Category: Tennessee (page 1 of 1)

Donelson Renovates

I don’t write much about Donelson, our little slice of Music City. But here’s a couple of recent exceptions, one sort of optimistic and nice, the other more caustic and negative.


For a bedroom community which has never really had much of an identity, Donelson is currently attempting to remake itself with at least a bit of one.

The Donelson station developments aim to create the 21st century version of the old downtown, which didn’t ever exist here. This new downtown will still be basically a strip mall of businesses, just with a spiffy, fresh new design.

Donelson is like most of the houses in its borders: Buildings from the 1950s whose owners are dying out, so the children and grandchildren are taking over and either selling them or freshening them up. Hopefully, it will result in a more pleasant place to live and breathe in, although there will always be two negatives: Lebanon Pike and its sprawling ugliness and the overhead landing pattern which puts planes low and loud over us as they swing into runways 20 Left and Right.

No one will probably ever be talking or protesting or doing anything about the overhead noise, but at least some folks are doing something about ugliness. We hope there are more positives to come, especially along Lebanon. Not much can be done about the traffic volume as long as Metro and the State are devoid of ideas or even the hint of wanting to think about possible solutions. Nashville is drowning in traffic, but no one has the will or money to do anything about it. Beefing up the Music City Star would help immensely, but that’s also problematic at best.Not much can be done about the traffic volume as long as Metro and the State are devoid of ideas or even the hint of wanting to think about possible solutions. Nashville is drowning in traffic, but no one has the will or money to do anything about it.No one will probably ever be talking or protesting or doing anything about the overhead noise, but at least some folks are doing something about ugliness. We hope there are more positives to come, especially along Lebanon. Not much can be done about the traffic volume as long as Metro and the State are devoid of ideas or even the hint of wanting to think about possible solutions. Nashville is drowning in traffic, but no one has the will or money to do anything about it. Beefing up the Music City Star would help immensely, but that’s also problematic at best.

For the foreseeable future, then, we’ll take some cosmetic change and hope the community’s groups and businesses continue to try to improve the community’s image, at least. Whatever happens will surely be an improvement.


On the other hand, a different hot take: Development around the Donelson Music City Star train station is proceeding apace; two projects are underway to transform the seen-better-days corner of Lebanon and Donelson pikes. The first is Donelson Plaza, to the north of the station; the 1961 building is getting a complete face lift, with the eastern half is being completely rebuilt from scratch to serve as the new Donelson Branch of the Nashville Public Library.

The Plaza will feature the library as well as shops, restaurants and apartments, with the idea being that you can live at the Plaza and walk/bike to the buses/trains at the station and never need a car. No word on whether WeGo will be able to boost bus and train service to the center, or if we’ll see the more probable nightmare scenario of being constantly in ever greater amounts of traffic.

(Side note: Frequently, drivers exiting the station in the evenings are desperate to avoid Lebanon Pike and its intersection with Donelson Pike. So, they use a short, rather asininely-designed (is that a word?) road that heads east out of the parking lot behind Fifty Forward, ending on Donelson and completely avoiding two stoplights and lengthy waits. Only problem: That connector is supposed to be one-way, westbound only. Never mind it’s wide enough for two cars and that someone is just being, well, asinine over it, a police car was sitting there are on the evening commute on a Friday night, just determined to up the asshole quotient and send commuters to add to the chaos and traffic on Lebanon which is stacked up all the way back to downtown. Brilliant, no?

Many cities would just make it a one-way west into the parking lot in the morning, and one-way east out of the parking lot in the evening, but that would be too simple and oh-fend someone. No word on how much a ticket for such common sensical motor vehicle “violations” will set you back, but it’s probably attractive for the city.)

But back to the main event: The 1961 Donelson Plaza was purchased by Holladay Partners, which is developing the 12 acres as a new urban town center—the downtown Donelson never had, and which has been completely abandoned by towns and cities around the country, but we digress. They hope the redo will result in green space, restaurants, retail shops and apartments. Also not mentioned: How much per month will a one-bedroom unit set you back and what will happen to the center’s funky and clunky thrift stores, the bartending school, the bowling alley, etc.? Well, a partner in the developer’s office is on record thusly: “We do have existing tenants leasing and, of course, we will honor these. As people move out and it gets turned over, this will determine our next phase.”

In other words, we’ll let ‘em stay, but we’ll kick ‘em out and jack up the rents and put something high dollar in there as soon as possible so the “wrong” kind of Hippy Donelsonite won’t be shopping there. We must wonder if the plaza will feature the “architectural asshole” designs popping up everywhere: “public” seating that is intentionally so uncomfortable or designed in such a way as to prevent what the British call “rough sleepers,” and we call “homeless,” among other things. Ah well, time will tell.

The developer itself will anchor 14,000 square feet of office space on two levels. What is being displaced for that is another aspect which goes unmentioned.

Meanwhile, diagonally across the intersection and across the tracks menacing the bowling alley is a hulking mass of apartment buildings going up to four stories and packed into a tiny space along the tracks. One wonders how much a one-bedroom in that complex will cost and whether there is any additional sound proofing and plaster and ceiling protection for all the Music City Star trains which rumble through blasting their horns for the Donelson Pike crossing from as early as 7:15 a.m.

No matter, there will be some green space and a pool and you can walk to the train station (if you can summon the courage to cross both Donelson Pike and the railroad tracks. We’ve watched on more than one occasion as some idiot’s sense of self-importance prompted him to weave between the crossing arms with the train’s arrival imminent, speeding on his merry way. If walkers and bikers are now to be added to the mix, well, could get interesting.

The one exit onto Donelson is sure to be a joy as things are brought to a halt by southbound apartment dwellers trying to turn left into the driveway cause backups at 5 p.m. across the tracks and back up to Lebanon. Personally, I wouldn’t risk life and limb to live there, stacked four high in boxes with balconies that feature the fantastic combined noise of KBNA 20L airliner arrivals overhead, Music City Star trains blowing whistles below, and the screaming tires and honking of motorists trapped on the tracks while my neighbors try to make it into their new boxes. It’s not an attractive prospect for me, but what do I know? I’m sure it will all be just fine and dandy when these projects get built out just in time for the next big recessional flop in 2020.

Progress is great and all. But progress via developer is often thoughtless and crude. As far as we can tell, developers won’t be paying for better traffic control near either project and nothing will change in anticipation of the much greater numbers of cars along an already over-stretched section of Lebanon and Donelson pikes. Perhaps all will be well. We’re not going to hold our breath here.

Warm Summer Night

Terrible quality, but is there anything better than a warm summer night playing in – er, rather sitting near the lawn sprinkler under a street light while watching the 21:00 evening arrivals at KBNA? Well, maybe if I was still 10 …

Shooting Up the Waffle House, Naked

In all this pouring (and pouring and pouring) rain, how difficult is it to find a naked man running around after he assaulted a Nashville Waffle House at 3 a.m. with an AR-15 and killed four people? And this after he was arrested last July by the Secret Service for being in a restricted area near the White House and is known to FBI and Illinois authorities for various other gun-related incidents, but who probably could do nothing because … Second Amendment?

Apparently very difficult, ‘cause he’s still running around., although he apparently stopped by his apartment and put on some clothes. So at least there’s that.

The slaughter was stopped by an unarmed restaurant patron (not, it should be noted, by an armed teacher or armed waitress packing a tommy gun with her smothered, covered, chunked and diced hash browns).

He’s insane. Thoughts and prayers are insane. And a country that lets slaughter like this continue is insane.

For the rant, sorry, but not sorry, you know? Back to packing!

Closing Tomorrow

Closing on the new house at 11 a.m. tomorrow! VERY happy. His Majesty is preparing final addresses for the Cats of Saddlebrooke/Hermitage, then he and the Royal Court will be off at the end of the week to invade and conquer the new land of Jonesboro/Nashville. Wish him luck; there is a very giant, very loud coonhound living behind our new house and this is gonna get very interesting. We’re buying earplugs.

The Things Ya See …

Our neighbors must include an IT nerd and some Different Strokes fans. Heh.(Betcha can't guess which WiFi networks are ours! (Oh the things insomnia makes you find funny at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning.))

Posted by Steve Pollock on Saturday, February 20, 2016

Hello Nashville!

Hello Nashville! It's so very good to see you again! After a DQ bacon cheeseburger, it was lights out in my own bed by 7:30. Amazing what being free from a monster adrenal can do for you!

Posted by Steve Pollock on Monday, February 8, 2016

Civil War Hospitals, the Vagaries of History and Us

A «sad story on the evening news» which prompted the following stream-of-consciousness (and shows how exciting my Sunday nights are): A fire destroyed a home north of Murfreesboro which was used as a hospital for Civil War troops. The family who lived there was refurbishing it and lost everything.

But the story caught my attention because just a few miles down the road to the south, in Shelbyville, our Great-Great-Grandfather Isaac James Pollock, spent October to December of 1862 in a similar hospital. In his case, the hospital was in and around the First Presbyterian Church of Shelbyville, a town which was known at the time as “Little Boston,” for its loyalty to the Union. It changed hands many times, the last in 1864 as the war moved out of Tennessee and further into Georgia.

Little Boston earned its nickname. Bedford County voted against seceding from the Union in 1861, by a majority of over 200 “No” votes, as did Henderson County to the west, home of the Teague branch of our family, in Lexington. Both counties sent troops to both sides, including our GGG-Uncles, Jasper and Leander Teague of Lexington, who ended up in the Seventh Tennessee Cavalry (US), and were captured by Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, who got his middle name from, yes, Bedford County, where he was born and raised.

In Sgt. Isaac James Pollock’s case, his war came to a final end in Little Boston. He contracted measles and hepatitis after only two months with the Second Mississippi regiment, stationed near Bull Run in northern Virginia. He was sent home, recovered and two months later joined the new 37th Mississippi Infantry (which would be renumbered as the 34th and then the 24th as casualties mounted). He was promoted to Sergeant of Company A, the Tippah Rangers, on July 5, 1862.

After the tactical victory/strategic loss of the Army of the Mississippi at Perryville, KY, against the Union troops of Don Carlos Buell, Confederate General Braxton Bragg’s troops retreated on the long march back into Tennessee. Sgt. Pollock and the 37th, which had been in the thick of the fighting of Oct. 8, were among them. By the time they arrived in Nashville and points south, Sgt. Pollock was ill with Pthsis, a bacterial lung infection better known today as Tuberculosis.

During a war which saw two soldiers die of disease to every single soldier who died of wounds on battlefields, Sgt. Pollock spent two months in Shelbyville for treatment before being discharged to home on permanent disability. His discharge on Dec. 13, 1862, was signed by Gen. Braxton Bragg. Back home in Ripley, MS, he and the family lived through the repeated advances and retreats of both armies over the town and surrounding countryside. Eventually, they would give up life in Mississippi and move to Arkansas. Isaac James died in 1886 in Hardy, AR, at the age of 56, leaving us to wonder if his war illnesses (measles and hepatitis in 1861 and the tuberculosis of 1862) contributed to his somewhat early death.

It is worth noting that if Sgt. Isaac James had succumbed either in the maelstrom of Perryville or to tuberculosis in Shelbyville, none of us would exist. Instead, he survived to bring his son Isaac Jackson Pollock into the world. And then his grandson would marry a granddaughter of the Tennessee Teagues in 1926, bringing together the descendants of Union loyalists and Confederate die-hards. We know those two as Grandpa Curt and Grandma Lorene Pollock.

It is Difficult …

“How long? Not long. Because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 1965

… to keep up a blog like this one, which has, at various times in the past, been chock-a-block with details and observations from our lives. Living two years back in California, with the attendant extreme stresses, drained the blogging impulse from both of us. Plus, there was the whole medical drama on my part.

It would be great to have all kinds of observations about Nashville here, just as we did in Ann Arbor, but … well, we’re older and tired-er than we were in Ann Arbor. But still, we’ll try to do better.

Two things: Voters of Maine, except the quarter million who voted to stand up for marriage equality last Tuesday, … well, they suck. Marriage equality is coming to the United States and you will be embarrassed by this travesty of justice, this orgy of discrimination and hate, when the day arrives. I’m holding fast to Dr. Martin Luther King’s statement, “The arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice.” As the LA Times reported:

“It is “one of King’s most riveting lines, spoken in Montgomery, Alabama after the long and dangerous march from Selma in March, 1965. King said he knew people were asking how long it would take to achieve justice. “How long?” he asked, over and over, making listeners desperate for an answer — and then he supplied the answer. “How long? Not long. Because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” It was a refrain King came to use often, sometimes referring to the “arc of history,” sometimes to the “arc of the moral universe.”“

The arc is bending toward marriage equality. It will come, probably before my I leave the planet. And to that, I will hold fast.

Secondly, I finally summoned the will and physical ability to return to the classroom and do a half-day substitute teaching, first time in six months. I have another assignment lined up for next Tuesday. It was exhausting and it was my limit (I’m not ready for full days yet), but it was also fun and reminded me why I like teaching kids. I’ll get more and more into the daily grind until the end of school in May, then have some rest time and will start a second master’s degree program, to become certified in the early childhood autism special education and applied behavior therapy. That program at Vanderbilt starts in August, and I’m looking forward to it.

In the meantime, the beagles are fat and happy and having fun in the leaves. I found a largish tick on Fergus yesterday, that had to be removed before going to work; it was probably a souvenir of our tramps through the woods on the battlefield of Chickamauga last weekend. Otherwise, the boys are doing great.

And Nashville … an awesome place to live. We’re coming up on the first anniversary of the flight out of California to safety and haven of Tennessee. And don’t regret for a minute the decision. Plus, our landladies and neighbor and neighborhood and schools are far superior to what we left behind in Brentwood.

So, it’s all good.

Tennessee Spring

I’m a little nervous about stormy weather here in Middle Tennessee, because this is, of course, tornado country. But nonetheless, the past 24 hours of weather have been kind of beautiful, spring rain without depressingly torrential downpours, followed by periods of clouds interspersed with clear sky.

Tonight was particularly wonderful, with a little rain followed by a peaceful clouded/clear melange at sunset. I went outside in the backyard with the beagles and took a look around, and I’m really very thankful to be here. There was the delighted song of a single mockingbird somewhere in the trees toward the front of the house, then there was the view toward the northwest — a few city lights on the other side of the river, a radio tower or two in the hills in the distance (Taylor Knob? Mackie Valley?), a view that I never dislike, and then the sweeping view toward the east through the vast cover of the trees behind us, the distance toward the hills of Todd Knob and Hermitage.

It’s a wonderfully idyllic vista.