James Hoobler



First settled in 1779, Nashville has grown into what the New York Times calls America's "It City." From frontier outpost to cosmopolitan city of today, Nashville has a rich history to celebrate. Have you ever wandered through Nashville and wondered about the stories of the different buildings? This Used to Be Nashville is your photographic journey into the past to learn the histories behind the places.

Learn about the Ryman Auditorium, which started as a religious revival hall, and the seamy Climax Saloon, which is now a boutique hotel. Greenbrier Distillery, once the very dominant Tennessee whiskey brand, closed in 1908 due to state prohibition, but it was reborn when descendants of the original family found their roots and relaunched the brand with the original formula. Visit Belmont, the home of one of the country's wealthiest women and now the crown jewel of a university campus.

Local curator James Hoobler brings together an impressive collection of stories of the highs and lows of the past in what is now one of the country's most visited tourist destinations. You'll never look at a building in Nashville the same way again.


James Hoobler is the former director of the Tennessee Historical Society, Curator of the Tennessee State Capitol, and Senior Curator of Art & Architecture of the Tennessee State Museum, as well as the Curators Committee Chair of the American Alliance of Museums. He has served on many historical boards in Nashville, and is the author of books, catalogues, and articles on the city. His love for his city comes through in these pages, and you will want to visit it again and again.