Should ugly buildings be preserved?

by Rachel Baker on August 30, 2014

There is a huge outcry centered around Nashville’s Music Row over demolition of historic music studios. The outcry has spurred debated over what the qualifications are for a historic landmark is or isn’t.

Nashville’s Music Row: Should ugly buildings be preserved?

As a teenager in the early 1970s, singer-songwriter Carlene Carter would trail behind her mother, the country music icon June Carter Cash, to RCA Studio A in Nashville. Within those walls, the elder Carter participated in recording sessions, attended meetings with the pioneering guitarist and studio co-owner Chet Atkins and made songs that are now considered classics. Many of the biggest musical figures from the late 20th century recorded there — Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Tony Bennett, Bob Dylan — and, most recently, the studio has been used by contemporary stars like Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert.

For those reasons, Carlene Carter considers the building “a holy site you don’t tear down.”

But the wrecking ball may be near. The building and many others located in Music Row, the nucleus of the city’s country music industry, is threatened by an economic boom that has sent property values skyrocketing and increased the metro area’s population by 25 percent between 2000 and 2012. In July, the site that houses Studio A was sold to a developer that has said it may be too decrepit to save; many fear the space will be razed and replaced with condominiums.

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