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. 

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. 

Nashville recycling
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

From plastic straws to old lightbulbs and shredded paper, it’s not always obvious what can be recycled through Nashville’s curbside program.

Centennial Park Nashville
Metro Arts Commission

Most visitors to Nashville’s Centennial Park can guess what the main attraction is: The Parthenon. Towering over the landscape, it catches the eye of the tourist and casts a shadow over the park’s less noticeable features.

But the veteran parkgoer knows that there are other, smaller treasures scattered across Centennial’s grassy lawns.

Nations mural Nashville
Amy Eskind / WPLN

Sometimes, Curious Nashville questions arrive and WPLN already has an answer in hand. So while there's less of a journey this time, the inquiry itself was written in a lively way:

Union Station Nashville
Library of Congress / Wikimedia Commons

There was a time when one of the most acclaimed authors in American literature set a story in Nashville. In the early 1900’s, O. Henry wrote “A Municipal Report,” a gritty mystery that plays out in a city grappling with its identity.

A recent Curious Nashville listener asks if O. Henry had ever actually visited, and why a famous author would choose to set a story here.

Fans of Curious Nashville have asked us several wonderful and weird questions about animals, and we’ve answered a few. But until now, that reporting hasn’t appeared in our podcast — and some of the facts and quirky details had to be trimmed out of the stories when they aired on the radio.

southern magnolia Nashville
Blake Farmer / WPLN

Look around Nashville and they’re hard to miss: Magnolia trees grace the Nashville City Cemetery, Vanderbilt and Belmont universities, Sevier and Centennial parks, and the grounds of the Hermitage, Grassmere and Glen Leven Farm.

Nancy VanReece / via Flickr

While World War II raged abroad, it was tuberculosis that was killing far too many Tennesseans on the homefront. So the state set out to establish a network of TB hospitals, with one in each Grand Division.

The twist in Middle Tennessee was that a struggling nursing home and orphanage, owned and operated by the Masons, became the convenient place to warehouse TB patients for months or even years to wait out their dreaded lung disease.

Nashville election ballot
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

Roughly half of Nashville voters in recent years have been casting their ballots during the two-week early voting period. The convenience of early voting is often cited as a reason. But one place where that’s not an option is in East Nashville.

Curious Nashville peace sign puppetry
Kara McLeland

It’s becoming something of a tradition — adapting a Curious Nashville podcast episode into a live stage performance. With puppets.

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.

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