Curious Nashville | Nashville Public Radio

Curious Nashville

In Curious Nashville, we answer your questions about the city and Middle Tennessee region. We investigate oddities, share local history, tell stories of interesting people, and explain how local institutions operate. 

You can submit your questions here.

Periodically, we'll post a voting round where you help decide what we should investigate in our longform storytelling Curious Nashville podcast.

We also answer questions more frequently in web posts and radio stories — scroll down to see what we've already answered. 

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*Special thanks to the SunTrust Foundation for providing technology funding for Curious Nashville. 

Free Silver Nashville
Olivia Rhee / WPLN

Nestled in the Haynes-Trinity area of Nashville is Free Silver Road. Though it appears to be one simple street, North Nashvillians often tell stories about the old Free Silver, which is said to have been a large neighborhood with a rich history.

Nashville peace sign aerial forest
Google Maps

From the proper vantage point it materializes unmistakably: A gigantic peace sign, cut into roughly 3 acres of forest next to the Nashville International Airport.

Investigations of Railroad Accidents / via N C & StL Ry Preservation Society

There was a head-on collision of two trains at a site called Dutchman's Curve in West Nashville 100 years ago Monday, July 9. It remains the deadliest train crash in American history. But the tragedy has largely faded from the city's collective memory.

Tennessee State Library and Archives

 


In the decades before serene family homes occupied the Glendale neighborhood of South Nashville, exotic animals, lush vegetation and summertime whimsy filled the area. The Glendale Park Zoo sat seven miles outside of downtown, a place where animals roamed and children screamed at the drop of the wooden roller coaster ride.

Nashville bus MTA
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

If passed, Nashville's multi-billion dollar transit plan, up for a vote May 1, would be the largest civic project the city has ever undertaken — yet polls show a large number of Nashvillians are still undecided. We want to know what would help you make a decision. 

Curious Nashville WPLN
Lee Hale / WPLN

Piranhas, tombstones, tunnels, and trains. Questions about Nashville road names. And even a query about how much it rains here. (The answer: Nashville does receive more annual rainfall than stereotypically soggy Seattle.)

These subjects, and many more, have made for a lively 2 years for Curious Nashville.

Sara Ernst / WPLN

Towering over Charlotte Pike in West Nashville, a life-sized pink elephant stands guard over the University Motors car dealership. The bubblegum-colored pachyderm sports a pair of black wayfarer sunglasses.

RetroLand U.S.A. via Flickr

Twenty years ago, Nashville had a theme park.

Opryland USA sat in a curve of the Cumberland River now home to a giant mall. It had roller coasters, Southern-themed restaurants and live country music revues. Memories of rides like the Screamin’ Delta Demon are still traded like gold among longtime Nashvillians — as are the rumors of why it all went away.

Daniel Potter / WPLN

There were rumors about sharks swimming in city waters after Hurricane Harvey, and urban legends about alligators in New York City sewers have been around for years.

But listener Sarah Stephenson has a question about another predator that allegedly lives in Music City:

“I have heard that during the 2010 floods, the Aquarium restaurant at Opry Mills lost a piranha or a barracuda. Is there any way to confirm?”

In bright yellow polo shirts, and often gliding through crowds on motorized Segways, the downtown Nashville “ambassadors” are easy to spot. And they’re seemingly omnipresent — working 16 hours a day, every day.

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