I contributed to this neighborhood history short sketches of three Churches of Christ (Foster Street Christian Church/Grace Avenue Church of Christ, Joseph Avenue Church of Christ and Lischey Avenue Church of Christ) a biographical sketch of Henry Leo Boles and short write-up of a Catholic aid effort under the name of Little Sisters of the Poor.
North Edgefield is northeast of downtown Nashville across the Cumberland River and I-65. It is north of Edgefield as you make your way up Dickerson Road towards Goodlettsville. Edgefield is directly east of downtown Nashville and was its own city until annexed into Nashville in 1880. After the Civil War this area was heralded as a quiet, healthy, genteel respite from the dirt and noise of the city. Edgefield was an upper middle class neighborhood. As far as Stone-Campbell history goes, E. G. Sewell moved to Edgefield in 1870 when he joined ranks with David Lipscomb at the Gospel Advocate. Also living here were J. C. McQuiddy and A. M. Burton (Burton’s ‘city home’ was here; he also had a farm (Burton Hills) in the heart of what is now Green Hills). In Edgefield the first two Stone-Campbell churches are Woodland Street Christian Church and Tenth Street Christian Church (later Russell Street Church of Christ). From this pair emerged other East Nashville churches of Restorationist persuasion. I have blogged briefly about these East Nashville churches…with photographs…here. Chris Cotten has done us a great service in beginning to chronicle some of their story in this paper. Edgefield was home to the upper classes of working folk until the great fire of 1916 about wiped out all of the neighborhood (including the old Woodland Street Christian Church building…built with brick donated by David Lipscomb). After 1916 the wealth of Nashville shifts west to Belle Meade and resides there even now.
The emergence of North Edgefield parallels in time the growth of Edgefield, save for the wealth of its residents. The city was expanding after Reconstruction and middle-class families found the new suburb an attractive place to settle. As the city grew and families streamed in, the Disciples took the Restoration Plea into the neighborhood early on and in a span of twenty years grew several large thriving churches: Foster Street, Joseph and Lischey Avenue churches in North Edgefield and Woodland and Tenth St. in Edgefield. Woodland Street Christian Church merged to form what is now Eastwood Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Tenth Street moved a block west to Russell Street (they are now defunct). From Woodland St. came Seventeenth Street Christian Church, which is now Madison Christian Church (Independent, or Christian Churches/Churches of Christ). Grace Avenue disbanded in 1977. Joseph Avenue moved further northeast in the early 1970’s and is now Kemper Heights Church of Christ. Lischey Avenue, through a move and a merger, is now Northside Church of Christ. In this one neighborhood we have a cross-section of the Stone-Campbell movement: Disciples, Independents, mainstream and non-institutional Churches of Christ.
I will post my research on Foster Street Christian Church/Foster Street Church of Christ (later Grace Avenue Church of Christ), Joseph Avenue Church of Christ and Lischey Avenue Church of Christ over the next few days. I will follow then with Henry Leo Boles and save the Little Sisters for last (but not least). How did I come to have that assignment? Bill McKee, editor of the book, needed someone to do it and asked me. I accepted. An archivist at the Catholic Diocese of Nashville improved my work, so what I will post here and what you see in the book will not be identical. Also…as the weather here in Nashville has improved, I will shoot some photos to include along the way.