Guest 5th & Main Urbanite

Save The Cordell Hull and The Ben West

134 posts in this topic

I don't know what is wrong with the architectural rapists in Metro Government or State Government. These rapist thugs will destroy anything just for the thrill kill of destroying more architecture. These mostly white, conservative, suburban, and Evangelical members of Metro and State Government hate cities and anybody that lives in them. They hate Nashville and will do anything to make sure Nashville fails. They think people in the cities are immoral liberals who want to live off the government. They think we hate business, and that all we want to do is spend other peoples money. The Tea Party people are even worse. The fact the government spends any money on anything except weapons for the military angers these far right conservatives, so the way they try to get back at us urbanites is to destroy grand architecture like the Cordull Hull Building and the Ben West Library for the sheer enjoyment of watching the liberal preservationists squirm and suffer.

 

After all these are the same people who allowed the Vauxhall Building and other classics to be destroyed for the sheer enjoyment of it.

 

The real problem is the whole city and state suffer. Some representative from some small insignificant rural town could care less if the street grid around the State Capital is destroyed. They relish the fact they can "get back" at the big city man by destroying architecture just to save a few dollars so they can in turn get their rural tobacco subsidy instead.

 

Granted, I have many conservative friends who are upset this building will be razed as well, but it seems conservatives in general are all for the destruction of civil and public architecture, but they say nothing when privately funded junk architecture is built and left to stand.

 

Would Governor Bill Haslam want one of his Pilot Oil Stations destroyed for a surface parking lot? All these conservatives care about is money, and the hell with the populace or the artisans that built these beautiful structures.

 

I spent part of the day at the Metro 50 Celebration, and the overwhelming topic at Historic Nashville, Metro Archives, and the Tennessee Historic Preservation tent was discussion of the conservative wing of the State Legislature and the conservative Governor who already voted to destroy the Hull. What a sick and narrow minded bunch.

 

These people do not have the bests interests of the city in mind, and now the archive photographers better get their photos of the Hull shot soon before the thugs of the State Legislatures destroy it laughing all the way to the bank because they saved a little money rather than repairing the building. May their God save their souls for this outrage.

 

I hope the smart faction of the conservative movement can see that destroying our past destroys our future,  and we will end up looking like some Southwest boomtown like Phoenix or Tulsa that does not have the turn of the century and WW2 architecture like we have, or used to have.

 

SOMEBODY PLEASE SAVE THE HULL!!!! SOMEBODY PLEASE SAVE THE BEN WEST LIBRARY!!!! Please save them from the murderous thugs in the State Legislature.

 

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Wow!  Way to throw race into it dude... ever get tired of blaming everything on racism?  Your view of conservatism strikes me as totally wrong too.  So let me see if I get this... big government is good, but only when it's run by socialists?  And (somehow) socialists are much more appreciative of old, classic architecture?  Hmmmmm, what a simple view of things, and apparently one oblivious to so many examples in reality.

 

John, oh please John, I wish you would disabuse yourself of the stereotypes of conservatives... after all, conservatives are (on balance) more inclined to use and reuse older buildings in updated form.  Or have you not seen all the new modernist designs that the liberals of Manhattan are putting up in place of beautiful (many demolished now) buildings just for the purpose of housing more ultra-wealthy, liberal (yes, by an overwhelming margin) denizens of the good and righteous socialist state of New York.  OK, so maybe I illustrate absurdity by being absurd... take note.

 

Dude, a true conservative would say that the Hull (or the West library) is an existing building that would need XXX in renovation costs... to be repurposed to a (pick one: State library; archives; African American music center; or any other office space need) makes more sense versus the cost to buy, build and occupy a completely new suburban office complex for twice the cost.  Remember... it was the Bredesen administration that moved so many departments to Metro Center. All I am saying is that you seem to be awfully quick to blame someone of a different political "stripe" than yours. when there may be far more similiarities with those folks (so why obliterate a possible alliance by co-opting stereotypes?).   Out in the "country" suburban Atlanta, where I was raised, we call that narrow minded.  And on a personal, anecdotal level, it's been my experience that my "progressive" friends and acquaintances are much more inclined to go with the new and flashy, especially when a case can be made for LEED certification, and we've seen lately the disfavorable critiques of LEED cost/benefits, right?

 

And just so you know;  I am conservative and I also hope that the Hull can be renovated and serve the state for another 60 (plus!) years. And please, please don't get me started on the stupidity of so many past/present representatives of "the other party".  Okay?  All that urban renewal that has caused so many to lament the destruction of blocks upon blocks of classical and Victorian architecture, well... that was all done by guess who (okay, I'm piling on).  Sorry John, but you opened this can of worms with this most recent rant.  In fact, as a conservative, I would absolutely love it if we could someday (again) see to it that all the functions of state government were completely contained on Capitol Hill (with obvious exceptions like rural extension and DMV centers) .

Edited by MLBrumby
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I no longer live in Nashville, so I certainly can't say anything for sure. I can say, however, that lack of appreciation for historic buildings by no means is limited to grumpy old right-wingers. Here in Orlando, our very progressive mayor, Buddy Dyer, has never met an old building he didn't want to tear down. While Buddy has done a lot of great things for our downtown, he simply does not have the genes for appreciation of things that came before. 

 

I have also found in these forums more than a few posters who are willing to tear down virtually anything if it results in a tall, shiny new building, even if it's cheap, uninspired, and will be an embarrassment to the community the moment that it's completed. For those of us who recognize not only significant architecture and a connection to the soul of the community, we can only make our case over and over again so as not to lose them.

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Right, and more historic, early 20th Century, Greek-revival buildings were destroyed in my hometown of Atlanta under the "progressive" mayors Andrew Young and Maynard Jackson than at any time before, or since then.

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I don't know what is wrong with the architectural rapists in Metro Government or State Government. These rapist thugs will destroy anything just for the thrill kill of destroying more architecture. These mostly white, conservative, suburban, and Evangelical members of Metro and State Government hate cities and anybody that lives in them. They hate Nashville and will do anything to make sure Nashville fails. They think people in the cities are immoral liberals who want to live off the government. They think we hate business, and that all we want to do is spend other peoples money. The Tea Party people are even worse. The fact the government spends any money on anything except weapons for the military angers these far right conservatives, so the way they try to get back at us urbanites is to destroy grand architecture like the Cordull Hull Building and the Ben West Library for the sheer enjoyment of watching the liberal preservationists squirm and suffer.

 

After all these are the same people who allowed the Vauxhall Building and other classics to be destroyed for the sheer enjoyment of it.

 

The real problem is the whole city and state suffer. Some representative from some small insignificant rural town could care less if the street grid around the State Capital is destroyed. They relish the fact they can "get back" at the big city man by destroying architecture just to save a few dollars so they can in turn get their rural tobacco subsidy instead.

 

Granted, I have many conservative friends who are upset this building will be razed as well, but it seems conservatives in general are all for the destruction of civil and public architecture, but they say nothing when privately funded junk architecture is built and left to stand.

 

Would Governor Bill Haslam want one of his Pilot Oil Stations destroyed for a surface parking lot? All these conservatives care about is money, and the hell with the populace or the artisans that built these beautiful structures.

 

I spent part of the day at the Metro 50 Celebration, and the overwhelming topic at Historic Nashville, Metro Archives, and the Tennessee Historic Preservation tent was discussion of the conservative wing of the State Legislature and the conservative Governor who already voted to destroy the Hull. What a sick and narrow minded bunch.

 

These people do not have the bests interests of the city in mind, and now the archive photographers better get their photos of the Hull shot soon before the thugs of the State Legislatures destroy it laughing all the way to the bank because they saved a little money rather than repairing the building. May their God save their souls for this outrage.

 

I hope the smart faction of the conservative movement can see that destroying our past destroys our future, and we will end up looking like some Southwest boomtown like Phoenix or Tulsa that does not have the turn of the century and WW2 architecture like we have, or used to have.

 

SOMEBODY PLEASE SAVE THE HULL!!!! SOMEBODY PLEASE SAVE THE BEN WEST LIBRARY!!!! Please save them from the murderous thugs in the State Legislature.

 

Damn, John ! What are you trying to do ? Get even with me for my prior posts lambasting leftism and its adherents ? I'd respond to this post point by point, but this is caricature stuff, hyperbole, hysterics and apples & oranges. C'mon, man, you're better than this. I am a proud Tea Partier and you know full well how big I am on architectural preservation. As others have pointed out, urban Democrats have demonstrated ample evidence of destruction of historic architecture (look at Chicago where a boyhood home of President Reagan's is being demolished). But Republicans can't even be blamed for anything lost in Nashville on the municipal side of things, as they haven't elected a Mayor since Grover Cleveland's first term (1886). And you can count on one hand how many "Conservatives" are on the Metro Council (nevermind representing the city in the legislature). It wasn't a Republican who allowed the demolition of Democrat President Polk's home downtown.

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Its a bit of a stretch to say conservatives are trying to destroy historic structures.  However, I could see why a conservative would want to demolish a building funded by taxpayers in a liberal district to redirect those funds toward a more conservative district. 

 

 

Wow!  Way to throw race into it dude... ever get tired of blaming everything on racism?  Your view of conservatism strikes me as totally wrong too.  So let me see if I get this... big government is good, but only when it's run by socialists?  And (somehow) socialists are much more appreciative of old, classic architecture?  Hmmmmm, what a simple view of things, and apparently one oblivious to so many examples in reality.

 

John, oh please John, I wish you would disabuse yourself of the stereotypes of conservatives... after all, conservatives are (on balance) more inclined to use and reuse older buildings in updated form.  Or have you not seen all the new modernist designs that the liberals of Manhattan are putting up in place of beautiful (many demolished now) buildings just for the purpose of housing more ultra-wealthy, liberal (yes, by an overwhelming margin) denizens of the good and righteous socialist state of New York.  OK, so maybe I illustrate absurdity by being absurd... take note.

 

As a black man I can certainly say some things simply are race based. I don't think this is one of those cases, and I understand where you're coming from with that comment. 

 

The Manhattan comment is pretty funny though, and I could take it a bit further, but I don't want to get too political here since its against forum rules and I like everyone here.

 

 If the state wanted to demolish these two structures to build a few highrises that would created hundreds of jobs, and bring 400 millionaires to downtown Nashville I would be on board, but this won't be the case;  these properties will become parking lots. 

 

I guess there has to be middle ground to meet in though.  Is it worth chopping the budget by demolishing two historic structures?  If so, there better be a damn good use to those funds that are being saved. 

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MLBrumby, my friend, I was not blaming race specifically, you as an attorney should know how read between the lines a bit further than what is on the surface, but yes our State legislature is made up of mostly older white men. My point, and you should know by now I exaggerate to an extent to make a point, and that fact  is  no one seems to care. Nashville, now known as more of a liberal city, gets very little consideration from conservative representatives from conservative districts. I also realize destruction of classic architecture is  not just a Republican problem, it is a Democratic problem but Democrats are not running the state now are they. Could the Republicans not learn from Democratic mistakes?

 

Everyone here knows I never forgave Tony for taking down the Sudakem Building or Alex Palmer for taking down the Massonic Lodge, but most people simply do not care; and it has been my experience that most people I know who voiced their opinion to me against historic preservation were conservatives.

 

I know one Democratic mistake were the projects that destroyed thousands of classic homes in favor of prison like structures to entomb the poor for generations, but we can only blame current administartions that don't learn from the past.

 

Governors like Haslam have no vested interest here. They could care less if our built fabric is destroyed simply to save a couple of dollars. Instead of finding ways to save structures like the Cordell Hull Building, members of our State Legislature want to spend millions of dollars to make sure one can carry a gun in a park or school, make sure gays cannot marry, and make sure children on public assistance who get poor grades do not get enough food to eat, clothes on their backs, or a roof over their head. These same legislators don't want teachers use the word "gay" in grammar school or middle school, and they spend millions to pass these ridiculous bills, but if Nashville wants to preserve a classic piece of architecture they say, "to hell with it, tear it down." 

 

Again ML, for someone with a Doctor of Jurisprudence, you don't read between the lines very well. Can you just not realize the simple fact I am pissed about this situation and I needed to vent against the legislators I hate? Again, it is not all conservatives I despise, its the social religious neocons that get under my skin for their intolerance and ignorance.

Edited by 5th & Main Urbanite

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"Its a bit of a stretch to say conservatives are trying to destroy historic structures.  However, I could see why a conservative would want to demolish a building funded by taxpayers in a liberal district to redirect those funds toward a more conservative district. "

 

Well said Arkitekte.

Edited by 5th & Main Urbanite

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If this is no more than a political rant, then why is it on the main board?

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.

Edited by BnaBreaker

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If this is no more than a political rant, then why is it on the main board?

You are right. I always let my emotions get the best of me! Mods can delete the thread if they wish. It just pains me to see another classic demolished for another surface parking lot. A lot that Tony and Premier will probably operate! If they replaced these buildings for actual buildings, I may feel differently.

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You are right. I always let my emotions get the best of me! Mods can delete the thread if they wish. It just pains me to see another classic demolished for another surface parking lot. A lot that Tony and Premier will probably operate! If they replaced these buildings for actual buildings, I may feel differently.

I agree with your sentiments...I just think there's not one particular group to blame for this. There are examples all around the US and the world of lack of respect or care for historic, nostalgic, or buildings of any value. Some places more than others.

We're certainly not the worst sinners when it comes to that, but we have destroyed a lot.

And I am with you...I think the state has a curious lack of respect for the built environment. They need more parking, but they do not seem to look at alternative solutions. They want a surface lot, because it's easy.

And I doubt any company will operate the lot. It will just be a marked state lot. And it will likely be empty from 5pm-7am, as well as on weekends.

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John, I'll leave this thread with just a couple of final thoughts on your rant (as you called it).  For some reason I had expected a thread on ways that the Hull and/or West buildings might be saved from demolition through (btw that would be a great topic IMHO).

 

But I need to get one thing off my chest, as you were the first person to bring up race.  As attorneys, we tend to be quite literal and read between lines with a high measure of caution. That said, the true intent of a comment is often lost when written (e.g. without the wink wink and nudge). So while reading between lines is sometimes appropriate when communicating in person, as a lawyer that doesn't help me much when it comes to contract law.

 

I do not know you personally (I think I would enjoy getting up to one of the forum meetings someday), but several good members of this board have mentioned that you are sincere and well-intentioned. I believe them. So in that spirit, I must say your dive head-first into the blame game against conservatives (with its hackneyed broadbrush attribution to racism), is just tiresome. You seem to have forgotten that Metro ("progressive" as you have pointed out) is a party to the deal with the West building. And I know many liberals who would praise the swap for "the good of the children".  So as far as that issue, you haven't made a case.

 

I am a blunt person, especially when someone makes a comment that I may need to read between lines to "fully get". As such, I write and say what I mean without intentionally beating around the bush. I responded with hearty disagreement. Of course, maybe I was ticked that this thread wasn't what I had expected it to be and felt an urge to react when I read the cliche charges of racism (until you have proof that it is in one's heart, you never know).  Yet the ugly charges are thrown around anymore as if they are meaningless. Sadly, my experience is that this happens far more from the left than the right. So sorry, but racism still means a lot to me. 

 

There was one thing I did get "between the lines" (whether correctly or incorrectly) and that was a distinct tone of anger in your post.  And all I will ask at this point is what has your anger gotten us here?  Was it really your intention to save the Hull and West buildings?  Or did you just want to stir up some more of the attacks from the Coffee House against FMDJ?  Something tells me (from what little I know about you) that you were simply venting; but it was the manner you did it that discredited you and what potentially could have been an interesting thread. 

 

You have several folks here who agree with your assessment of the problem (those old white conservatives notwithstanding).  Yet you ignore the ample examples of leftist mismanagement of government property.  You "touche'd" me on the point I made about urban renewal in the 1950s/60s, and frankly we all know that was driven by a very progressive agenda.  For the most part, I have had forebearance on several threads you started recently. I simply didn't think they would be worth reading so I still haven't clicked on them (obviously, I should have left this one alone too).  When I first clicked on this topic, I wanted to hear ideas for saving historical structures, and then I got the usual, unimaginative slur against conservatives that we hear so often, although usually to squelch debate instead of starting one.

 

So John, I'd hope you agree that people need to move past their anger of racism (whatever race they are).  To take our cues from the race baiters in the race industry doesn't help anyone but the race baiters running things.  The anger is poisonous and doesn't require ignoring that the scourge of slavery existed in America (defeated in large part by Christian conservatives btw). So now that my children are of the age (adolescent) where they are exposed to many things my wife and I can no longer shield them from, it hurst us to hear louder and louder voices of anger on this subject. So young children are then introduced to race relations in America today, and  the anger doesn't help slow/stop the cycle of prejudice, racism and bigotry. I would never want my children to hear a slur against their African American aunt and their Asian uncle/aunt and cousins.  However, as long as that anger keeps the race baiters in business, they will hear it all and (God forbid) maybe believe some of those ugly ideas.  My wife and I stand firmly against hate and bigotry (which anger feeds) and that includes our blunt reactions to such ugly, unfair allegations.

 

Now, I hope Smeags leaves this post up long enough for you to read... so then we all can move on.

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Someone mentioned the other day, maybe timmay that we should start an online petition.  It might not do much good, but what can a few minutes for an online signature hurt. 

 

If someone can provide the narrative for the petition, I'll be glad to set it up.

 

Or if someone else wants to jump in and tackle it go ahead. 

Edited by arkitekte

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MLBrumby, I think you do make a lot of good points. John is a good guy. But he's passionate. We don't always agree on the issues (usually the why and how), but we both share a love for the urban built environment...and that's why we're all here. And trust me, John is pretty friendly in person...I just think his passion doesn't always translate well online. This would probably be a civil conversation if it were to be had at a forum meeting.

But to get back to the points you made...let's steer the conversation away from the political banter and work on it from the angle of historic preservation.

I do not think that the Cordell Hull building and the Ben West Library are really unique cultural gems that would be a sort of catastrophic loss to the city that some buildings would be (for instance...I think the Sevier Building and the Metro Courthouse would be much, much greater casualties if they were on the chopping block)....but that does not mean that these two buildings aren't worth saving at all.

I personally like the Hull building for its mid century design. It's a big, massive structure...but not just a square or rectangle. To me, it does have some interesting design components...and it's a building that with a solid investment, could be enhanced quite a bit. I do have a strange attraction to big government office buildings...ones that sort of give the air of power and might. Hull does that well.

As for the Ben West Library...it's not such a massive building...but it is fantastically 60s in design. If we keep razing these buildings left and right, we might find ourselves in a situation where some very distinct architectural periods are lost in our great city...where we just have a mix of very old and very new...nothing in between. Keeping some of these buildings does give us a much greater mix of architecture...and who knows, some day their designs may be prized as unique...especially when more of them meet the wrecking ball. I would hate to look back 20-30 years from now and think "damn, I wish we had kept just a few of those" when all we have left are a few small or less interesting examples from that era. Another 50s-60s design that I know ESU is keen on saving is the Keeble building at the Methodist Publishing House at 8th and Demonbreun.

As citizens of the urban environment, I think we need to encourage our leaders to be much more careful about not only what they let developers touch, but what they government itself touches. It's funny to me that there are plans to rehab a couple of old metal sheds on Charlotte, but there is literally no value placed on these buildings...an example of developers getting things right, while the government takes a step backwards.

As for how these buildings could be utilized, Hull is quite obviously an office building at heart. With the state currently playing musical chairs with its employees, it makes sense to me that Hull, being as large as it is (300,000 sq ft?), would be a good spot to handle a good bulk of state offices. Renovate the thing. It's close to the State Capitol. The concentration of state workers should remain in close proximity to that building.

Sevier (which was not mentioned here) would be ideal for the state museum IMO. I know the state wants to build a new structure next to the Bicentennial Mall...but for those who actually want to go to the state museum, I think being close to the Capitol (where many take tours) would be better. Plus, it would have a similar feel to the Frist, which I think is a great example of adaptive reuse.

The Ben West Library is probably the hardest structure to reuse, because I think the prospects are more limited. I don't see it as an office building...and it might not even be one that should be showcased from the inside...but it could serve as an archives building. Library floors are designed to support a massive amount of weight, so it would be good for that. But also...as this nation puts more importance on electronic records, perhaps it would also be a suitable site for mainframes and servers for the state. Imagine those bookshelves turning into rows of computers.

It is concerning to me that the state seemingly has no regard for the built environment, and they have been, frankly, terrible stewards of the properties which they possess. I don't agree with John's take, exactly, but I can see the gripe that a lot of these politicians and higher level state employees from suburban and rural areas seem to have no regard for the city and its environment. When you have politicians proposing legislation that essentially undermines the city's planning department, it makes you wonder about the disconnect between them and the citizens of the cities.

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^I second that on Ben West being an excellent candidate for an Archives.

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John, I'll leave this thread with just a couple of final thoughts on your rant (as you called it).  For some reason I had expected a thread on ways that the Hull and/or West buildings might be saved from demolition through (btw that would be a great topic IMHO).

 

But I need to get one thing off my chest, as you were the first person to bring up race.  As attorneys, we tend to be quite literal and read between lines with a high measure of caution. That said, the true intent of a comment is often lost when written (e.g. without the wink wink and nudge). So while reading between lines is sometimes appropriate when communicating in person, as a lawyer that doesn't help me much when it comes to contract law.

 

I do not know you personally (I think I would enjoy getting up to one of the forum meetings someday), but several good members of this board have mentioned that you are sincere and well-intentioned. I believe them. So in that spirit, I must say your dive head-first into the blame game against conservatives (with its hackneyed broadbrush attribution to racism), is just tiresome. You seem to have forgotten that Metro ("progressive" as you have pointed out) is a party to the deal with the West building. And I know many liberals who would praise the swap for "the good of the children".  So as far as that issue, you haven't made a case.

 

I am a blunt person, especially when someone makes a comment that I may need to read between lines to "fully get". As such, I write and say what I mean without intentionally beating around the bush. I responded with hearty disagreement. Of course, maybe I was ticked that this thread wasn't what I had expected it to be and felt an urge to react when I read the cliche charges of racism (until you have proof that it is in one's heart, you never know).  Yet the ugly charges are thrown around anymore as if they are meaningless. Sadly, my experience is that this happens far more from the left than the right. So sorry, but racism still means a lot to me. 

 

There was one thing I did get "between the lines" (whether correctly or incorrectly) and that was a distinct tone of anger in your post.  And all I will ask at this point is what has your anger gotten us here?  Was it really your intention to save the Hull and West buildings?  Or did you just want to stir up some more of the attacks from the Coffee House against FMDJ?  Something tells me (from what little I know about you) that you were simply venting; but it was the manner you did it that discredited you and what potentially could have been an interesting thread. 

 

You have several folks here who agree with your assessment of the problem (those old white conservatives notwithstanding).  Yet you ignore the ample examples of leftist mismanagement of government property.  You "touche'd" me on the point I made about urban renewal in the 1950s/60s, and frankly we all know that was driven by a very progressive agenda.  For the most part, I have had forebearance on several threads you started recently. I simply didn't think they would be worth reading so I still haven't clicked on them (obviously, I should have left this one alone too).  When I first clicked on this topic, I wanted to hear ideas for saving historical structures, and then I got the usual, unimaginative slur against conservatives that we hear so often, although usually to squelch debate instead of starting one.

 

So John, I'd hope you agree that people need to move past their anger of racism (whatever race they are).  To take our cues from the race baiters in the race industry doesn't help anyone but the race baiters running things.  The anger is poisonous and doesn't require ignoring that the scourge of slavery existed in America (defeated in large part by Christian conservatives btw). So now that my children are of the age (adolescent) where they are exposed to many things my wife and I can no longer shield them from, it hurst us to hear louder and louder voices of anger on this subject. So young children are then introduced to race relations in America today, and  the anger doesn't help slow/stop the cycle of prejudice, racism and bigotry. I would never want my children to hear a slur against their African American aunt and their Asian uncle/aunt and cousins.  However, as long as that anger keeps the race baiters in business, they will hear it all and (God forbid) maybe believe some of those ugly ideas.  My wife and I stand firmly against hate and bigotry (which anger feeds) and that includes our blunt reactions to such ugly, unfair allegations.

 

Now, I hope Smeags leaves this post up long enough for you to read... so then we all can move on.

 Agree with your post. After all these years, I tend to wear my emotions on my sleeves. I did make a quick judgement and when analyzing the demographic of the State Legislature, it presented it  in a misrepresentative way. I was basically trying to say many in the State Legislature do not have to live with the consequences of their actions. They don't have to live with the large hole that will be left around the State Capitol. They are here 5 months a year and the other 7 months they never show themselves in Nashville. I also believe the Governor has no interest in Nashville either. He is an East Tennessee guy and Knoxville is his home, and I don't think he would be too keen on historic structures being torn down on the UT Campus, or downtown Knoxville.

 

It seems the disregard for Nashville's history is all to common, and many Nashvillian's could not even tell you who Cordell Hull was, nor would they care.

MLBrumby, I think you do make a lot of good points. John is a good guy. But he's passionate. We don't always agree on the issues (usually the why and how), but we both share a love for the urban built environment...and that's why we're all here. And trust me, John is pretty friendly in person...I just think his passion doesn't always translate well online. This would probably be a civil conversation if it were to be had at a forum meeting.

But to get back to the points you made...let's steer the conversation away from the political banter and work on it from the angle of historic preservation.

I do not think that the Cordell Hull building and the Ben West Library are really unique cultural gems that would be a sort of catastrophic loss to the city that some buildings would be (for instance...I think the Sevier Building and the Metro Courthouse would be much, much greater casualties if they were on the chopping block)....but that does not mean that these two buildings aren't worth saving at all.

I personally like the Hull building for its mid century design. It's a big, massive structure...but not just a square or rectangle. To me, it does have some interesting design components...and it's a building that with a solid investment, could be enhanced quite a bit. I do have a strange attraction to big government office buildings...ones that sort of give the air of power and might. Hull does that well.

As for the Ben West Library...it's not such a massive building...but it is fantastically 60s in design. If we keep razing these buildings left and right, we might find ourselves in a situation where some very distinct architectural periods are lost in our great city...where we just have a mix of very old and very new...nothing in between. Keeping some of these buildings does give us a much greater mix of architecture...and who knows, some day their designs may be prized as unique...especially when more of them meet the wrecking ball. I would hate to look back 20-30 years from now and think "damn, I wish we had kept just a few of those" when all we have left are a few small or less interesting examples from that era. Another 50s-60s design that I know ESU is keen on saving is the Keeble building at the Methodist Publishing House at 8th and Demonbreun.

As citizens of the urban environment, I think we need to encourage our leaders to be much more careful about not only what they let developers touch, but what they government itself touches. It's funny to me that there are plans to rehab a couple of old metal sheds on Charlotte, but there is literally no value placed on these buildings...an example of developers getting things right, while the government takes a step backwards.

As for how these buildings could be utilized, Hull is quite obviously an office building at heart. With the state currently playing musical chairs with its employees, it makes sense to me that Hull, being as large as it is (300,000 sq ft?), would be a good spot to handle a good bulk of state offices. Renovate the thing. It's close to the State Capitol. The concentration of state workers should remain in close proximity to that building.

Sevier (which was not mentioned here) would be ideal for the state museum IMO. I know the state wants to build a new structure next to the Bicentennial Mall...but for those who actually want to go to the state museum, I think being close to the Capitol (where many take tours) would be better. Plus, it would have a similar feel to the Frist, which I think is a great example of adaptive reuse.

The Ben West Library is probably the hardest structure to reuse, because I think the prospects are more limited. I don't see it as an office building...and it might not even be one that should be showcased from the inside...but it could serve as an archives building. Library floors are designed to support a massive amount of weight, so it would be good for that. But also...as this nation puts more importance on electronic records, perhaps it would also be a suitable site for mainframes and servers for the state. Imagine those bookshelves turning into rows of computers.

It is concerning to me that the state seemingly has no regard for the built environment, and they have been, frankly, terrible stewards of the properties which they possess. I don't agree with John's take, exactly, but I can see the gripe that a lot of these politicians and higher level state employees from suburban and rural areas seem to have no regard for the city and its environment. When you have politicians proposing legislation that essentially undermines the city's planning department, it makes you wonder about the disconnect between them and the citizens of the cities.

I agree, and thanks for the kind words.

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Ok, people, it's not too bad, and I am glad we can have discussions like this without it getting out of hand, buuutt let's reel it back a bit and refrain from specific political posts.

 

As far as the petition goes, I will check with Historic Nashville Inc. to see if they haven't already started one or can word a statement to get the petition going.  I too can easily set it up.  I would try to write a statement, but it would be better if someone with great (or better than mine!) writing skills and familiarity with the buildings and details could take a stab at it.

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The Governor's budget passed both the House and Senate today.  Earlier it included $$ for the demolition of Cordell Hull, and since there has been no reaction to that proposal in the Legislature, I assume that $$ has now been allocated.  Most state offices in CH have been told when and where they will relocate - generally by the end of this calendar year.

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The Governor's budget passed both the House and Senate today.  Earlier it included $$ for the demolition of Cordell Hull, and since there has been no reaction to that proposal in the Legislature, I assume that $$ has now been allocated.  Most state offices in CH have been told when and where they will relocate - generally by the end of this calendar year.

If I had the talent for drawing political cartoons....the Capitol building surrounded by a sea of parking lots would seem apt.

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To follow up on my last, I'm told that the actual demolition would have to first be approved by the State Building Commission and that this has not been placed upon the Commission's agenda as of yet.  Movement of agencies from Cordell Hull, however, does not require Commission approval.

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http://www.tennessean.com/article/20130430/OPINION03/304300038/2071

 

 

Kudos to the writers* of this piece and to the Tennessean for publishing.  I urge some of you locals to contact the people mentioned to see what can be done. 

 

Here's the final paragraph:  "A growing city replaces its voids with new buildings. Conversely, it does not destroy architectural assets to create more voids."

 

*David Koellein is an urban planner, professor of urban design, and resident of the Germantown neighborhood of Nashville. Kate Monaghan is the former executive director and a founding board member of the Nashville Civic Design Center.

Edited by MLBrumby
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Nice article; hope that those that matter read it.

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As I have said before, I don't have any inside information, but I hear, third-hand, that the wheels may be coming off the "close the Hull and save the State money" idea. Seems that those with clout within State government, but with no investment in the Hull closing scheme have finally begun to ask some hard questions, and they haven't been happy with the answers given. It is way too early to be hopeful, but this is the first glimmer of good news that I've heard on what appeared to be a foregone conclusion.

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