The Meaning Behind The Names Of Some Of Nashville’s Most Popular Neighborhoods

What’s in a name? There are people who proudly live in Kalamazoo and Timbuktu. Walla Walla…now there’s a name for you.  Here in Nashville, we are a city that embraces history. Nashville itself is named for General Francis Nash, who served in the Revolutionary War. Nashville was settled on the Cumberland River on December 25, 1779. Be thankful we weren’t called Santa Claus – oh wait, clever Indiana already took that one!

The neighborhoods that have sprung up since that first settlement have meaningful names. Some honor those homes that defined a long ago prominence (Belmont), and some are just downright lyrical (Sylvan Park – now who wouldn’t want to live there!). Below are some of the histories of the neighborhoods that many of you are perusing to find your perfect home. Happy hunting!

Belle Meade – The name means “beautiful meadow,” and the original bearer of the name was a 200 acre plantation and home that still graces Harding Pike. Surrounding streets carry the monikers of notable horses, sired at the plantation; Enquirer and Iroquois, for example. Many Kentucky Derby winners can trace their heritage to this area. Now, show ponies of a different sort grace the neighborhood, the crème de la crème of Nashville society.

Belmont – Here is another neighborhood that carries the name of a stately mansion at its center. Sitting atop a hill that was once part of a 177 acre plat, the name means literally “beautiful mountain.” Are you getting the idea that Nashville takes pride in the natural beauty of the topography? The mansion is now a focal point of Belmont University, and the surrounding neighborhood embraces the academic lifestyle of professors and students and those who just like to associate themselves with academia.

12 South – Didn’t have to stretch too far for a name for this trendy, walkable neighborhood, adjacent to Belmont. It is located on both sides of – wait for it – 12th Avenue South. The side streets house charming bungalows and Craftsman homes, many restored to their original 1920’s and 1930’s glory. When Reese Witherspoon opted to open her first brick & mortar establishment, Draper James, she chose energetic  12 South. Whither Reese goes, we will follow.

The Gulch – Just like it sounds, this is a neighborhood built right over a long, idle railroad gulch. Far from derelict, this is an area of glam, high rise condos, walkable restaurants, and boutique hotels. In the works is a grand pedestrian bridge that will link The Gulch to the downtown core.

Downtown Core – The name says it all, but until 1988, it wasn’t even zoned for residential use. Now, beautiful high rises shake up the cityscape, and a fabulous new 45 story residential tower is being sheathed in glass for the ultimate in urban luxury, due to deliver in December 2017. Entertainment and sports venues abound, such as Bridgestone Arena, Nissan Stadium, and Ascend Amphitheater. Walk  there… stumble home. So convenient!

Germantown –  The first groups that settled this area in the early 1800’s planned out an 18-block suburban neighborhood.  Original streetcar tracks are still visible pushing up through the cobblestoned curbs on fashionable 5th Avenue North. Today, the area defines urban living, and one is hard pressed to find a German anywhere. That doesn’t stand in the way of a lively, annual Oktoberfest, or daily homage to the brew at many of Nashville’s finest independent, chef-driven restaurants. Also, Nashville’s own minor league baseball club has a home in Germantown at First Tennessee Park.

Green Hills – One of those pastoral names that beckons its residents home at the end of the workday, it is a haven of high-end retail shopping and dining. Green Hills is a highly sought after area of single family homes, sited on leafy streets, but it is becoming more urban as the city expands south. Some would say, with its convenient location (15 minutes away from anything important, ahem), it is the best of all worlds.

Sylvan Park – There it is again, peace and tranquility in a name. This is another highly desirable neighborhood, close to midtown and downtown, yet possessing the throwback personality of community-living in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Neighbors walk their dogs and babies in the evening, and keep themselves in shape on the generous Greenway that meanders around a public golf course and through the neighborhood.

Lockeland Springs – Arguably, it is East Nashville’s top neighborhood, and was also named for an historic home, Lockeland Mansion, built in the early 1880’s. East Nashville is a rising star, home to many beloved, chef-driven eateries. While long affordable, some of the restored Victorian and Dutch Revival homes are now commanding prices over a million dollars. That makes the adorable Craftsmen types on charming side streets all the more desirable in the 400,000’s.

Nashville comprises many historically significant and protected neighborhoods, which thrive today, some 200 years from foundation, as attractive and desirable places to live. There is a lifestyle for everyone, and the Nashville housing market thrives with eager buyers who are finding life in this city to be second to none. We at SimpliCITY Nashville are proud to be native Nashvillians, and are eager to assist those who would like to put down their own roots in this awe inspiring little, big town!

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*Image courtesy of FoundryCo