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Welcome to the official podcast of The Nashville Retrospect, the monthly newspaper devoted to stories from Nashville's past. Editor and host Allen Forkum interviews local historians and people who experienced the city’s history firsthand. He also investigates audio artifacts from area archives and relates fascinating articles from old Nashville newspapers.

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Jun 4, 2018

Nashville used to be a city of streetcars, society bootleggers, and downtown shopping. Host Allen Forkum (editor of The Nashville Retrospect newspaper) interviews Frank Schwartz, who, at 92 years old, remembers a Nashville with street photographers, downtown theaters, and residents who dressed up to go out. He also discusses his family’s business, Rich-Schwartz, a women’s fine-clothing store known for such innovations as “ready-to-wear” garments and “red tag” sales. (Segment begins at 04:10.)

Frank Schwartz (right) is pictured on Church Street in 1938 with his friend Arnold Haber Jr. The photograph was taken by a street photographer, which Schwartz describes in the podcast. (Image: Frank Schwartz)

Owned by Randall Butler, this 1932 Chevrolet was the “jalopy” that he and Frank Schwartz drove as teenagers. The picture was taken in 1942 at the intersection of West End and Elliston Place. Notice the pile of metal to the right and the “Smash the Japs” sign, both part of a scrap-metal collection drive for World War II. Marshall-Donnelly-Combs Funeral Home is in the background on the left. (Image: Frank Schwartz)

This circa 1927 photo (from the Rich-Schwartz 60th anniversary booklet) shows a window of the original store, which opened in 1902 and was located on Fifth Avenue North. (Image: Frank Schwartz and Jewish Federation of Nashville Archives)

Also in Episode 03, hear excerpts from President Lyndon Johnson’s speech at the dedication of the J. Percy Priest Dam on June 29, 1968, in which he discusses nuclear weapons and conservation. Bill Staggs is interviewed about being there that day as part of The Townsmen, a rock group backing up The Jordanaires. (Segment begins at 27:00.)

President Lyndon B. Johnson speaks at the dedication ceremony for the J. Percy Priest Dam on June 29, 1968. (Image: Nashville Public Library, Nashville Room, photo by Bill Goodman)

In this Nashville Banner photo, The Jordanaires (left) perform during the dedication ceremonies for Percy Priest Dam (seen in the background). Backing up The Jordanaires is local band The Townsmen, made up of (from left to right): Nathan “Snake” Black (not fully visible on drums), Gary Jerkins, Bill Staggs, and Gerald Jerkins. (Image: Nashville Public Library, Nashville Room)

And finally, Allen Forkum reviews some of the stories in the June 2018 issue of The Nashville Retrospect, including: the birth of a girl with four legs (1868); the Ku Klux Klan's first public rally since 1869 (1923); and figure-eight racing at Fairgrounds Speedway (1963). (Segment begins at 01:26.)



A list of articles relating to this episode contained in back issues of The Nashville Retrospect (back issue can be ordered by clicking here):

• ”Rich-Schwartz: The World’s First ’Ready-To-Wear“ Women’s Store” by Jean Roseman, The Nashville Retrospect, July 2012 issue

• “Blaze Destroys Loew’s Theater,” Nashville Banner, Aug. 9, 1967 (The Nashville Retrospect, August 2012 issue)

• “The Paramount Theater,” by Stanley Hime, The Nashville Retrospect, October 2010 issue

• “President Urges Respect For Law And Order,” Nashville Tennessean, Dec. 6, 1933, (The Nashville Retrospect, December 2016 issue)

• “Police Raid; Restuarant Violated New Prohibition Law” by George Zepp, The Nashville Retrospect, August 2009 issue

• “Streetcar Makes Final Run; Modern Buses Take Over,” Nashville Tennessean, Feb. 2, 1941 (The Nashville Retrospect, February 2016 issue)

• “75 Years Later: A Look Back at Streetcars in Nashville” by Ralcon Wagner, The Nashville Retrospect, February 2016 issue

• “The Street Car in Parade,” Nashville Banner, Oct. 30, 1926 (The Nashville Retrospect, October 2016 issue)

• “On The Electric Cars,” Daily American, May 1, 1889 (The Nashville Retrospect, April 2010)

• See the June 2018 issue of The Nashville Retrospect for other stories referenced on this episode.


Links relating to this episode:

50th Anniversary of J. Percy Priest Dam, U.S. Arm Corp of Engineers

"Rich, Schwartz & Joseph" by Debie Oeser Cox

Marshall-Donnelly-Combs Funeral Home


Audio: President Johnson excerpts courtesy of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Music: “Near You” by Francis Craig and His Orchestra (Bullet, 1947); “Quiet Outro” by ROZKOL (2018); “Covered Wagon Days” by Ted Weems and His Orchestra; and “The Buffalo Rag” by Vess L. Ossman