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. 



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

Douglas Corzine, Madeline Goetz / WPLN

This episode wanders into supernatural territory in the search for unmarked graves. It began innocently enough: A listener asked us about Nashville's oldest structures. But as we visited some of the city's oldest homes, we found family graveyards that date back 200 years or more — and some owners, it turns out, relied on a generations-old practice with mysterious power to find unmarked graves. Which led us to the question: What's up with "water-witching" in Nashville?

Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

Either Nashvillians can't spell, or there's a prominent Fred Douglas that no one knows about.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

Even long-time Nashvillians may have forgotten the quirky carousel that used to twirl along the banks of the Cumberland River.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

Even an odd street name like "Granny White" fades into the background for anyone who regularly drives the shady two-lane road to Brentwood. But a few listeners have submitted Curious Nashville questions about it, like this one:

Was Granny White Pike named for a real woman? Who was she? When and where did she live?

Nashville reservoir flood 1912 photo

There’s something about past mayhem that intrigues people. Hence, this question submitted to Curious Nashville: 

What is the history of the Nashville reservoir flood, and what is the reservoir’s use today?

The reservoir in question is the 8th Avenue Reservoir.

Jay T. Thomson / courtesy Robert W. Thomson

The Curious Nashville inbox has received several variations on the same question: What happened to passenger rail service in Nashville? Residents are right to be curious. Nashville is one of the largest cities in the country to have no rail connection to another city.

Mack Linebaugh / WPLN

Here's an intriguing Curious Nashville question we received from Thais Carr:

Exactly how does "Gravity Hill" in Warner Park work? Many times I went up and backwards in my VW with just one tap on the gas.

If you've lived in Nashville for decades (rather than just years), you may remember when a certain road in Edwin Warner Park — now closed to car traffic — seemed to possess magical powers. 

Chas Sisk / WPLN

Eagle-eyed visitors to Nashville's Civil War-era Fort Negley may have noticed something a little bit different about the United States flag that flies near the visitor's center. As Topher Fleming asks:

Why is there a 35 star flag flying over Ft Negley?

The simple answer is the 35 stars represent how many states there were at the time of the Civil War — just as the 50 stars on today's flag stand for the 50 states.

But Krista Castillo, the museum coordinator at Fort Negley, says the flag tells a deeper story about Nashville during the conflict.

Mack Linebaugh

Anyone who's driven through the intersection of Charlotte Pike and 51st Avenue in West Nashville has likely wondered some version of this Curious Nashville question from Katie Gonzalez:

Why does the Regions bank on Charlotte Pike have such an elaborate golden dome? When was the building built, and has it always been a bank?

Nashville glass recycling
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

Inquiring minds — especially newcomers to Nashville — often wonder about the city’s recycling program. Now, spurred by a question submitted to WPLN’s Curious Nashville, there’s some news about an expansion of glass recycling and an explanation of its history here.