Nashville became known worldwide as “Music City” when WSM radio announcer David Cobb used the now-famous nickname on a 1950 broadcast. But there is so much more to this iconic city than the music. Nashville’s history, diversity, ingenuity, and prominence surprises many – even those who call it home.
Here are a few more interesting things you may not have known about Nashville.
One of the more well-known marketing slogans in the history of American advertising originated here. As the story goes, in 1907 President Theodore Roosevelt visited Andrew Jackson in Nashville. Roosevelt apparently asked for coffee and was given a local brand named after the local Maxwell House hotel. Though there is no direct evidence Roosevelt ever uttered the phrase, he reportedly declared the coffee “good to the last drop.” Years later the company began touting the connection between its catch phrase and Roosevelt in its ads.
One of its best-known culinary contributions, hot chicken, was an accidental creation by a woman seeking revenge. Prince’s Hot Chicken, the first and perhaps most well-known hot chicken restaurant, began when Thornton Prince’s girlfriend suspected him of cheating on her so she put extra pepper in his fried chicken. Thornton liked it so much that he opened the BBQ Chicken Shack in the mid-1930s which would later become Prince’s Hot Chicken.
Oprah Winfrey was raised here by her father Vernon Winfrey. While a sophomore at Tennessee State University (TSU), she was hired as a news anchor at WTVF-TV/ News Channel 5, making her the first female and first African American in Nashville to hold such a job.
Following one Sunday afternoon sermon, Capt. Tom Ryman, infamous for breaking up tent revivals, became an instant convert and immediately began raising funds to build a church. Upon his death in 1904, the Union Gospel Tabernacle, the church he built, became known as the Ryman Auditorium.
Founded in 1901, Standard Candy Company created Goo Goo, a true Nashville delight marrying peanuts, caramel, marshmallow, and milk chocolate together for a tasty cluster of candy now considered the nation’s oldest combination candy bar. It is believed that GOO stands for Grand Ole Opry.
Long before Nashville became Music City, it was known as the Athens of the South due to its number of higher educational institutions. Today the area has 21 postgraduate institutions, including Vanderbilt University. Owing to the moniker, in the 1890s the city built a full-scale replica of the Parthenon for the 1897 Tennessee Centennial Exposition. Housed inside this replica is another full-scale re-creation, a 42-foot-tall statue of the goddess Athena.
While best known for country music, all genres of music and artists record here. Rocker Jack White moved his record label, Third Man Records, from Detroit to Nashville in 2009, where it opened its first physical location on Seventh Avenue. The label releases albums and singles primarily on vinyl record. The location serves as a record store, label offices, and live venue called The Blue Room. The Blue Room is the only venue in the world to record live shows direct-to-acetate, producing a vinyl master in real time.
In 1925, National Life & Accident Insurance Company founded the radio program known today as the Grand Ole Opry. It is the world’s longest-running live music radio show and has been broadcasting every week since 1925 on AM radio station WSM. The program’s original name was WSM Barn Dance, and the station’s call letters were an acronym for the company’s slogan, “We Shield Millions!” The famous name change took place two years later when announcer George Hay was preparing for a Saturday night program, which followed a broadcast of classical music from New York. In his opening remarks, Hay quipped, “For the last hour, we have been listening to music taken largely from grand opera and the classics. We now present our own Grand Ole Opry.” Needless to say, the name stuck.
DoubleTree cookies are made here. Yep, the oh-so-yummy DoubleTree cookies are in fact Christie’s Cookies – a famous Nashville cookie company.
And finally, the one thing we hope you know by now is Nashville is hosting NPEA for our 37th annual conference from October 14-18, 2017 at the DoubleTree Downtown. We hope you’ll join us in the Music City for another great opportunity to share ideas with your peers across the country!