If you’ve ever been into any of the four story buildings on Lower Broad or 2nd Avenue, you may find yourself wondering why, no matter what time of day it is, the music is always so loud.
You’re not trying to be a party-pooper, you think, but how is a man supposed to talk to his wife over lunch with all that racket?
The racket is for a reason.
See, during the Civil War, this part of Nashville was basically an open air brothel. Every building housed prostitutes. And I’m not going to lie to you and tell you some romantic story about how wonderful it was. It was, in general, pretty horrible and a pretty horrible way to make a living.
But it was a living, at a time when a lot of folks were starving.
Yes, women were treated poorly. Yes, they had diseases. Yes, often times they laid there and stared at the slow shadows on the wall passing while they waited for the soldiers to be done with them. And sometimes they were beaten, and robbed, and killed, and no one cared.
Yes, all of that. But…
If you go into those restaurants, the ones that admit to being haunted, they will tell you some sad tale of women who, a hundred and fifty years on, still mope around and have nothing better to do than to rearrange furniture and silverware.
But the truth is that, when it’s quiet, bar tenders will hear a woman clearing her throat at the end of the bar, the universal signal for “Poor me another one.” When it’s quiet, they can hear the silverware being pushed off the tables as if someone has taken her arm and brushed it all aside in one dramatic motion to make room for her butt or her hands and knees up there. When it’s quiet, you can hear the moans of dead women, the gasps, the shrieks, the screams, and those places, all trying to be respectable now, can only wish those noises sounded scary.