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Nashville's waterfront - history and present

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Thanks to Pride @ SSP for the pic links. :)

Nashville Riverfront Late 1800's


Nashville Wharf (1902)


Subchasers Being Built By The Nashville Bridge Company For WWII (1942)


The Launching Of A Barge Built By The Nashville Bridge Company (1942)


Nearly a million cars, trucks and buses rumble across Woodland St. Bridge, patriarch of Nashville's Cumberland River crossings, each month. The lengthy span was completed in 1886.


Derrick boat crew begin work on piers and cofferdams for the new Victory Memorial bridge which will link east Nashville's Main St. with the northeast corner of the Public Square at the site of the burned-out Kornman building. (1951)


The Victory Memorial bridge, with pouring of the asphalt pavement the only major construction still undone, stretches across the Cumberland River from the Public Square to Main Street. (1956)


Nashville Barge Terminal On 1st Ave. and Broadway (1958)


Raul Garcia, Mexican high driver at the Tennessee State Fair, plunges from the Victory Memorial Bridge into the Cumberland River. (1958)


Masses of steel beams lie stockpiled at the Nashville Bridge Company, ready for continued construction. Steel production has been cut off by a nationwide strike. Industries all over the Nashville area have been stockpiling steel since last December. (1959)


The Shelby Street Bridge is still barricaded with heavy equipment as construction workers continue the job of renovating the structure. The work was supposed to be completed by the second week in December, but the bridge is still closed. (1960)


A giant petroleum barge, the largest ever built in Nashville, plows up a wall of water as it splashes into the Cumberland River. Its builder is Nashville Bridge Co. (1963)


With cameras flashing and champagne flying in a white spray of foam, Harriet Ann Baskerville christens Harriet Ann, the largest towboat ever built by Nashville Bridge Co. It was named for her by her father, Walter G. Baskerville Sr., owner of the 198-foot boat. (1966)


Participants in a seminar, "Focus: Nashville Waterfront," stand on a river barge which took them for a short trip on the Cumberland River. (1976)


The Ozburn-Hessey Terminal Building


A tank barge recently manufactured by Nashville Bridge Co. floats in the Cumberland River while awaiting the finishing touches before the barge is hauled off by its owner. Nashville Bridge Co. produced 30 tank barges last year and 153 dry-cargo "hopper" barges. (1981)


Metro's Riverfront Park is starting to take shape as construction workers take advantage of fair weather and warmer temperatures to build the multi-level concrete walkway leading to a boat dock on the Cumberland River. (1983)


Mike Smith, wearing a welder's mask, and David Rains, employees of Stansell Electric Co., weld a top to a flag standard that will fly the park's special flag at Riverfront Park at Lower Broadway. (1983)


Eli Smith, an employee of Hardaway Construction, takes a lunch break from construction work on Phase II of Riverfront Park, as the Music City Queen riverboat glides by. (1983)


High water covers up a good portion of Riverfront Park. (1989)


Chris Wayne Tuck, left, and Kirk Evans takes advantage of a warm day to do some fishing near the Victory Memorial Bridge. (1990)


Nancy Dickey eats her lunch during a trip to Riverfront Park. (1991)


Riverfront Park viewed from the Shelby Street bridge with the barge construction in the foreground. (1992)


William Mangrum, burner, works on a barge at Nashville Bridge Company. (1992)


A man on top of the Shelby Street Bridge, right-hand corner, is threatening to jump as divers await in the river below in a rescue boat. (1995)


Riverfront today:



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That is a neat article of the history of Nashville. I always love to walk along Riverfront Park. Now the Titan's stadium is on the other side of the river where the barge company used to be.

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That night shot is amazing! I'm in Nashville (from Columbia, SC) this weekend for a conference. It's in Brentwood, actually, but I can't wait to get downtown and check things out. It's been a few years. Good stuff!!

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Yeah, that is definately a great night shot of Nashville! This is an interesting post too0 you dont generqally htink of water at all when you think about Nashville.

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It's amazing how much of the old I do remember.

Lakelander, here's an article I found. It's a bit dated, but explains the relocation of the company to nearby Ashland City, a few miles west of Nashville on the Cumberland. You might find the Flordia connection interesting.


Arthur J. Dyer, an 1891 graduate of the Vanderbilt Engineering School, founded the Nashville Bridge Company, the state's most productive and important bridge building firm. Dyer worked for a variety of bridge companies over in the 1890s before he borrowed $750 and entered a partnership with H. T. Sinnot in a bridge company known as the H. T. Sinnot Company. The firm reorganized in 1902, when Dyer purchased Sinnot's interest and renamed the firm the Nashville Bridge and Construction Company. In late 1903 or 1904 the firm underwent a second reorganization and became known as the Nashville Bridge Company. The firm built its headquarters in downtown Nashville on the banks of the Cumberland River, where a large complex containing a six-story office building remains. It also maintained a Latin-American branch office in Colombia.

The commissions of Nashville Bridge Company came from throughout the southeastern United States as well as many Central and South American countries. The firm was recognized for its work in movable bridges and built several along the Gulf Coast. The company claimed to have built over half of all the bascule bridges in Florida.

As a result of federal legislation passed in 1916, the bridge building industry changed and standardized bridge plans. While independent bridge companies continued to design and build bridges for cities and counties, their work on state projects was generally limited to providing steel or construction activities.

In 1915 the Nashville Bridge Company built a small floating derrick hull for the Army Corps of Engineers, which marked the beginning of its shift from bridge construction to the marine field. The company expanded by building a new plant in 1922-23 at Bessemer, Alabama. In the late 1920s Dyer's son Harry took over operations of the firm's Marine Department. His crews built barges on a production line basis and launched them from pivoted arms, a technique never used before. This new method proved very successful, and the company's barge business expanded substantially. Although the Great Depression resulted in bankruptcy and closure of innumerable bridge companies across the country, the Nashville Bridge Company's anomalous survival was due, in large part, to its diversified interests in marine production. In the early 1940s the U.S. Navy hired the firm to manufacture dozens of vessels, and the company expanded its Nashville complex.

Over the years, the Nashville Bridge Company decreased its bridge building and expanded its Marine Department. By the 1960s it had become the world's largest builder of inland barges. In 1969 the Dyer family sold the company, and there have been several subsequent owners. In 1972 the firm sold its bridge and structural building operations. Although Trinity Marine of Dallas is the current owner, it is still known locally as the Nashville Bridge Company. The company relocated to Ashland City when the city chose its downtown location as the site for Nashville's Adelphia Stadium. Demolition of most of the complex occurred in 1997, although one of the buildings will be preserved as part of the Shelby Street Bridge pedestrian walkway, scheduled for opening in 2001.

Martha Carver, Tennessee Department of Transportation

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That night shot is amazing! I'm in Nashville (from Columbia, SC) this weekend for a conference. It's in Brentwood, actually, but I can't wait to get downtown and check things out. It's been a few years. Good stuff!!


Well, don't try to get to the top of any of the skyscrapers. My dad and I tried, and we weren't allowed to go to the top of Bellsouth, L&C, or Financial Center, and we were informed that none of the other towers were allowing trips to the top. However, you can almost achieve the same effect by riding the Renaissance Hotel's elevators to the top floor. They're glass, and they're exposed on the outside of the building. It's really quite a view. Also, there's a little room on one of the higher floors in the Sheraton Hotel that has a window that sports a nice view. I don't know if you'll be able to get into that room, though. And don't even try to get into the restaurant on top. It's only for business luncheons and the like.

At least they're all fun to look at.

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