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How Nashville's Neighborhoods Got Their Names

Nashville was named after Revolutionary War General Francis Nash. Established at an area along the Cumberland River referred to as French Lick—due to a salt lick that attracted animals and thus French fur trappers—the settlement was originally dubbed "Nashborough" but renamed Nashville in honor of the French.

Belmont Boulevard

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This area is named for the Belmont Mansion, built in the mid 19th century for the Acklen family. The 180-acre estate was constructed between 1849 and 1853 and is now owned by Belmont University.

Berry Hill

This South Nashville neighborhood is named after William Wells Berry, a 19th-century Nashville businessman. Berry was president of Third National Bank, and he built a house in the 1860s in Elmwood. The area around it was developed into a "satellite city" in the mid-20th century and took his name.

Bluefield

This area in Donelson earned its name in the late 18th century from the blue Mountain Chicory that grew in the area.

Clover Bottom

Clover Bottom in Donelson is named for the Clover Bottom plantation and mansion, which in turn is said to have claimed its title from an early horseracing track nearby.

Demonbreun

Demonbreun gets its name from one of the town’s earliest residents, Timothy Demonbreun. He was a fur trader from Quebec, and his real name was Jacques-Timothe Boucher Sieur de Montbrun. In 1769, he arrived and settled in what would eventually become the city of Nashville.

Donelson

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This area is named for Colonel John Donelson, a partner of James Robertson. These two men were selected by Richard Henderson, and they helped settle the area that would eventually become Nashville. In 1779, Donelson led the journey to the area via the Holston, Tennessee, Ohio, and Cumberland Rivers, while Robertson mounted an overland expedition. Donelson kept a diary of his expedition, which has survived. You can read it here [PDF].

The Downtown

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This is the original center of Nashville. In 1780, early settlers led by James Robertson established a fort between what is now Church Street and Broadway.

East End

East End was originally an outgrowth of the City of Edgefield, and it gained its name from its location on the eastern outskirts of that municipality.

East Nashville

East Nashville naturally lies to the east of downtown Nashville, and it is home to eclectic businesses and restaurants that make the area a draw for young urbanites, artists, and musicians.

Edgefield

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This neighborhood in East Nashville was named by Governor Neil S. Brown in the mid-19th century. It was annexed into Nashville proper on February 6, 1880.

Edgehill

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This neighborhood takes its name from the Edgehill contraband camp established by the Union army during the Civil War to house fugitive slaves, before and after they were freed. The area around the camp developed into a majority-black neighborhood.

Elliston Place

This is named for the Elliston family, who owned the land on which it sits beginning in the nineteenth century. Joseph Elliston served as the city's mayor, and bought the land for $11,500 in 1821.

Five Points

This commercial district in East Nashville is named for the 5-point intersection where Woodland Street, Clearview Avenue, and 11th Street meet.

Germantown

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Germantown was the center of the German community in 19th century Nashville, and it became the city’s first suburb.

Glencliff

This section of South Nashville is named for Glencliff Mansion, an antebellum home that was built in 1852 by slaves and stood where the neighborhood does today.

Green Hills

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In 1939, developers A. Roy Greene and Roy T. Primm, Sr. built a market on a piece of cow-grazing land for $5,000. They called it Green Hills Market, and the name came to represent the neighborhood itself, which now houses upscale shopping and some of Nashville’s wealthiest citizens.

Greenwood

This area in East Nashville is named for Greenwood Cemetery, the second oldest cemetery for blacks in Nashville. It was established in 1888, and Greenwood Park, the first amusement park in Nashville open to black patrons, followed in 1905. Both were founded by local leader Preston Taylor.

The Gulch

The Gulch is literally a gulch, which runs through the south side of Nashville’s downtown area.

Inglewood

This East Nashville neighborhood borrows its name from the Inglewood Place subdivision, which was built by the Inglewood Land Company, itself named for the Englewood Forest in Britain. The subdivision was developed beginning in 1908 to create a suburb fed by a new streetcar line.

Lockeland Springs

The neighborhood takes its name from Lockeland Spring, which in turn is named after the Lockeland Mansion, located beside it and named by Col. Robert Weakley for his wife, Jane Locke. The Lockeland Spring gained fame around the turn of the century when James Richardson purchased the mansion and, realizing the spring water was full of lithium salts, began bottling it for sale.

Marathon Village

This area is named for the historic Marathon Motor Cars factory which operated in Nashville from 1910 to 1914. In 1987, Barry Lyle Walker purchased the closed factory and began renovating the area, dubbing the redeveloped complex Marathon Village.

Maxwell

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This East Nashville neighborhood is named for the Maxwell House Hotel, itself named after its founder’s wife, Harriet Maxwell Owens.

Melrose

The Melrose Estate, built in the mid-19th century, was named so due to owner Cynthia Pillow Saunder's mother's Scottish ancestry (there is a town in Scotland named Melrose). The surrounding area also took this name, but the house itself was mostly lost to a fire in 1975.

Midtown

It's exactly what it sounds like: a commercially oriented neighborhood situated midway between the historic downtown and the more residential areas of the city.

Music Row

This area, situated between 16th Avenue, 17th Avenue, South Street, Division Street, and Grand Street, is the center of the city's country music industry.

Opryland

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Named after the Grand Ole Opry radio program and its venue, as well as in reference to the Opryland theme park that operated from 1972 until 1997. The term "Music Valley" is also used, and it refers to the cluster of attractions focusing on country music that have sprouted up around the Grand Ole Opry House.

Radnor

This neighborhood in South Nashville is named after Radnor College, a women’s college established in 1906 by A.N. Eshman. The school closed in 1914, but the name stuck.

Rosebank

Rosebank is named for the roses cultivated by the Rosebank Nursery, a popular and successful nursery that was established prior to the Civil War.

SoBro

This stands for “South of Broadway,” and follows an all-too-popular modern neighborhood naming structure (think SoHo and NoMad in New York, etc...).

Sylvan Park

Named after the Sylvan Park Land Company, a business that built many of the homes in the area in the early 20th century. One of the owners of that business named his own home, located within the neighborhood, "Sylvan Park."

Talbot’s Corner

This East Nashville neighborhood is named for the Talbot family and patriarch Thomas Talbot, a Revolutionary War veteran who became a Nashville businessman. The historic Talbot family cemetery is located within the area now known as Talbot’s Corner.

Two Rivers

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This area in Donelson takes its title from the Two Rivers Mansion, which was named due to its location near the intersection of the Cumberland and Stones Rivers.

Wedgewood-Houston

Known as "WeHo" for short, Wedgewood-Houston in South Nashville takes its name from the streets that make its borders: Wedgewood Ave to the south and Houston Street to the north.

The West End

This section within Midtown was, in the early 1900s, a suburban enclave on the then-western edge of Nashville. The Hillsboro-West End Neighborhood Association published a history of the neighborhood in 1992. They discuss the specific history of the name Hillsboro, but about the name “West End” only say, “Many major cities, including London, have a ‘West End.’”

Woodbine

This South Nashville neighborhood is named after a honeysuckle that grows in the area. It previously went by "Flat Rock," supposedly named for a flat rock Native Americans used to use as a meeting place. This name was determined to be "unsophisticated" by residents in 1939, and they voted to rename the area Woodbine.

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The Largest Known Map of the 16th-Century World Has Been Digitized
David Rumsey Historical Map Collection // CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
David Rumsey Historical Map Collection // CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

The challenge of designing an accurate, detailed world map has stumped cartographers for centuries, but Urbano Monte got pretty close to achieving perfection in 1587. Now, for the first time, his full 10-by-10-foot world map has been assembled and digitized, Co.Design reports.

There are only two copies of the map: one in Milan, Italy and the second, digitized one at the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection at Stanford University. The massive, extremely detailed illustration, which comprises 60 hand-drawn sheets, is the largest known early map in the world. The Italian cartographer drew it using the azimuthal equidistant projection, which depicts the flattened globe with the North Pole at its center. According to Monte, this gave a more accurate view of the Earth than the Mercator Projection, which was published just two decades earlier in 1569.

The map's depth of detail becomes more apparent the longer you look at it. In addition to country names and geographical landmarks, Monte took the time to note information on weather, meteorological events, length of days at different latitudes, world leaders, and significant countries and places.

Map details.
David Rumsey Historical Map Collection // CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

To view the completed map in all its glory, you can download the 3D image through Google Earth or view it through Apple’s augmented reality app AR Globe.

[h/t Co.Design]

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25 Wild Facts About Alaska
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Located 500 miles away from the nearest state, there’s likely a lot you haven’t heard about Alaska. Here are 25 facts about the last frontier.

1. Dog mushing is the official state sport.

2. The state flag was designed by a 13-year-old boy. After calling on students throughout the territory to submit their ideas, Alaska ultimately decided on Benny Benson’s scene of the Big Dipper and the North Star in 1927.

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3. Seventeen of the 20 highest peaks in the U.S. are located in Alaska.

4. Some of Alaska’s bizarre moose-specific legislation has included laws against pushing a moose from a plane, viewing a moose from a plane, and giving a moose beer.

5. Haines, Alaska is home to America’s first museum solely dedicated to hammers. Visitors to the Hammer Museum can view their fascinating collections of hammer sculptures, handle-making machinery, and spring-loaded meat tenderizers.

6. Balto is the famous sled dog that’s usually credited with delivering medicine to a remote Alaskan village, but some argue that Togo was the true hero. Before Balto completed the last 55 miles of the journey, Togo pulled the medicine through 200 miles of wind and snow. His stuffed and preserved body is on display at the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Museum in Wasilla, Alaska.

7. Alaska broke their record high when temperatures reached 100° F in 1915.

8. Their low of -80° F recorded in Alaska’s Endicott Mountains still holds the record for the nation's all-time low.

9. Alaska has more coastline than the other 49 states combined.

10. Because of their long summer days, Alaska is capable of producing some unusually oversized produce. Some notable specimens that have been harvested in recent years include a 35-pound broccoli, a 65-pound cantaloupe, and a 138-pound cabbage.

11. About 1700 miles south of the geographic North Pole lies the Fairbanks suburb of North Pole, Alaska. The town’s famous Santa Claus House gift shop is open year-round, and thousands of letters addressed to Santa are sent to the zip code each year. (A real-life Santa Claus was even elected to City Council.)

12. The Bering Strait that separates Alaska from Russia is around 55 miles wide at its narrowest point. Within it sit the Russian island of Big Diomede and the U.S. island of Little Diomede, which are just two and a half miles apart. So in theory, it would be possible for some Alaskans to see Russia from their houses.

13. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese forces bombed and invaded the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. The occupation lasted nearly a year.

14. Moose, caribou, and bear killed by cars in Alaska are considered property of the state [PDF]. When road kill is reported, the carcasses are butchered by volunteers and distributed as food to charity organizations.

15. America’s largest national forest is the Tongass. It’s about three times the size of the runner-up, which is also located in Alaska.

16. Each year, brave Alaskans compete to be crowned the king or queen of their throne in the Fur Rondy Festival outhouse races. Teams outfit the bottoms of their custom-built outhouses with skis and race each other down a two-lane track. In addition to the title of first place, prizes are awarded for the most colorful, best-engineered, and cleanest commodes.

Mike Juvrud, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

17. The Thing, John Carpenter’s 1982 horror classic set in Antarctica, was filmed in Alaska.

18. In Barrow, Alaska, the longest night lasts for 67 days. In the summer they make up for it with 82 days of uninterrupted sunlight.

19. If Manhattan had the same population density as Alaska, only 28 people would inhabit the island.

20. There are 107 men for every 100 women in Alaska, the highest male-to-female ratio in the United States.

21. Juneau is America’s only state capital that isn’t accessible by road.

22. In 1867, Russia agreed to sell Alaska to the United States for $7.2 million, which amounted to about two cents an acre.

23. Many hotels in Alaska offer Northern Lights wake-up calls upon request.

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24. The Aleuts, Inupiat, Yuit, Athabascans, Tlingit, and Haida make up the major native groups of Alaska. At more than 14 percent, Alaska has a more concentrated indigenous population than any other state.

25. For years, the small town of Talkeetna, Alaska hosted the annual Moose Dropping Festival. Varnished pieces of numbered moose droppings were dumped from a crane into a parking lot and participants whose corresponding droppings landed closest to the center of a target received cash prizes. The event eventually grew too dangerously large for the town of 850 to handle and was retired in 2009.

This story originally ran in 2015.

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