7 December 1939 Gospel Advocate “Nashville Special”
This special issue of Gospel Advocate highlights with historical sketches and photographs several dozen Churches of Christ in Nashville, Tennessee, the City of David (Lipscomb). In view of an upcoming lecture at Lipscomb University (I’m co-presenting with Christopher Cotten, John Mark Hicks and Jeremy Sweets), this will be the first of several daily posts of the photographs from that issue. From now until the end of June I will post one photo daily. Look for the portraits of Fall, Fanning, Sewell, McQuiddy and Harding tomorrow and the meetinghouses in alphabetical order beginning 23 May until 30 June 2013, d.v. …. You are invited to our sessions Monday July 1 and Tuesday July 2. See the Summer Celebration schedule for time and place. Please come, I’d like to meet and talk with you.
[B. C. Goodpasture], “How Special Was Prepared”, page 1166:
In collecting the material for the special number of the Gospel Advocate we have sought a short history and a picture of the meetinghouse of every congregation in what might be called the Nashville district. There are some congregations not within the city limits which have been so vitally related to the work in the city that it was thought proper to include them. To this end each congregation was asked by telephone or letter to supply a sketch of its work and a good picture of its meetinghouse. We are grateful that most of the congregations complied with our request, but regret that some did not. Except where otherwise stated, we have used only the material that was sent in to us. Where the type of meetinghouse and of picture permitted, the cuts are uniform in size.—EDITOR.
H. Leo Boles, “General History of the Church in Nashville,” 1146-1148. Included in this brief essay are portraits of Philip Slater Fall, Tolbert Fanning, Elisha Granville Sewell, Jephthah Clayton McQuiddy and James Alexander Harding. David Lipscomb’s portrait graces the front cover. The bulk of the issue are the sketches and photos of the congregations and their meetinghouses. Boles’ task is to introduce the issue with a lead-off broad historical resume.
List of Congregations, pages 1148-1167
Listed below, in the order of appearance, are the congregations featured; those without an accompanying photograph marked with an asterisk [*]. I cannot discern an organizing principle, if there was one, governing the listing of the congregations. For their relative locations consult the map on the back cover.
Lindsley Avenue Church
Twelfth Avenue Church
Old Hickory Church
Charlotte Avenue Church
Grandview Heights Church
Riverside Drive Church
Shelby Avenue Church
Joseph Avenue Church
Grace Avenue Church
Park Avenue Church
Park Circle Church
Lawrence Avenue Church
David Lipscomb College Church
Acklen Avenue Church
Chapel Avenue Church
Eleventh Street Church
Reid Avenue Church
Cedar Grove Church
Trinity Lane Church
Russell Street Church
Third and Taylor Church
Mead’s Chapel Church
Highland Avenue Church
Fifth Street Church
Seventh Avenue Church
Whites Creek Church
Fanning School and Church
Lischey Avenue Church
New Shops Church*
Neely’s Bend Church*
W. E. Brightwell, “Record Not Complete”, pages 1166-1167:
“Some congregations failed to provide a picture of their building; some prepared something, but there was a slip-up in delivery.” Brightwell briefly recalls details about Green Street, Eighth Street [Eight Avenue, North], Jo Johnston, Twenty-Second Avenue, Otter Creek, and Reid Avenue. Within Brightwell’s note are photographs of the Home for the Aged (overseen by the Chapel Avenue Church), Jackson Park Church and Rains Avenue Church. He closes by asking, “What became of the sketches for Jackson Park and Rains Avenue congregations? Gorman Avenue, Richland Creek, Edenwold, Fourth Avenue, South, Pennsylvania Avenue, Ivy Point, Dickerson Road, and possibly others within the area of Greater Nashville, failed to report, or something happened that their report did not arrive in time.”
Given Brightwell’s note, I thought it worthwhile to discern which congregations were absent. It became readily apparent that there was no mention, at all, of any African-American congregation or preacher in the issue. There is a list of six “Colored Churches” on the rear-cover map.
If George Philip Bowser’s 1942 directory is any indication, Nashville was as much “Jerusalem” for African-American churches of Christ as it was for whites. In 1942 Nashville claimed six black Churches of Christ, the same as are listed on the rear cover of this ‘Nashville Special.’ No other city in America at that time, known to Bowser at least, had as many black congregations or as many members among them. Were Bowser to describe these congregations, their establishment and growth and the great men and women who built and nurtured them, he might use Henry Leo Boles’ words which opens this ‘Nashville Special': “Nashville, Tenn., has been called the modern Jerusalem. There are more churches of Christ in this city than in any other city of the world. The church in Nashville, like the church in Jerusalem, had a small beginning, but it has grown to great proportions.” If not, at least his data would support the claim nonetheless.
The rear cover, with map, lists sixty-five congregations, fifty-nine [white] and six “colored.”
The congregations listed below have neither photo nor sketch in the issue proper:
Buford’s Chapel [this is an earlier name for Whites Creek church listed above]
Fourteenth and Jackson
Twenty-Sixth and Jefferson
Sixth and Ramsey
Fairfield and Green
Neither on this map nor inside are:
Chapel Hill (possibly a variant name for Little Marrowbone)
All of these are in Davidson County, reasonably within the bounds of Goodpasture’s “Nashville district” or Brightwell’s “Greater Nashville.”
The 1939 City Directory lists a Sanctified Church of Christ at 408 16th Avenue, North and a Metropolitan Church of Christ on East Hill as a ‘Colored’ congregation. The same directory lists Emanuel Church of Christ which I have confirmed is not a Stone-Campbell congregation. Sanctified is entirely new to me; there is an outside chance it could be the predecessor to the Fifteenth Avenue, North congregation (est. 1955 according to the 2012 Churches of Christ in the United States). If so then it is a black congregation…15th Ave is a plant from Jefferson or Jackson Street. Metropolitan Church is likewise new to me.
Remember, check back daily for a new photograph. Comments are welcome for memories, suggestions, etc. Should you like to contact me privately, do so at icekm [at] aol [dot] com. Should you have or know someone who has photographs, directories, bulletins or other paper from any of these congregations, please contact me.