Second Avenue Commercial District

Nashville, TN
United States
Second Avenue Commercial District

Landscape Information

Market Street

This historic district in downtown Nashville stretches from Lower Broadway in the south to Brandon Street in the north. Formerly called Market Street, Second Avenue was originally laid out by Thomas Molloy in 1784. Its proximity to the Cumberland River led to its early connection to commerce and manufacturing. As the city prospered throughout the late nineteenth century, the street was transformed into a lively warehouse district with a remarkable ensemble of Victorian-era commercial buildings characterized by cast-iron and masonry storefronts. Built from the 1870s to the 1890s, many of these structures, which front the east side of the street and span a full block, have since been renovated to become residences, shops, galleries, and entertainment venues. The street rises on a gradual incline before terminating at Nashville’s Public Square, which lies directly on-axis to the north. The columnar façade of the square’s 1930s courthouse frames views along the length of the corridor, which is intersected by Commerce, Church, and Bank Streets. The street is bordered by brick sidewalks lined with deciduous trees, while vibrant signage with neon lighting and colorful graphics animates the store fronts, often overhanging the sidewalks. The Second Avenue Commercial District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.