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Old 04-05-2016, 02:08 AM
868 posts, read 1,514,891 times
Reputation: 1147


I didn't claim it was an insurance giant now. Insurance played a major role in Nashville's economy for much of the 20th century with Life & Casualty and National Life & Accident both being based here. They each are responsible for two of the most prominent skyscrapers in Nashville (the L&C Tower being Nashville's greatest architectural skyscraper gem).

Interestingly, the insurance industry is partially responsible for Nashville becoming the music center it is now. National Life started WSM as advertising and began the Grand Ole Opry and Opryland before they were all spun off in the 70s or 80s. Both L&C and National Life were taken over by American General which ultimately became AIG, which still has a major office here. However, the insurance industry's role in Nashville declined with their acquisition by another company.

Nashville never dominated the insurance sector like it does healthcare or music, but early on it did play a major role in Nashville's growth.
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Old 06-01-2016, 06:07 PM
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The OP raised a good question. Let's look at this geographically. If you study any good topo or geo map -- I recommend the one at the Plaza below the state capitol, inlaid in the plaza by the fountains -- it's quickly obvious that Tennessee's ridges and rivers run north-south, roughly (in both senses of the word). It's much harder to travel east to west there. The state flag bears three stars for the state's "Grand Divisions." Each unique, the three divisions could be understood as Mississippi, Kentucky and North Carolina, stacked in line. Each one needed a capitol city (Eastern Tennessee) wound up with two). Nashville was the only logical choice for a state legislature to meet and try to hold this troika together. It also became the primary gateway to the South for north-south travel, as wheeled transport surpassed the paddlewheelers. The Union Army knew Nashville's strategic location, as the first Southern city to be occupied, and held at considerable cost.

In the 20th Century, the radio and trucking industries leveraged Nashville's centrality up to a regional level. Much more than TN's three other cities, Nashville has been linked to the outside world, from its colleges to its music, it's now a maker and a taker of world influences. I guess... I used to live there, and knew these things.
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