Feb
17

Nashville to Bulldoze Musicians Hall of Fame

February 17, 2010 - By Trigger  //  Causes  //  22 Comments

Musicians Hall of Fame Seal Symbol Sign Nashville“You can see the hood ornament on the car when you go to the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. But if you want to look at the engine, and see what’s making it go, go to the Musician’s Hall of Fame.” –Neil Young.

The Musicians Hall of Fame has been “eminent domained” by the city of Nashville, and is scheduled to be bulldozed in a matter of days. Where The Hall sits is across the street from the Country Music Hall of Fame, in the Lower Broadway district of downtown Nashville; the last bastion of what Music City used to be. Another institution founded to celebrate, honor, and preserve the music has fallen to another tool of industry.

The Musicians Hall of Fame, founded only four years ago, was created with the same idea the Songwriters Hall of Fame was: to show respect to the men and women behind the big acts and pretty faces who play an irreplaceable role in the music making process. Though residing in the home of country music, The Hall honored musicians from all genres of music.

Musicians Hall of Fame Nashville InsideIt also housed many pieces of memorabilia, including the stand-up bass used in Hank Williams’ final recording session, and the red recording light from the studio where Tammy Wynette recorded “Stand By Your Man.” Overall The Hall had 30,000 square feet of musical memorabilia. Joe Chambers, the founder and curator of The Hall now has only 7 days to get everything out of the building before demolition starts.

Chambers lost an “eminent domain” hearing against the city of Nashville in court on Friday (2-13-09). He was the last holdout in the new convention center footprint. An independent appraiser valued the Hall property at $9.8 million, but Nashville only wants to give him $4.8 million. At that price, Chambers is concerned rebuilding the Hall in a new location with the same scope may be impossible, especially in Nashville. He has looked into moving The Hall to another city, but nothing has been decided. “You’re looking at one of the museum homeless. We really don’t have anywhere to go except storage at the moment.”

And to add insult to injury, during negotiations with Chambers on what to do with the property, the city of Nashville made offers of housing The Hall within the new convention center, and finding a temporary home for it during construction. But apparently when Chambers began to stand up to city hall, they became much less willing to work with him.

“We were told that they would provide us a place to go for free while the construction was goin’ on for the convention center for the next three years, and then we would move into the new convention center,” Joe said. “They brought plans over, they had the plans drawn out for us.”

Musicians Hall of Fame Lights Luminaries Protest Closing City Hall Nashville Eminent DomainThe building of the new convention center is a controversy in itself. The $650 million dollar project is seen as risky, especially in the current economic climate. Nashville’s bet is that a new convention center will lure more business to downtown which will pay off in new tax revenue. Opponents are worried that the project will tax city coffers, leaving the city in debt and with less money for civil workers and social services. During the vote, opponents set up “luminaries outside of City Hall” one for every million dollars to be spent on the project.

The President of the Nashville chapter of the Musicians Union Dave Pomeroy summed it up best:

“Nashville became Music City through the work of these people [the Hall honors], on the backs of these musicians who never got the kind of credit that the stars got. If they don’t come to a settlement, all people are gonna remember is that the city of Nashville took a building that was honoring musicians in an eminent-domain court proceeding and that to me is a black mark on the city of Nashville. . . and that’s not gonna go away overnight.”


I can’t think of a better example than this story of how the priorities have shifted in Nashville, in country music, and in our society in general. We are bulldozing a landmark and a national treasure to put up yet another space for Industry to hob nob and money worship.

Lower Broadway in Nashville is all the city has left to tie it to it’s less and less relevant “Music City” moniker. There’s no music being made in those tall buildings, it’s just being manipulated. The Musicians Hall has fallen, like so many others before. Robert’s Western World, Layla’s Bluegrass Inn, the Ernest Tubb Record Shop still stand in defiance, but they will only feel like speedbumps when the bulldozers come.

I’m no hippie, but if I was in any reasonable driving distance of Nashville, I know where I would be the morning the bulldozers start rolling towards The Musician’s Hall of Fame: right in front of them, saluting them with a common gesture found on America’s highways. Soon country music itself might be eminent domained, if it hasn’t been already. Every day more ground is cut. Culture and history are shoved aside to make room for the profitable and efficient. Tammy Wynette is tossed aside for Taylor Swift.

REAL country music has gone from decline, to full retreat, to being outright deposed from what is supposed to be its home. Sure, we’ll get our silly mementos out of the way of your “progress” Nashville. But sure as the sun rises, the joke is on you. You may have your land. You may have your new shiny buildings. You may have a license to print money. But we still have the music; kicked out of the institutions where it once lived, but sheltered and loved for eternity in the hearts of true country music fans. And that to us, is priceless.

Long Live the Musicians Hall of Fame!

Sources: GACTV.com, News Channel 5.

22 Comments to “Nashville to Bulldoze Musicians Hall of Fame”

  • What Bullshit.. I don’t know what else to say..

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  • Sorry assed shit!!!

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  • NASHVILLE IS NOT ABOUT COUNTRY MUSIC OR MUSIC ITSELF ANYMORE..HOW LONG DO YOU THINK ROBERTS,LAYLA’S,ERNEST TUBB RECORD SHOP CAN FIGHT OFF THE COMMERCIALISM AND THE ALMIGHTY DOLLAR..ONE MORE BUILDING FALLS LIKE THE ONES BEFORE THIS ONE,ITS A DOMINO EFFECT OF THE TIMES..CHANGE AND PROGRESS MY ASS..ITS HAPPENING EVERYWHERE BUT NOT ALWAYS FOR THE GOOD..

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  • a sad state of affairs. there is a convention center around these parts. it does crappy biz. 3 owners in the last 5 years. no one can make it work, money wise.

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  • Convention Centers are always risky business, and now with the economy, less and less businesses and industries are having trade shows and such.

    Just like Joe Buck said in my interview with him, you can’t play Hank Williams, then play Toby Keith and Kenny Chesney and call that progress. You can’t tear down an institution that honors the music to make room for a space to throw toothbrush conventions and call that progress.

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  • And by the way, if they ever eminent domain the block with Robert’s and Layla’s on it, I WILL be down there to be a thorn in their ass. Mark my words.

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  • I don’t know a lot about the details but…don’t it kinda sound like Music City is going the way of Motor City? When you remove the reasons for the draw…all ya got left is the name!

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  • It’s bad enough watching these rotten cocksuckers try and bury country music with their god awful fucking popstars. It’s bad enough watching the commercialize, sanitize, and rape an entire culture in the name of the all mighty dollar. But to bulldoze a museum dedicated to the hard work and art of those who poured the…ir fucking souls into building an industry that has made these corporate cocksuckers rich, it’s just too much. Words can’t describe how much this pisses me off.

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  • I surely hope the museum finds a happy new home very soon. I am wondering if the building itself is of any historical significance? I’m always gutted (pun intended) when beautiful old buildings are razed to make way for ugly shiny things. What I find so ironic about Nashville is when I was there I observed it was a city with a lot of civic pride: an abundance of beautiful architecture and clearly very strict building codes when developers build new structures, ie: it must blend harmoniously with the historic buildings around it. How does a city so committed to preserving it’s history manage to not only ignore the decline of true country music culture but seemingly condone it’s demise? Like those beautiful structures, once it’s gone it’s gone.

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  • This is typical of the yuppie elitists who for decades have been staging an afront against everything Nashville stands for. For quite some time, and this was going on full steam while I was living there from 1990 through 1996, these cheese and wine political hacks were making an effort to get the moniker “Music City” changed to “The Athens Of The South.” What a fucking joke that was, and thank God no one was stupid enough to buy that campaign.
    On a recent tour while killing time before a show I was wandering around music row and lower Broadway, and almost lost my lunch at the appaling statue that had been erected as a seemingly insult to the county music industry. There at the foot of music row was a pornographic statue of naked men and woman dancing around in a orgy like fasion. It instantly was obvious to me that the white glove sect had delivered another blow to what is special about Nashville in it’s diabolical effort to make it another New York or Atlanta. Many in Nashville, and rightfully so, wanted a statue erected there of Hank Williams gazing pensivelly down music row with guitar in hand. How brilliant and majestic that would have been, and I am getting goose bumps now just thinking about it. But no, they erect this god awful gay piece of shit which to me was a blatant slap in the face of all things Nashville. Another monstrosity I witnessed as I strolled the hallow grounds of lower Broadway, a reverant block that is just oozing with country music history and the ghosts of country music’s past, was the football stadium. Most sports stadiums in cities are built on the outskirts of town, but this gigantic piece of sports shit sits squarely between music rown and lower broadway, appearing as an onimous threat that the past can go fuck itself cause the future is taking over.
    It was depressing knocking back a couple beers in Tootsies and walking out on the sacred sidewalks only to see imbicile football fans streaming through with their stupid banners and painted faces.
    So it comes as little surprise to me that Nashvilles nazi elite would use the unconstitutional act of eminent domain
    (so, we think we live in a free country? Think again.)
    to be rid of an institution that celebrates the history of Nashville music. Believe me when I say, that if it wasn’t for the tourist dollars, the same would probably be done to the Country Music Hall Of Fame and every other historic shop and bar on lower Broadway.
    I have always been one to not dwell in the past and look toward the future, but in my older age I find myself lamenting the past quite a lot. I do not like these current times and think less of what the future will look like. There was a time when artists like myself left it all behind, hopped in a car with the cloths on their backs and went to Nashville with a hope, a prayer and a song and battled in the trenches for years to make a name. Now bands and wanna -be artists upload some songs on a computer,
    hallowed historic ground is razed and replaced with modern shit,and Hank Williams rolls over in his grave

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  • Pathetic but not shocking at all. It’s only symbolic that Nashville bulldoze something to honor the people who gave the city its identity and replace it with something bland and sterile (and quite possibly prone to failure). I wonder if the developers working on this were the same ones who put the pond in Taylor Swift’s pad.

    The guy could always try incorporating his Hall with the Rock N’ Roll HOF in Cleveland. Only thing about that is that the RnR Hall hasn’t exactly done great numbers up there, but the institution itself ought to be ok.

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  • what a revoltin’ development! they’ve already “bulldozed” REAL country music…now i guess they have to try to rid the city of anything remotely reminiscent of what (and WHO) country music has always been about. and in case they forgot…country music is what put nashville on the map. they are literally ripping the heart and soul out of that city. sad.

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  • a Hank Williams statue looking down music row is very respectful and represents what nashville WAS.

    downtown Na$hville is Tra$hville made up of football $tadium$, hockey rink$, convention center$. i hope it all goes “straight to hell”

    however, East Nashville has a some good clubs that are keepin it real…

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  • Very sad.

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  • There is naturally big business as always with valued property interests, especially in a “tourist” city. It’s about big money and having too much money that a little risk of losing a tiny chunk of it in the process of squashing the “little man” is a common age old practice. I don’t understand the details surrounding the part about them offering to house the museum within the center. I miss posting the ocassional sickening, related to context html pictures that were once afforded to myspace users involved with this blog. I have a good one in mind for this one tht involved Tootsie’s … but yall are right any historical property in the money grubbing hands of the city of Nashville deemed unprofitable can be subject to destruction. Or in Tootsie’s case changing what it stands for by the current owners, influenced by the example of Nashville Music Row, and their own transpiration of erecting a mural of Kid Rock’s imposing face on it’s structure aaaah the humanity people!!!!aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh the atrocity!!!! atros-city !!!! waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

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  • [...] history is one thing. However remember back in February, when the Nashville City Council voted to eminent domain the Musician’s Hall of Fame? They bulldozed a site dedicated to music to erect another tool of industry. The President of the [...]

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  • [...] seem like. The irony is, Music City’s City Council voted through an eminent domain clause to bulldoze the Musician’s Hall of Fame 3 months before the Cumberland River started to [...]

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  • Want to know WHY Nashville got hit with the flooding? Listen to this poetic, prophetic message….there are 2 parts – please start with 1 and then watch 2 to get the complete story.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p16v0CMNdLk (part 1)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKuPuJWNeIY (part 2)

    http://www.pattythomas.com

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  • Arrrrggggh! More genteel werds from a suthrn gal (me) are not nice. My parents raised me to not curse but I learned to use my “inside voice” when I became older. ;)
    .
    btw, I think an angry mob with torches and pitchforks approaching the bulldozin’ crew might be a little old fashioned but it did seem to work then. ahh, good times.

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  • [...] we got to this point, specifically that another hall of fame, The Musician’s Hall of Fame, was eminent domained by the City of Nashville and bulldozed to make way for the new building. And that since the Musician’s HOF was only given 10 days to [...]

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  • it’s just a shame to lose pieces of Nashville like this.

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