Creating Places: A Citizen Observer's Look at Nashville's Built Environment

Writer's Note: William Williams' interest in the manmade environment dates to 1970, at which point the then-young Williams started a collection of postcards of city skylines. The collection now numbers 1,000-plus cards. Among the writer's specific interests are exterior building design, city district planning, demographics, signage, mixed-use development, mass transit and green/sustainable construction and living. Williams began his Creating Places column with The City Paper in February 2005. The column in its original form was discontinued in September 2008 and reinvented via this blog in November 2008. Creating Places can be found on the home page of the website of The City Paper, at which Williams has worked in various capacities since October 2000.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Creating Places: Walking Demonbreun

As I listen to some instrumental music and enjoy a cup of chocolate soy milk, I ponder Demonbreun Street, circa 2016. Join me as we take a mental (and hypothetical) 1.5-mile stroll on a wonderful spring day.

Starting at the Music Row Roundabout and with the handsome Roundabout Plaza casting a shadow on the dancing nudes of Musica, we move east on the north side of the road and are immediately greeted on the right by Faison's 1515 Demonbreun and on the left by the hustle and bustle of the various shops and bars that highlight the block. We pass Tamarind, the stellar Indian eatery, and pause to remember Mo, the affable manager who has long since moved on. A few steps forward and on the left, Rhythm towers above us. We take a look across the street at  the updated (though still generic) Comfort Inn, which has seen its cartoonish facade fiddles long since removed.

Crossing the interstate is unpleasant but not as much so as is currently the case as some pedestrian improvements have been made since 2013. Once we get to the other side, we cross Demonbreun and admire both the Eakin and Hensler towers. Past the underrated Braid Electric Building we then traverse the Demonbreun Viaduct and are greeted by MarketStreet's Gulch Crossing building and, shortly thereafter, a semi-icon: Cummins Station.

At Eighth and Demonbreun, we note the classy modernist United Methodist Publishing House building. After pausing, we gaze skyward at Tony Giarratana's Marriott on the left while the massive Music City Center roller-coasters its way east to the right. At Sixth, we spot the shops on the back side of the Bridgestone Arena then, at Fifth, thrill to the one-two-three punch of the northeast corner of the MCC, the quirky Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and the modernist Omni. Hall of Fame Park offers some soothing greenery on the left.

We reach Fourth and are greeted by the Schermerhorn on the left and both Encore and Hyatt Place on the right. One block later loom both Pinnacle on the left and Tony Giarratana's SoBro on the right. At this point, we have walked past 18 buildings of major note, with the final two blocks of our stroll offering a nice finish with the tasteful Market Street Apartments and Liggett Building serving as an entrance to the Ingram Amphitheater.

That was a nice "walk" and my faux milk is consumed. Good night.


  1. William, the key phrase in your dream scenario would be "pedestrian improvements"....If the city will recognize how valuable it would be to make it easier to traverse Demonbreun on foot, it could truly be renamed the "Miracle Mile". The distance between the Beaman used car lot and the Braid Electric Building is downright dangerous at 2:00am on Sunday morning...Wider sidewalks with better lighting and Police call boxes would help a lot..Heck, even a moving sidewalk ala the Atlanta Airport would make economic sense....Until then, it will remain a "dream".

  2. AMous,

    Points well made. But the walk between First and 12th along Demonbreun is safe enough. I walk it five days a week and have no problems. Still, your point is valid.