Nashville Local Life

4 Events that Made All Nashville Residents Feel Like Neighbors

Alongside the rapid growth Nashville has experienced in terms of its economy and population in the last 20 years, the city has also faced hardships and victories that have united natives and newcomers alike. A city with a rich spirit of collaboration and kindness, Nashville has grown up in more ways than one over the years, and the city is better for it today. From natural disasters to feats of athleticism and entertainment, Nashville’s defining moments have been true to the city’s identity every step of the way.

The 1998 Tornado

Effects of Nashvilles 1998 tornado / Photo by Ichabod / CC BY-SA

Tornado warnings and sirens in the spring and summer months are nothing particularly special in Nashville. Schoolchildren are accustomed to drills, and everyone knows that if the house doesn’t have a basement, seek shelter in an interior room or bathtub. The threat of tornadoes is very real for residents outside of the city, but nobody ever thought that a tornado could touch down in the heart of Nashville—until April 16, 1998 when severe weather struck, laying waste to many parts of the city and resulting in one fatality. “I remember the first tornado warning that early morning, before the big tornado hit, and getting a call warning me to take cover,” recalls longtime Nashville publicist Alison Auerbach, “Then I quipped, ‘I'm not worried, because tornadoes never hit major metropolitan areas’ and went back to sleep.” The Washington Post reported at the time, “The heart of Music City looked like a war zone.” West End was hit particularly hard with devastation bearing down especially on Centennial Park where one man was tragically killed by a fallen tree.  After the damage was assessed and the injured were treated, the city began to put itself back together. On the 20th Anniversary of the storm The Tennessean reported that it was a catalyst for the renewal of East Nashville, one of the neighborhoods hit hardest by the storm.

The 2010 Flood

Nashville flood of 2010 / Shutterstock

It was a rainy weekend like any other in May 2010, but it would turn into one of the worst natural disasters Nashville has ever experienced. The flood of 2010, arriving on the heels of the 2008 recession, a time when Nashville wasn’t the booming “it city” that it is today, came out of nowhere and devastated the region. The details are heartbreaking, as The Tennessean reports 11 lives were lost as a result of the flood, over $2 billion in private property damage occurred, and nearly 400 businesses closed and would never reopen. They also report though that 29,000 volunteers lent their help to families in need and $10 million was distributed to rental assistance, recovery, and counselling services.

The Debut of ABC’s Nashville

Charles Eston, Connie Britton, and Hayden Panettiere of ABC's Nashville / Photo by Dominick D / CC BY-SA

Everyone was glued to their television sets in 2012 when the debut episode of ABC’s Nashville aired for the first time, and the next day it was all anyone could talk about. Was it or was it not true to life? Do country stars really act that way? Can that actress sing? “I think everybody in the industry is always apprehensive when someone comes in and tries to make a show about Nashville,” recalls music industry insider Erin Morris, “It turned out to be wonderful, and I was hooked.” She’s certainly not alone, and the popular show ran for six seasons before concluding its television run on CMT earlier this year.

The Predators' 2017 Run for the Stanley Cup

Nashville Pedestrian Bridge decorated for the Predators / Shutterstock

While tragedy can certainly be a bonding opportunity, Nashvillians were more than happy last year to join one another, multi-generation locals and transplants alike, to root for our NHL team, the Nashville Predators, as they barreled toward a Stanley Cup victory. The progression felt gradual for many casual fans, but once the Preds made it to the semi-finals, the city was completely united behind them. It seemed as though the weeks were organized around hockey games. Friends packed into houses and dorm rooms, and sports bars were standing room only. Thousands of fans even gathered to watch games projected on a screen outside the Bridgestone Arena while the Preds played inside. Although Nashville’s beloved team eventually fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins on home ice during game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, the enthusiasm shared by fans still cannot be extinguished. If anything, Nashvillians are even more eager for victory than they were before.


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