‘National Treasure’ Designation Means Help For Music Row Preservationists
Houses converted to song publishers and record labels have long been the norm for Music Row. But increasingly, some houses are home to offices from other industries while others are knocked down to make room for condos and other large structures. Credit: Nina Cardona/WPLN

‘National Treasure’ Designation Means Help For Music Row Preservationists

Houses converted to song publishers and record labels have long been the norm for Music Row. But increasingly,  some houses are home to offices from other industries while others are knocked down to make room for condos and other large structures. Credit: Nina Cardona/WPLN
Houses converted to offices for song publishers and record labels have long been the norm for Music Row. But increasingly, some houses are home to different industries while others are knocked down, primarily to make room for condos. Credit: Nina Cardona/WPLN

Nashville’s Music Row has been officially declared a National Treasure.  That means local groups trying to preserve the character of country music’s home neighborhood will have hands-on assistance from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The National Trust's David Brown and Erica Stewart, Musician Ben Folds and Mayor Karl Dean listen to Music Industry Coalition chairman Mike Kopp at the announcement in Historic RCA Studio A. Efforts by Folds, Kopp and others to save the studio from the wrecking ball spurred the push to preserve Music Row. Credit: Nina Cardona/WPLN
The National Trust’s David Brown and Erica Stewart, Musician Ben Folds and Mayor Karl Dean listen to Music Industry Coalition chairman Mike Kopp at the announcement in Historic RCA Studio A. Efforts by Folds, Kopp and others to save the studio from the wrecking ball spurred the push to preserve Music Row. Credit: Nina Cardona/WPLN

The Trust helps local groups organize, plan and raise money. In some cases, it spearheads legal battles.  This year, it successfully lobbied Congress to add Oak Ridge and the other Manhattan Project sites to the National Parks system. It took the Army Corps of Engineers to court—and won—over a cruise ship port in Charleston’s historic district.

But it doesn’t always win. Just last week, despite the Trusts’ efforts, federal officials decided to allow gravel mining on Theodore Roosevelt’s ranch.

In Nashville, Chief Preservation Officer David Brown says the first step is to map out and define just what constitutes Music Row. Beyond that, Brown says the group will work with property and business owners “to find a way to ensure that the creative community that’s been here for sixty years can continue to work and so Music Row can have a future.”

Mayor Karl Dean and Congressman Jim Cooper attended today’s announcement. The Metro Historic Commission and Historic Nashville are listed as local partners in the Trust’s efforts, along with the Music Industry Coalition. That relatively new group has said it wants to find solutions that do NOT include zoning changes or a historic overlay.

Nina Cardona

Nina Cardona is WPLN's host for All Things Considered. As a reporter, she covers a wide range of assignments with an emphasis on culture, the arts and local history. A graduate of Converse College, she's lived in Middle Tennessee most of her life.
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