How many of you think the Michigan village of Nashville has anything to do with Nashville, Tennessee? Well, it doesn’t, except in name only. The Tennessee city was named after the late 1700s Fort Nashborough, which got its name from Francis Nash. Nash was a Revolutionary War hero & soldier from North Carolina. The name ‘Nashborough’ was changed to ‘Nashville’ in 1784.

Unfortunately, the genesis of the Michigan village name of Nashville isn’t as historically romantic as Tennessee’ on...

1836: The initial plat was on land originally owned by John R. Pettibone.
1852: Henry & Solomon Feighner bought Hiram Hanchett’s sawmill.
1865: Henry sold the property to Phillip Holler.
1865: New land owner Robert B. Gregg platted 127 lots.
1866: A route from Jackson to Grand Rapids was surveyed.
1866: Garaudus Nash suggested his name for the new town.
1867: A gristmill was built by Eli & M. V. B. Mallett, and G. W. Johnson.
1868: Holler bought the new gristmill.
1869: Governor Henry Baldwin incorporates the Village of Nashville.
1873–1874: A grain elevator built alongside the Michigan Central Railroad.
1874: Grain elevator sold to Ainsworth and Brooks.
1877: A steam powered feed mill was added.
1877: Holler creates a new patent for processing flour.
1877: Holler's mill was called Nashville Roller Mills.
1916: Under new ownership, the flour was sold as Red-Eye Flour.
1920: Nashville starts being used as halfway stop between Jackson & Grand Rapids.

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Now, for the curious, look back at 1866: who was this Garaudus Nash, whom the village was named after? He was no war hero, no celebrity, no rich philanthropist. He was chief engineer of the Grand River Valley Railroad at the time.

Nashville sits in Barry County, mostly in Castleton Township. No known big-time celebrities came from Nashville, nor was there any monumental, historic, or state-changing events over the last 200 years. It’s just a nice little town with the foibles and successes as most of Michigan’s small towns.

The gallery below takes you back with some vintage photos of Nashville, some going back over 100 years…

Vintage Photos of Nashville: 1900-1940s


Vintage Photos of Brighton, Michigan: 1900-1950s

Vintage Photos of Indian River: 1900-1950s

Elk Rapids Vintage Photos (and Underwater Drone Shots at the Dam)

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