Historic Markers Across Tennessee

An Urban Greenway

Marker ID:  
Location: 1st Ave Nashville, TN
County: Davidson
Coordinates: N 36° 10.229    W 086° 46.728
  36.17048333    -86.7788
Waymark: None


An Urban Greenway
Along Nashville's Historic

—Downtown Riverfront —

Side 1
From prehistory to the present, the Cumberland River has shaped our city. By the early 1800's, the town of Nashville was thriving because of its proximity to this natural water highway.
Goods such as flour, tobacco, pork and iron were regularly floated down river to New Orleans on keelboats and barges.
Commerce increased exponentially after 1814 as steam technology allowed river travel to move upstream and down.
This vital connectivity of commerce expanded still further as
railroads were introduced to deliver products to a wider array of
"inland" destinations.''
The three inset images to the right are from early Nashville
map dating back toy 1908. The bottom map shows a large
riverfront wharf where delivered to and from
Nashville's downtown along Front Street (now First Avenue).
The middle and top sections of the map show the buildings that once lined the river bluff. As you travel along the Downtown
Connector trail, remnants of historic buildings and old railroad
corridors can still be seen.

Still central to Nashville's character, and now being
rediscovered for its environmental and recreational values, the Cumberland River travel fifty-seven miles through Davidson
County. Along its path the river links commerce, industry, agriculture and nature while maintaining its connecting between
the past and the present.
Side 2
This greenway trail is a short segment in a growing
network of multi-use trails and linear parks throughout
the city. This segment, the Downtown Connector, is
unique in its historical context and urban character.

The city of Nashville was born on these riverbanks.
The bluff location offered early settlers protection from
enemies, and the river itself provided water for
survival and corridor for transportation. As the city
developed through the nineteenth and twenieth
centuries, many brick and stone buildings were
constructed along Front Street (now First Avenue)
and backed up to the bluff's edge. Brick inlays
along the trail from the "footprint" of some of these
now-gone structures.

During the 1970's, the bluff was transformed by the development of Riverfront Park and the Gay Street
Connector. From here at historic Fort Nashboro, the
Downtown Connector leads northwestward along the
west bank of the Cumberland connecting many
nearby point of interest including the Timothy
Demonbreum statue, the historic Woodland Street
Bridge, the Cherokee Nation Trail of Tears, and an
historic train trestle. The trail then turns inland and
leads to the French Lick Greenway, Tennessee
Bicentennial Mall and Farmers Market.

Help Protect the Park
Please Follow These Rules

This is a Multi-Purpose Trail
• keep to the right, pass to the left
• keep pets on a leash not exceeding six feet
• put litter in its place

Cyclists Have Special Responsibilities
• keep speed moderate and maintain control
• pass on the left and give audible signals
• yield to pedestrians

Drugs and Alcohol are prohibited
Motorized vehicles are prohibited

Safety is our highest priority
• exercise caution at street crossings
• enjoy the greenway with a friend
• leave valuables at home
• take your car keys with you

Public Square, 1935
Tennessee State Library Archives

Typical Downtown Street, 1880
Tennessee State Library Archives

The Nashville Wharf, 1890s
Tennessee State Library Archives

Public Square, 1935
Tennessee State Library Archives

Erected by Metro Davidson County Board of Parks and Recreation.

Pictures of this marker can be found on HMDB.org