Tag Archives: tennessean

Printer’s Alley

4 May

Tiffany M. Roberts

Between Church and Union Streets and Third and Fourth Avenues, North

Tiffany M. Roberts

Nashville is a growing city with a big southern loving heart that has an open mind.  The streets that make up this town are filled with excitement and endless possibilities for both the people that live here and those just passing through. For some Nashville could be could be considered the small town atmosphere with its loving heart and welcoming attitude, but it is with the endless possibilities of things to do day or night that gives it is richness and uniqueness that many ask for in a big city.

It is clearly evident that when thinking of Nashville it sings out loud with pride as the Music City home. With places such as Grand Ole Opry House, The Ryman Auditorium, The Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) and so many others, is the reason why music is at home within the city limits.  With most of these places the genre of country music definitely comes to mind, however Nashville is known for its multicultural atmosphere.

This multicultural atmosphere can be found lurking in the streets all over downtown, however there is one particular street that it can definitely be found on and that is Printer’s Alley. Printer’s Alley is located downtown between Church and Unions Streets and Third and Fourth Avenues, North.  One would recognize it because there is huge iron neon sign stretching across the streets. Printer’s Alley inherited its name because in the past there were many printing companies that were located on this street.  This area was the home to both The Tennessean and the Nashville Banner newspapers. Over the years as printing companies moved to new locations for various reasons, the area began to pick up on the music scene and offered a different form of entertainment and gained its reputation as the Men’s Quarter. These night clubs such as Rainbow Room, Black Poodle, and Voo Doo Lounge were several that offered entertainment in the form of burlesque dancers.  David “Skull” Schulman was at the time the owner of these nightclubs the Rainbow Room and the Black Poodle. Overall Printer’s Alley quickly became known as the dark alleyway and was the place where you could get anything.

Currently at night this alleyway comes to life with such places as Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar, Ms. Kellie’s, The Brass Stables and several other clubs that occupied the area.  If one is curious and chooses to venture down this alleyway they might also want to check out Ms. Kellie’s, because it is claimed as one of the best Karaoke bars in Nashville. Printer’s Alley now features different genres of live music all the time and periodically it hosts bigger celebrities within its quarter, and it is now really know for it universal entertainment.

Tiffany M. Roberts

Tiffany M. Roberts

Tiffany M. Roberts

Tiffany M. Roberts

Tiffany M. Roberts

Tiffany M. Roberts

Tiffany M. Roberts

Sources:

Faragher, Scott. Nashville: Gateway to the South : An Insider’s Guide to Music City, U.S.A. Nashville, TN: Cumberland House, 1998. Print.

Metro Nashville Historical Commission. Footnotes Walking Tour of Downtown Nashville. Metro Nashville Historical Commission. Metro Historical Commission. Web. 01 May 2012. <http://www.nashville.gov/mhc/docs/historic/FOOTNOTESbrochure_COLOR.pdf&gt;.

“Nashville Scene.” King of the Night Skull Schulman and the Spledid Tawnery Past 22 Sept. 1994. Web.

“The Printers Alley.” The Printers Alley. Web. 01 May 2012. <http://www.theprintersalley.com/index.html&gt;.

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Weiss Liquors

20 Apr

Weiss Liquors

Weiss Liquors Neon Sign

824 Main St in East Nashville

By John Whitman

East Nashville is no stranger to iconic vintage neon, and the long stretch of businesses along Gallatin Road feature some fantastic old signage. From the northern edge of Nashville with Madison Bowling’s giant bowling pin neon, down to Weiss Liquors sitting just across the Cumberland from downtown, vintage signs abound, some in great condition and others rusted into disrepair. Weiss and their massive neon sign featuring an overturned jug pouring neon liquor drops has been at their current location of 824 Main street since 1961. When I lived down in lower East Nashville, Weiss was my liquor store of choice because it was walking distance from my apartment and showcased some of the sweetest staff and craziest clientele of any liquor store ever. Or as Janet S. of Nashville wrote on Weiss’ Yelp Page,

“Ahh, a great place for character observation. If you need book material, hang out in the cluster—k that is Weiss Carpark. Never a dull moment, but watch your fender, its a jigsaw puzzle getting out.”

Weiss has surely created a history for itself at its current location, but what many may not realize is that Weiss and its sign date back to the 1930s and earlier. Nicholas Weiss started his liquor business in downtown Nashville on North First Street in the 1890s. In the 1930s the business moved to 218 Meridian Street near the railroad tracks. It was here that Weiss purchased the neon sign. In the late 1950s Weiss moved to 4th and Main Street, but was quickly forced to relocate due expansion of I-24. As Kenneth Weiss, current owner and grandson of Nicholas, put it, “We didn’t have the asphalt down hardly, before we had to move.” As a result Weiss moved four blocks north to their current location in 1961. From what Kenneth can gather, Cummings Signs made the bulk of the sign in the 1930s, adding the large triangular arrows sometime in the 1940s. After moving to their current location, Weiss expanded by opening a next-door corner market in the fall of 1964. Like the newer market, the “Drive In” neon sign sitting atop that store dates back to 1964.

Weiss’ neon sign has been the backdrop for many a Nashville musician press photos as well as being featured in 2010’s Hollywood film Redemption Road. As Jennifer Justus noted in August 26, 2011’s Tennessean,

“In a scene from the film Redemption Road, actor Luke Perry leans against the hood of a car, channeling James Dean. But behind Perry, it’s not Los Angeles or a Warner Brothers set that we see. It’s the neon lights of the Weiss Liquors sign off Gallatin road in East Nashville.”

After a century, Weiss Liquors continues to thrive alongside its iconic, seventy year old neon.

Weiss Liquors

Weiss Liquors

Weiss Market

Weiss Liquors