All posts tagged: Union Station Nashville

Union Station Hotel

Where the journey begins

Everyone has an origin story. Some carry a soul-stirring strength that extends across time and space. They may be so powerful that they aid in protecting the setting, preserving the very places where the story originates. While watching a repeat of the Ken Burns film The National Parks: America’s Best Idea on my local PBS station, I am reminded of how many of our parks include mountains, lakes, and meadows that are part of the origin story for Native Americans. Places that have deep meaning for the soul. Sacred places. Other origin stories evolve, as the nation, group, or individual comes to a fuller understanding of who and what they are. As is appropriate for a nation built on the shared work of the imagination, the complex American origin story continues to unfold, especially during this era of turmoil and change. “All of us tell stories about ourselves,” write Herminia Ibarra and Kent Lineback in the Harvard Business Review. “Stories define us. To know someone well is to know her story — the experiences that …

Train Travel, 78 RPMs, Chiggers, and Other Memories of Cleaning Out a House

I took a day off from work today to be with family in Tennessee.  My father – who earlier this year celebrated his 90 birthday – is transitioning from living in his home of the past 26 years to living in an independent living facility. (The home he is leaving is not to be confused with “The Old Home Place” aka 407 E. Main Street, where I spent my formative years from junior high through college.) My two sisters and a brother who live nearby have handled most of the details of the move, and Daddy now spends much of his time with my sister Debbie and her husband Mark as he waits for his new apartment to become available. However, before I was able to focus on family I had work to do along Music Row in Nashville, and I found myself at one of our Historic Hotels of America, the Union Station Hotel on Broadway. I’ve told the story before, but it is so good it bears repeating again. My parents were part …

Union Station: A Personal History and a Preservation Success Story

Having just arrived in Nashville for the 2009 National Preservation Conference, I find myself in the lobby of the Union Station Hotel waiting for a room and for my meetings to begin.  That left me time to think…which can be dangerous. Union Station is a Nashville landmark.  It is a beautiful old pile of a building and the lobby (see photo) is stunning.  But I think it is a landmark and was – in the end – saved from the wrecking ball because it has so many personal connections to people in Middle Tennessee.  Take me, for instance. My parents were part of the post-war (WWII) marriage boom that begat the well-documented baby boom.  Both were from the small town of Franklin, located about 20 miles from Nashville.  My father had just graduated from Vanderbilt and he and my mom were married in the First Baptist Church in Franklin.  Before beginning his life-long career with the Tennessee Valley Authority, my father and his new bride had a honeymoon to take. Luckily, they had relatives (my …