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Nashville Arcade

Historic Sites, Monuments, Landmarks, and Public Art (National Register of Historic Places)

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The Nashville Arcade was constructed from 1902-1903 in what was then Overton Alley by businessman Daniel C. Buntin, who was inspired by the Italian Galleria Vittoria Emanuele II Arcade in Milan. The Arcade, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, was designed by local firm Thompson, Gibel, and Asmus. Today, the Arcade is still home to many retail shops, as well as restaurants, offices, and art galleries [1]. Two organizations of artists and supporters of art are based here: Art at the Arcade and The Coop. The Arcade also participates in Nashville's First Saturday Art Crawl [1; 3].

The Nashville Arcade (image from Wikimedia)
View from second story (image from Nashville Design History)
The same view in 1972 (image from the National Register of Historic Places)
Exterior in 1972 (image from the National Register of Historic Places)
1907 [?] postcard (image from The Arcade Nashville)

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History and Art at the Arcade

Daniel Carter Buntin returned from a trip to Italy inspired by the Galleria Arcade in Milan and began a corporation to build Nashville's first covered shopping center in a similar style in 1902. Constructed in what was then known as Overton Alley between 4th and 5th Avenues, the two-story, open-ended Arcade was designed by Nashville architectural firm Thompson, Gibel, and Asmus. It was built in less than a year by Edgefield and Nashville Construction Company [1; 2]. The steel bracing for the gabled glass roof was installed by the Nashville Bridge Company [1]. The second floor features a wrap-around balcony with decorative iron grillwork [2]. When the Greek Revival style building held its grand opening in 1903, over 40,000 people attended (roughly one-third of the county's population at the time) [1]. Captain T. M. Steger served as the Arcade's first President, and some of the original shops included The Ocean, Patterson's Novelty Shop, Blue Seal Bakery, and Bland's Fruit Stand [2]. The Walgreens drugstore at the Arcade was part of the 1960 Nashville Civil Rights sit-in protest [1]. It has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1972.

Today, the Arcade can house up to fifty tenants, thanks to the purchase of surrounding properties for expansion. The first floor contains primarily retail and restaurants, with shops, offices, and a number of art galleries on the second floor. Art at the Arcade is an organization of some of the resident artists, gallery owners, and shops who are working toward the creation of an art district in downtown Nashville [1]. The Arcade is also home to a curational organization, The Coop, which is a group of artists, curators, and professors working to present underrepresented, new, and challenging artists to the community. In addition, the Arcade participates in Nashville's free monthly First Saturday Art Crawl from 6 pm - 9 pm. More than twenty downtown galleries participate [3].

Sources

1. The Arcade Nashville. Official website. Accessed July 20, 2016. http://thenashvillearcade.com

2. Drummond, Mrs. Donald. "The Nashville Arcade." National Register of Historic Places. January 5, 1972. Accessed July 20, 2016. http://focus.nps.gov/AssetDetail/NRIS/73001761

3. Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. "Nashville's First Saturday Art Crawl." Accessed July 20, 2016. http://www.visitmusiccity.com/Visitors/thingstodo/saturdayartcrawl.

Address
65 Arcade Alley
Nashville, TN 37219
Phone Number
(615) 248-6673
Hours
Monday -Friday: 6am-6pm; Saturday: 8am-5:30pm
Tags
  • African American History
  • Architecture and Historical Buildings
  • Art and Art Museums
  • Business and Economic Development
  • Urban History
User Created Tours That Include This Entry
This location was created on 2016-07-20 by Sara Marian .   It was last updated on 2017-12-01 by Ben M. .

This entry has been viewed 1529 times within the past year

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