Excursion to Nashville, TN

On Saturday, June 18th, Ken and I drove by car into Nashville to visit some of the historic locations near the city center, primarily these three: [Click on arrow to jump to section.]

Since we rode in Ken’s car, I don’t have a track log of our locations. On this map are marked those three locations as well as the Nissan Stadium.

20160618 Nashville Tour

Downtown Nashville

Marathon Motor Works

Our first stop was at the location of the Marathon Automobile factory, marked on the left side of the map adjacent to I-40. This next photo shows what the factory looked like back in the day.


Nowadays the main building has been taken over by several small shops selling jewelry and souvenirs. In a nearby building there is a tiny museum displaying several surviving Marathon cars. This panoramic photo of these cars was taken through the window in a locked door.


This next photo shows what the car looked like in use in the winter with four women passengers. The note written in the lower-right corner states: “30 HP, $1,200”.


This next photo shows an apparent sales brochure for the car.


Several examples of machine tools are on display in the factory museum. Ken posed for me next to a drill press. The second machine is a lathe.


Following our visit to the Marathon factory building, we drove to the central downtown area of Nashville where the museums are located, as noted on the map above, adjacent to the Cumberland River. These next several photos show some of the scenes along the streets as we walked around.

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Horse-drawn carriages seem to be popular with the tourists.

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Several human-powered “party bikes” also cruise around the downtown streets. All passengers are obliged to peddle in order for the vehicle to move. That’s certainly very ecological!



Johnny Cash Museum

Upon entering the museum lobby/gift shop, we stood in line for admission tickets. The actual museum is spread over several small rooms behind the gift shop. I took several photos of the displays and various artifacts.

This first photo shows a display of several instruments before a mural of Cash’s early band members. Adjacent is an information panel with some historical facts about that band.

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These next photos show a pair of plaques listing various important historical dates in Cash’s early career from 1954 through 1969. [Click on each for more legible versions.]

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The next display shows 32 gold and platinum records.


This next photo shows a display of many album covers for Cash’s records.


Also on display in the museum is an upright piano built in 1880 and belonging to Cash’s grandparents. An adjacent information panel explains the piano’s history.

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My final photo from the Cash Museum shows a poster of Johnny Cash standing before his home in Tennessee.



Country Music Hall of Fame

Our next destination is the huge museum that honors many well-known country music performers. This first photo shows the exterior of the building.


I just had to pose for a photo too.


Upon entering the museum, we walked across a lengthy hall to the ticket booth and entrance to the Hall of Fame. As shown in this photo, there were numerous tables arranged for a private party, perhaps a wedding, taking place that evening.


After buying our admission tickets, we rode an elevator to the top floor to start the self-guided tour. This next photo shows the scene that greeted us there.


Below the large TV screens on the right, the view opens downwards to the second floor, offering the view in this next photo.


In the previous photo on the left is the entrance to main museum gallery on the third floor, starting with several large displays of various American-made guitars from distinctive eras. Each group includes an information panel with some highlights for its group. [Note: Since I’m not an aficionado of guitars, I would not be able to tell these instruments apart.]


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The museum also includes an exhibit of Webb Pierce‘s customized car. He was very much into the Western style installing pistols as door handles and mounting rifles on the hood and trunk, as well as attaching large horns from a bull to the front bumper.

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Other displays exhibit costumes used by various artists during their performances.

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Since vinyl records were supplanted by CDs, the display of golden and platinum “records” contains a large number of CDs. This photo shows only a small portion of the entire display.


Some of the artwork presented in the CMA Museum was created under commission by the artist Jon Langford. This next photo shows an example of his work.


Another item of interest is the display of the Pontiac Trans-Am car that Burt Reynolds drove in the hit movie Smokie and the Bandid II. I took these photos of the information panel and two views of the car.

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The final area that we visited in the Country Music Hall of Fame was the large rotunda with plaques for all the honorees decorating the wall of the rotunda. Although it was difficult to capture the expanse of the rotunda and I was unable to create  panoramic photo, I did take two photos that I joined together to give the impression of its size.


From the ceiling a spire juts down into the center of the rotunda.


A close-up view of several of the plaques.


The plaque dedicated to Garth Brooks. [Click on the photo for a more legible version.]


Following our excursion to Nashville and the three museums, Ken and I returned to his home in nearby Murfreesboro. Following another nice dinner that Vicky had prepared, we discussed our plans for Sunday, June 19th.

That concludes this travelogue report for June 18th. The next day we rode our motorcycles on an excursion in a southeasterly direction towards but not as far as Chattanooga. More about that day’s experience in my next report.


About Don

I'm a retired computer programmer who enjoys touring the country by motorcycle.
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