I’ve been working on this big long post for three days that brought to mind the story of the cursed Brentwood library. I was thinking of said story on our walk this morning, too, because who, now, would believe a story about construction in Middle Tennessee that included no reference to Mexicans?
Mull that over, folklorists.
Anyway, like any good story, I heard this from an ex-co-worker who heard it from a woman on the board of the Brentwood library back when they were building the new building which is right across the street from the WSM tower (if you’re looking at the library, your back is to the tower and if you’re looking at the tower, your back is to the library. I’m going to say they’re probably about a hundred yards, maybe a little more since the library sits so far back, apart).
This was right around the time that they found the ancient Native American baby grave right where they were trying to widen Hillsboro Pike there at the intersection with Old Hickory and the Native Americans were protesting the expansion and tying everything up in court.
Well, supposedly, as they were excavating the site for the new library, they found skeletons and the prospect of facing a similarly lengthy court battle and delay in the project loomed before the Library Board. And so, after a bitter fight, the Board and the Contractor decided to go ahead and not tell anyone about the skeletons and just build over them.
Dun dun dun!
Well, the main support structure of the Library is supposedly steal beams and, as I heard the story, the best folks for working on steel beam structures were also Native Americans, (Mohawks, apparently).
Well, as it turned out, while they were putting up the steel beam structure, they would hear voices, sometimes, and soft singing. The contractor was convinced, and had them convinced, that it was just that atmospheric circumstances were right and the beams were picking up the signal from the WSM tower across the street.
Now, this explained the singing and some of the voices, but it didn’t explain the voices that announced, “We’re still here.” or “I’m underneath you.” or the ones that would call the workers by names.
Finally, one of the workers came to the foreman and said, “the voices claim that this is their land, that they’re buried beneath us. We can’t work if it’s desecrating a grave site.”
“Then how will I finish the library?” the foreman asked, basically admitting that what the voices said was true.
“I don’t know, but it won’t be with us.” and all of the Native American workers walked off the job.
Of course, other crews came in and finished the work and if they heard anything, it was just chalked up to transmissions from WSM.
And, so they say, there are still times when you can be walking through the stacks of this brand new, beautiful building, when the atmosphere is ripe, and hear the faint sounds of the Grand Ole Opry humming along the metal bookshelves. And there are other times, when you are sure you’re alone, when you’ll hear people murmuring and sometimes you can just make out them saying, “We’re still here.”