1823: The City’s first sewers are built and flow into the streams and the Cumberland River. Some sewers are constructed directly in existing streams. The full ramifications on water quality of such infrastructure isn’t recognized until much later. (See 1990’s)
1833: First City Waterworks is built, using natural filtration system
1833: United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE) clears banks, snags, wrecks, and wing dams, increasing the navigability of the Cumberland River.
1850: Peak of steamboat trade: Some 341 Riverboats, carry 1 million tons of freight across the waterfront
1850: Rail begins service; helps alleviate regional transportation loads
1850 & 1856: Cholera outbreaks
1861-1865: Civil War. Nashville is one of the first southern cities taken over by the Union, due to its access to rail and high topography.
1861: Brennan Foundry, near current riverfront park, produces up to 10 tons of ammunition a day for the confederate army until it is seized by the Union and shut down. Later in 1865 is is reopened, and continues production of metal works until 1899.
1862: Union soldiers bring baseball to Nashville during the war. They play north of the Capitol near Sulphur Spring. Site later becomes Sulphur Dell stadium for the Tennessee Volunteers professional baseball team. The last game is played there in 1963.
1887: Expansion and reorganization of rail lines facilitate a development boom in the post-Civil War South. Mills are built in floodplain areas south of downtown. Many of the buildings on 2nd Avenue and Broadway in downtown are built around this time.
1889: City Wharf serves as a shipping port for logging, textiles, and other goods. Businesses along 2nd Ave use the riverfront side as their alley or loading dock, and 2nd Ave as a store front.
1889: French Lick Spring (Lick Branch Creek) is channelized to enable water and sewage to flow more easily into the Cumberland River.
1889: Second water works is established: pulls water upstream from the Cumberland and is piped to a 51 million gallon tank on 8th street.
1890s: Innovations in locks/ damming maintain river levels constant, ensuring year-round navigation. Channels dredged out of shoals.
1891: Arthur Dyer founds NABRICO (Nashville Bridge Company) to build bridges for most of the southeast and some countries in South America. The facility is located at the east bank of the riverfront and predates the Shelby Street Bridge. The NABRICO building is the last remaining building of the original complex.
1892: The natural resource that attracted intial settlement-French Lick Spring- disappears from sight, enclosed in a brick sewer.
1894: United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE) builds lock 1 on the Cumberland River. In effect, the River becomes a lake with consistent depth of 6’ to ensure viability of commercial transportation. Two years later, the first automobile arrives in Nashville.
1897: The Tennessee Centennial and International Exposition attracts 1.7 million attendees.