It appears so. After two years on the market, the building of the Charlotte Avenue Church of Christ will very likely come down…and soon. Soon as in a matter of days (pending formalities and the removal of the windows). I snapped a few photos Tuesday on my lunch break.
Here is one of the most recent news stories. Google will turn up more stories going back to 2007 when the congregation merged with West Nashville Heights to form Charlotte Heights Church of Christ. Be sure to look at this one to see a fabulous shot of the interior. It has received considerable attention in the Nashville media due to efforts in the area to revitalize Charlotte Avenue and the surrounding neighborhood. Years before I-40, West Nashville was an early, bustling suburb close to downtown. Charlotte Avenue is a main east-west corridor in and out of Nashville. Churches, shops, schools, parks and neighborhoods filled the area. The interstate opened new opportunities to live outside the city and commute in and the area decayed. 46th and Charlotte is something of a landmark intersection in Nashville, due in large measure to the Charlotte Avenue building and the I-40 interchange at 46th. This sign atop the educational wing at the rear of the church greeted interstate traffic for as long as I can remember:
The church met on this corner for over a hundred years. The tan brick building is a 1921 replacement of the original red brick building. With an interior patterned after the Ryman Auditorium, it was completed not long before N. B. Hardeman began his twenty-year Tabernacle Sermon series. As the pictures show, it grew over time to include a large educational facility. At one time the congregation numbered around 1,000 members, placing it among the largest churches (of any denomination) in Nashville and one of the largest among Churches of Christ east of the Mississippi. Preachers during those years were Athens Clay Pullias, Willard Collins and Mack Wayne Craig. C. E. W. Dorris lived for many years on Morrow Road. I suspect he may have worshipped and perhaps preached at old West Nashville Christian Church.
The landmark has become a lighting rod: a quick check of the comments on the online news stories will reveal how divided the community has become. In fact, as I was snapping pictures one lady driving by rolled down her window and hollered out…”Get yer pictures quick! Reckon they’ll tear it down!” That day may be sooner than we think. If when so, I’ll post more pics.