Nashville is known as Music City, and while it’s a well-deserved moniker, that’s not the only thing we can hang our cowboy hats on. The city has a much more diverse and storied history than even many locals realize. And if you’re planning a visit, learning some fun facts about Nashville ahead of time can enrich your experience.
Our Favorite Fun Facts About Nashville
- Nashville was named after Francis Nash, who was one of the few Patriot generals killed during the American Revolution.
- Rachel Donelson, the daughter of one of the city’s founders, John Donelson, moved to Fort Nashborough with her family at age 12. She would later marry Andrew Jackson, who became the seventh president of the United States.
- Known as the “Athens of the South” in the 1890s, the city of Nashville built a full-size replica of the Parthenon for the World Exposition of 1897. It’s located in Centennial Park and houses a full-scale replica of the 42-foot- tall statue of Athena.
- While Kentucky is more well known for horse racing, two well-known thoroughbreds, War Admiral and Seabiscuit hail from Nashville’s Belle Meade Plantation. Both steeds trace their lineage to Iroquois, the first thoroughbred to win the English Derby.
- In 1941, the original WSM became the first commercial radio station in the United States to receive an FM license. David Cobb, a WSM radio announcer in the 1950s, is credited with calling Nashville “Music City” for the first time.
- In 1912, the Standard Candy Company in Nashville came out with the Goo Goo Cluster, a candy bar filled with peanuts, marshmallow nougat, and caramel. It was the first candy bar to combine more than two ingredients.
- Elvis Presley recorded more than 200 songs in the historic RCA Studio B. While recording a Christmas album in July one year, he is said to have had difficulty getting into the holiday spirit. To help, the sound crew put up a string of blue, green, and red-colored lights that are still hanging in the recording booth today.
- The tallest skyscraper in Tennessee, the 33-story AT&T Building, is known as the “Batman Building” because its facade resembles the shape of the action hero’s mask.
- Known initially as WSM Barn Dance, Nashville’s famous weekly country music show was renamed Grand Ole Opry by George Hay on December 10, 1927. It is the world’s longest-running live music radio show.
- The “Mother Church of Country Music,” Ryman Auditorium, was originally a tabernacle for gospel meetings. A six-foot oak circle removed from the stage at the Ryman was embedded center stage at the Grand Ole Opry House when it was built in 1974.
- Hot chicken, one of Nashville’s best-known staples, was created when Thornton Prince’s girlfriend suspected him of cavorting with other women in the 1930s. She added extra seasonings to the chicken batter to get back at him, but he liked the fiery flavor so much that he refined her recipe and opened a restaurant that became known as Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack.
- Oprah Winfrey got her television start as the first African-American female news anchor at Nashville’s WLAC-TV while she was still a student at Tennessee State University.
- East Nashville’s historic Five Points District hosts an annual parade and festival dedicated to the tomato, one of the city’s premier events. The event includes fun-themed art, local music, delicious food, costumes, wacky contests, shopping, kid’s activities, and more.
- Since its founding in 1949, United Records Pressing has produced recordings for legendary performers, and it is one of only four companies in the nation still producing vinyl records.
- During Prohibition, print shops along Printer’s Alley ran a collection of bars that became the city’s not-so-secret underground bar scene. After Prohibition was repealed, many bars stayed open, and several are still in business today.
- From February through May 1960, African-American college students staged a series of sit-ins at stores and restaurants in downtown Nashville. Although these weren’t the first nonviolent protests, they were some of the most successful, leading to Nashville becoming the first Southern city to desegregate public establishments.
Fun Facts About Nashville Accommodations
While there are more hotels in Nashville than you can count, they tend to book up far in advance and can be pricey, certainly for the amount of space in your room. Instead, here’s a fun fact: there are 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom, and 3-bedroom accommodation options in downtown Nashville that offer an affordable price with unmatched luxury and comfort at Music City Lofts. Each of our unique lofts pays homage to top country musicians with works from our favorite local designers and artisans to immerse you in local culture further. And by booking directly with us, there are no third-party or OTA booking fees, so you’ll always get the best deal.