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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

History vs History

I've been around the block twice , now, and finally figured out why this town feels so different from Nashville.

It's history is intact.

Not that Nashville's a slouch when it comes to preservation (okay, well, maybe it is) but there's so much less to preserve.

Ironic, that. Because Nashville is the older city--by a good 50 years or more. But there's not much left of the 19th century. A few historic homes, mostly antebellum mansions and farms, but very little on the city streets themselves. Muscatine's hill, on the other hand, has many homes that date to the 19th century, many of them well-preserved and lived in.

So, what happened in Nashville?

My guess is a little ruckus called the Civil War. Nashville was the first state capital to fall to union troops, and the last large-scale battle of the war's western front. By the time Appomattox rolled around, who knows what shape the city was in? We know the south was ravaged by the war, so maybe few people had money to build. People probably eked out their lives in whatever home they had until it was falling around their ears. By the time things stabalized and some wealth recouped, any homes being built were constructed on a more modest scale. Most seem to date from the first quarter of the 20th century and into the 1930s.

On the other hand, Nashville's population nearly quadrupled in size between the end of the war and 1900, which would indicate a definite level of prosperity. So, go figure.

In any case, no battles were fought in Muscatine, unless you consider the battle of industry. That war enriched the city, which, in its heyday, produced nearly 40% of the world's pearl buttons.
The beautiful homes in the historic district with their gingerbread trim, turrets, and wraparound porches are evidence of that.


Blogger Kolbrun Osk said...

I love Citys that are filled with history. like Edinburgh, Glasgow, Amsterdam, Reykjavik, Husavik, Eyrabakki and Copenhagen.

I cant wait to travel to USA next year and visit some historical city's and sites there.

I love soaking up the atmosphere from old buildings and old parks. There is just something about it.
Like with my 300+ year old spindle wheel, every time you touch something so old you feel its spirit and history.

November 21, 2008 at 7:03 AM  
Blogger Marie-Nicole Ryan said...

Muscatine Hill sounds like a place I'd love to visit, Annie. Obviously you're having a great time.

November 21, 2008 at 7:43 AM  
Blogger Annie Solomon said...

I'm so jealous of the places you've seen Kolbrun! We don't have that kind of history here in the States. Of course, we have our own kind, but it's paltry compared to the time line of Europe. And a 300-year-old spindle! What a writer could do with that!

November 21, 2008 at 9:31 AM  
Blogger Annie Solomon said...

Hey, MN! I know you'd love the Hill in Muscatine. Who'd ever think there was something interesting to see in an Iowan town. But the homes are amazing. And yes, I'm having a great time. Today's the last day, though. And, as always, I'm happy to be going home. Funny how your 'place' pulls at you even though you're enjoying being elsewhere.

November 21, 2008 at 9:33 AM  
Blogger Kolbrun Osk said...

Well Annie I do live in Iceland and I have only traveled to Scotland, Denmark and Holland :)

But true Travelling in Iceland is the best. I spent most of the summer in a motorhome all over the island.

And the spindle did inspire me when I was a child, it was my grandmothers and i used to tell the other children stories that would involve the spindle and the children around me.

November 21, 2008 at 10:52 AM  
Blogger grannyvon said...

I loved reading about your comments on Nashville. Although I live in LA(that's lower Alabama) I have never been to Tennessee. My granddaughter is a junior at Union University in Jackson, TN and one of her room mates is from Nash-ville. She has been home with her and just loves it there. I'm afraid that she will stay in that area when she graduates because she loves it up there so much. I had a call this morning and it was 16 degrees and she has an eight o'clock class. She was dreading having to go outside. I look forward to visiting her in the spring time and going to Nashville.

November 22, 2008 at 12:30 AM  
Blogger Annie Solomon said...

Kolbrun, I can't tell you how exciting it is to "speak" with someone on the other side of the world! I'd love to visit Iceland some day.

November 23, 2008 at 4:28 PM  
Blogger Annie Solomon said...

Grannyvon, Nashville is a very interesting place. And I hope, if your granddaughter does decide to stay in TN, that she visits LA often. And that you get a chance to come north a bit. Lots of fun things to do here. And the spring is wonderful.

November 23, 2008 at 4:30 PM  
Blogger Kolbrun Osk said...

Iceland would be lucky to get such a tallanted writer to visit :)

I love talking to people from all over the world. one of the reasons i love facebook and myspace so much

November 24, 2008 at 2:35 AM  
Blogger Annie Solomon said...

Thanks, Kolbrun! Maybe one day I'll get there...

November 24, 2008 at 10:41 AM  
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November 5, 2019 at 1:03 AM  

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