near Union Street.
1909 Samuel H. Borum is Sheriff of Davidson County.
1909 Statewide prohibition is passed over the Governor’s veto.
1909 The school that began as Davidson Academy (then Cumberland College, then University of Nashville, then Peabody Normal College) becomes the George Peabody College for Teachers.
1910 The Hermitage Hotel opens in downtown Nashville.
1910 The world’s first night airplane flight takes off from Cumberland Park in Nashville.
1911 A Model-T Ford climbs the steps of the Capitol building to prove that automobiles could replace horses.
1912 Goo-Goo candy bars are concocted.
1912 The 8th Avenue reservoir ruptures, flooding the nearby south Nashville area.
1912 The Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State Normal School, later re-named Tennessee State University, opens.
1913 C. W. Longhurst is Sheriff of Davidson County.
1914 The National American Woman Suffrage Association meets in Nashville.
1915 O. L. Grimes is Sheriff of Davidson County.
1916 East Nashville is devastated by fire.
1917 The Nashville City Directory now shows two additional positions at the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office — Assistant Jailer and Jail Physician.
1917 World War I begins.
1917 Joe W. Wright is Sheriff of Davidson County.
1918 The community of Old Hickory and a powder plant are built by Dupont in Davidson County.
1918 James R. Allen is Acting Sheriff of Davidson County.
1919 The 18th Amendment (prohibition) is ratified.
1919 World War I ends.
1920 R. L. Camp is Sheriff of Davidson County.
1920 Tennessee becomes the 36th, and deciding, state to vote for ratification of the 19th Amendment (women’s suffrage).
1922 The Nashville City Directory ceases listing Sheriff’s Office employees by name.
1925 The Grand Ol’ Opry begins.
1926 Bob Briley is Sheriff of Davidson County. The Davidson County Jail is located at 427 2nd Avenue North.
1927 The Nashville City Directory boasts that Nashville has “over 750 miles of splendidly built highways” and that “the Vanderbilt Stadium seats 22,000 people and is the largest athletic field in the South.”
1927 Percy Warner Park, Tennessee’s largest municipal park is established in southwest Davidson County.
1927 The War Memorial Building is constructed near the Capitol Building to expand state office space.
1928 The Davidson County Jail now publishes its phone number as “6-6831″.
1929 Gus S. Kiger is Sheriff of Davidson County.
1929 The Great Depression begins when the stock market crashes on “Black Tuesday”.
1930 The Davidson County Workhouse is in operation on Hyde’s Ferry Road, “5 miles west” of town.
1930 Sam Shryer is Sheriff of Davidson County.
1933 A tornado wreaks havoc in east Nashville.
1933 President Franklin D. Roosevelt announces “The New Deal”.
1934 Lawrence A. Bauman is Sheriff of Davidson County.
1937 American Airlines lands its first plane at Nashville’s new airport.
1937 Nashvillian William Edmondson becomes the first black American to be given a one-man show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
1937 The present Davidson County Courthouse is completed and opened.
1938 F. A. (“Pete”) Carter is Sheriff of Davidson County.
1938 The Nashville Housing Authority is created.
1939 Ivey Young is Sheriff of Davidson County.
1940 Bob Marshall is Sheriff of Davidson County.
1941 Buses replace the electric streetcars.
1941 The first Iroquois Steeplechase is run.
1941 The U.S. Census Bureau’s 140 figures show Davidson County’s population as 257,267 of which 241,931 (94%) live within Nashville’s city limits.
1941 World War II begins.
1942 Claude A. Briley is Sheriff of Davidson County.
1943 Cornelia Fort of Nashville becomes the first female pilot to die on war duty in American history.
1943 The Grand Ol’ Opry moves into the Ryman Auditorium.
1945 Three engineers at radio station WSM open “Castle Studio”, the first recording studio in Nashville, in the Tulane Hotel.
1945 World War II ends.
1947 Garner Robinson is Sheriff of Davidson County.
1949 The Capitol Hill Redevelopment Project is approved as the nation’s first urban renewal project.