Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Nashville

NASHVILLE, a city of the United States, capital and largest city of Tennessee, and seat of justice of Davidson county, stands on the Cumberland River (spanned there by a suspension bridge and a truss railway bridge with a "draw" 200 feet long), 200 miles above its junction with the Ohio, in 36° 10′ N. lat. and 86° 49′ W. long. Occupying a site of considerable irregularity, and dominated by the hill (558 feet above the sea) on which the capitol is built, Nashville on the whole presents a picturesque and attractive appearance. The capitol is an imposing stone edifice, erected in 1845 at a cost of nearly $1,000,000, and surmounted by a central tower 206 feet in height. Other public buildings deserving mention are the court house (1857), the market-house and city-hall (1855), the State penitentiary (1830), the State blind asylum (1850), the four universities, and two large female seminaries. Nashville University, incorporated as Davidson College in 1785, as Cumberland College in 1806, and under its present name in 1825, now embraces three distinct schools,—Montgomery Bell Academy, Nashville Medical College, one of the largest in the Southern States, and the Normal College, established and endowed by the trustees of the Peabody Fund. Vanderbilt University was founded in 1872 by six conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and in 1873 was named after Cornelius Vanderbilt of New York, who gave it $1,000,000. His son has given it about $250,000 additional. It has a fine group of buildings and 75 acres of land west of the city. In 1882 it had 51 instructors and 603 students. Fisk University, established in 1866 for the education of men of colour, and widely known through the Jubilee Singers, had 18 teachers and 424 students in 1882. The Tennessee Central (Methodist) College, likewise dating from 1866, is intended for coloured students, as is also the Roger Williams University (Baptist). The State library in the capitol had 27,000 volumes in 1882; and the Watkins Institute library occupies a building erected in 1882 at a cost of $130,000. Being the natural centre of a wide productive region, and well served by river and rail, Nashville has an extensive and rapidly growing trade, especially in cotton and tobacco. Its manufacturing establishments comprise three large cotton factories (34,000 spindles, 700 hands in 1882), saw-mills, grist-mills, planing factories, carriage factories, extensive furniture factories, distilleries, paper-mills, cotton-seed-oil mills, and stove foundries. The population was 5566 in 1830, 10,165 in 1850, 16,988 in 1860, 25,865 in 1870, and 43,350 in 1880.

Settled in 1780, Nashville received incorporation as a town in 1784 and as a city in 1806. It was not till 1843 that it became the capital of the State, though, with the exception of the period from 1815 to 1826, the legislature had met there from 1812. In February 1862 Nashville was evacuated by the Confederate General A. S. Johnston, and was held from that time by the Federal forces. The attempt made in December 1864 by the Confederate General Hood to recover the now strongly-fortified town resulted in the “battle of Nashville,” in which his army was completely routed by that of General G. H. Thomas.