Saving the History: What it will take to rebuild 2nd Avenue
by Rachel Tiede
Fox 17 WZTV Nashville
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — There is concern that the sewer pipes on 2nd Avenue North were damaged during the Christmas Day explosion.
The city says some of those pipes date back to 1903. Much of 2nd Avenue North was historic, and as the city looks to rebuild, it could take years, according to Council Member Freddie O’Connell.
Sandy Lee owned two stores on 2nd Avenue, Ensemble and Simply the Best $10 Boutique.
She said she and her husband tried to tell the story of the historic buildings that housed their stores.
“They would look around and see the brick on the wall was original,” Lee said. “It just had a really cool vibe to it.”
Nashville Historian David Ewing said it’s a shame to see so much of 2nd Avenue North’s history lost.
“2nd Avenue is our heart line for the city, and we’re going to build it back – it’s very important that it looks the way it does,” Ewing said.
Ewing said 2nd Avenue was originally a warehouse district, and the cool place to be.
“This warehouse district was very popular during the day, and then in the 20th century, it became a place where hardware stores, building supplies stores, and actually a lot of distilleries, and even Maxwell House Coffee was made on this street,” Ewing said.
Freddie O’Connell, Nashville council member for District 19, said he thinks businesses near the outside edge of the blast zone crime scene will be able to reopen soon. But he said there will likely be changes coming to the area.
“I think there’s going to be some conversations, and probably some public hearings because all of these projects that will come before the [Historical] Commission are going to be under public review and have public hearing potentially,” O’Connell said.
As for Lee, she said search teams were able to find a drawing of Johnny Cash her daughter made, and their American Flag. They’re hoping to go to the wreckage Monday to get more.
“Looking ahead, if we can find a location downtown, we felt it’s really important to have a corner where we tell the history of what happened and that we survived,” Lee said.
Lee said most of their inventory was in the store when it exploded. They do have custom Nashville bracelets they are selling to raise money for the Lee family and the employees of the stores.
Source: Fox 17 WZTV Nashville