Neighborhoods Near Nyla Sky Homes

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Those who don’t know the past of Printers Alley are likely to guess how it got its name but not how it became a hot spot in Nashville’s nightlife. The dry days of the Prohibition era were accompanied by lawless nights of gambling, prostitution and cocktails — all under the protection of the police. When liquor again became legal, nightclubs opened and acted as host to names such as The Supremes, Jimi Hendrix and Boots Randolph. If you have lived in Nashville long enough, I’ll bet you’ve heard passed-down memories from The Black Poodle Lounge, Brass Rail Stables, The Rainbow Room, Carousel Club, The Voodoo Lounge, The Sundowner or The Western Room.

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The Broadway Historic District, in the shadow of the famed Ryman Auditorium, is probably best known for the many music and tourist-related businesses that remain in this area. Known as Lower Broad, this section of Broadway has for decades attracted country music fans to its honky-tonk bars. Several of the street’s furniture and hardware stores played a key role in Nashville’s economy in the late nineteenth-century; many of these have been adaptively-reused as restaurants catering to locals and tourists alike. The Ernest Tubb Record Shop, at 417 Broadway, was the site of the second-longest running radio show in history, the Midnight Jamboree, still broadcast on Saturday nights on WSM Radio. Singer Ernest Tubb opened the record store and mail-order business in 1947 and moved to this location in 1951. Of particular interest is the former Merchants Hotel, 401 Broadway, a three-story commercial Victorian building. Originally constructed around 1870, the building held a pharmacy and pharmaceutical sales company. The building became Merchants Hotel in 1892, and was rehabilitated in the 1980s for Merchants Restaurant.

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Traditionally the center of Nashville’s nightlife, Printers Alley was, in its earlier days, a series of posts where men bound for the courthouse hitched their horses. By the turn of the twentieth century it had become the center of Nashville’s printing industry; in its heyday, circa 1915, thirteen publishers and ten printers were located in the area serviced by the alley. Nashville’s two largest newspapers, The Tennessean and the Nashville Banner, had their offices here at one time. The street contained hotels, restaurants, and saloons, many of the latter becoming speakeasies when Prohibition went into effect in 1909. Nightclubs opened here in the 1940s, and the alley became a showcase for the talents of performers such as Boots Randolph, Chet Atkins, Waylon Jennings, Dottie West, The Supremes, Hank Williams, Barbara Mandrell, and Jimi Hendrix. Today’s nightclubs are the descendants of the saloons, speakeasies, and clubs which developed into the entertainment district still known as Printers Alley.

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PRINTERS ALLEY, tucked between Third and Fourth Avenues stretching from Union to Church Streets, got its name from an early connection to Nashville's once-bustling printing industry. Besides the name, you’d be hard-pressed to find any remnants of the printing business that was once the center of activity in this historic district of downtown Nashville. But before becoming one of the city’s hottest nightlife hubs, this stretch of city streets was a thriving epicenter for printing and publishing companies. In its heyday, around 1915, Printer’s Alley was home to Nashville’s largest newspapers, The Tennessean and The Nashville Banner, as well as 13 publishers and 10 printers.

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