The properties in Nashville that are at risk of disappearing are bigger than ever. Local non-profit Historic Nashville Incorporated released its annual list of endangered buildings called “Nashville Nine,” on Sunday.
This year’s list included the entire Cleveland Park neighborhood and Music Row, which preservationists say are at risk of being developed into oblivion.
“What we saw this year was that it was hard to nail down just one property in a community. It was several properties,” says Brian Tibbs, the president of Historic Nashville.
Every building on their list has a story, he says.
“It’s important for people to hear [those stories],” he says. “And hopefully it will create enough momentum to try to get back to save some of these special properties.”
One of those properties is the now-dilapidated Starday-King Sound Studios. It’s an unassuming mid-century box of a building located on Dickerson Pike in Madison, but it used to be one of the busiest studios in Nashville, recording stars like Dottie West and a young Jimi Hendrix.
Most famously, it was where James Brown recorded some of his biggest hits: "Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine", "Super Bad", "Hot Pants" and several others.
“You probably drive by that building and say, 'Look at that old thing,’ says Tibb. “The thing is, that building has stories that will go away if it’s not saved.”
One property on the list is already going the way of the wrecking ball. According to the non-profit, the former Florence Crittenton Home for Unwed Mothers, on Music Row, once used as a sound studio for Warner Bros. Records in the 1980s, is being developed into a high-rise residential tower.
Butch Walker, a recording artist and producer has had a studio in the building for the last four years where he’s recorded the like of Keith Urban, Harry Connick Jr., and Pink. But two weeks ago he got a letter telling him the demolition was proceeding and he needed to vacate the building. He has yet to find a new recording space.
“I got off tour and came right into town and spent three days unwiring, disassembling and loading up and moving a semi-truck of my studio gear to storage,” says Walker.
The 2016 “Nashville Nine” list of endangered properties are:
- Crescent Amusement Company bowling alleys
- Cleveland Park neighborhood
- Fort Negley Park
- Florence Crittenton Home for Unwed Mothers/Warner Bros. Records
- Hubbard House
- Morris Memorial Building
- Music Row neighborhood
- Sammy B's/Figilo's on the Row
- Starday-King Sound Studios