October 22, 2012 The Thirteen Days of Halloween, Post 4
If there is one spot in Nashville that visitors are sure to see when they come to Music City, it that section of downtown Broadway they call Honky-Tonk Heaven, Hillbilly Highway or just simply The District. Consisting of the first five blocks of Lower Broad, plus the side streets branching off on either side, for decades it has been a mecca for lovers of Country music, or those just seeking a good time.
While it has been a favorite haunt of musicians trying to make a name for themselves for as long as anyone can remember, the haunting goes far beyond perspiring minstrels trying to make it in the business. There abide in the old buildings down there the spirits of old-time country stars, workmen and working girls from another era and even a Civil War ghost or three.
Take Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, for example. It’s smoke-stained walls and beer-stained floors have seen the greats of Country Music pass through its swangin doors–not to mention a few Rock stars as well. Behind it is an ally where the same ghosts are alleged to pass into the old stage door entrance of the Ryman Auditiorium–originally the home of the Grand Ole Opry.
Across the street are two old record shops that house hidden gold–golden oldies that is. Ernest Tubb used to house the Saturday Night Jamboree, and a few of the oldie musicians still return there on Saturday even though they’re long dead; nearby Lawrence Records also has its resident revenants as well.
Truth be told, just about every old building in downtown Nashville has a resident spook or two. I recently covered the District’s ghosts in more detail in Ghosts and Haunts of Tennessee, but as I wasn’t able to include photos in that book for technical reasons, I thought I’d post a few here and also on Pinterest. My book, of course, has all the details; but if you prefer to find out for yourself, this is the right time of year to do it! For more about the Ryman Auditorium’s historic hauntings, see Strange Tales of the Dark and Bloody Ground.