Somewhere Under the Rainbow
The joke about Nashville’s rapid growth is how the city skyline consists of tower cranes. Traffic is a major issue. Former Mayor Karl Dean was so concerned about the city’s outdated public transportation system he tried to take buses to work–but locals stopped to pick him up in their cars.
Things in the rear view mirror are larger than they appear.
“The preservation of historic landmarks in Nashville in crisis mode,” said Robbie Jones, past president and board member of Historic Nashville, Inc. told me in a January 2016 interview. “The city is growing so fast developers are tearing down historic buildings as quickly as they can and they’re replacing them with condos and office towers. We are under assault.”
The recent reopening of the historic Skull’s Rainbow Room in the once seedy downtown Printer’s Alley is major cultural news that incorporates country music, murder, speakeasies, burlesque and a carnival worker.
David “Skull” Schulman opened his nightclub in 1948 in Printer’s Alley, once the ribald shadow of Nashville’s publishing and printing businesses.
The narrow two block jaunt stretches from Union Street to Church Street. Andy Griffith was a house comedian at Skull’s and the club featured exotic dancers in the Bible Belt hometown of Bettie Page.
Printer’s Alley nightclubs populated the Bourbon Street- like strip and entertainers on the circuit included Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams and the Supremes. In 1963 Jimi Hendrix played with bassist Billy Cox at the Jolly Roger, next door to Skull’s.