Preserving Second Avenue


Christmas morning, the Second Avenue Commercial District bomb blast damaged over 40 buildings, displacing some 1200 workers. The Tennessee Historical Commission’s 50-year involvement in the area began with its 1972 listing as Nashville’s first National Register Historic District. Jack Boucher’s 1970 view of Second Avenue at Church Street from the Library of Congress’ Historic American Buildings Survey presents the pre-restoration streetscape in contrast to the January photograph by Tennessee Photographic Services. (below)  

THC headquarters were relocated, as reported in a 1975 Courier, to 170 Second Avenue North, a building restored to its 1870s appearance by Nashville preservation architect Neil Bass. There, THC participated for years in the neighborhood revitalization. By 1998, when Ricky Rogers photographed Bass for The Tennessean, the building was at the center of downtown’s resurgent tourism industry.  Tragically, 170 is now the façadeless shell that THC staff member Rebecca Schmitt photographed in January. (below)   

THC has continued to support the district with over a dozen Federal historic tax credit historic preservation projects, including a current one. We continue working with our partners at the Metro Historical Commission to support the restoration efforts, as we continue to post information for impacted property owners on our website.