Cogswell Family Association
A non-profit corporation, organized in Mass., in 1989, dedicated to preserving the history of the Cogswell family



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Cogswell Family Reunion
Thursday, August 17 to Sunday, August 20, 2017
Nashville, TN

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Ryman Auditorium (116 5th Ave. No.).  Built as the Union Gospel Tabernacle in 1892, this historic venue became known as the “Mother Church of Country Music” while serving as the home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1943-1974. Well-restored with new historical exhibits, it’s open for tours 9-4 daily and also remains a busy concert site with remarkable acoustics.

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Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum (222 5th Ave.  So.,  open 9-5 daily). In addition to enshrining the stars of country music, this AAM-accredited institution is a state-of-the-art museum that draws on a huge collection of artifacts and media materials to preserve and interpret the music’s history with permanent and rotating exhibits and on-going educational programs.  Related features include the onsite Hatch Show Print shop and shuttle tours to historic RCA Studio B.

Other downtown music museums include the Johnny Cash Museum (119 3rd Ave. So., open 9-7 daily) and the George Jones Museum  (128 2nd Ave. No., open 10-8 daily), dedicated to individual stars, and the Musicians’ Hall of Fame (104 Gay Street in the Municipal Auditorium, open 10-5 Mon-Sat,  which honors outstanding players from many genres who have influenced Nashville’s recording history.


The 5 downtown blocks of Broadway closest to the Cumberland River make up a lively nightlife district where the fun starts long before dark, loaded with souvenir and western wear shops, restaurants, and honkytonk clubs with live music.  A major landmark is Ernest Tubb Record Shop (417 Broadway, open 10am-midnight daily), founded in 1947 and offering a huge selection of country recordings from all periods.  The most famous and colorful of the music bars is Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge (422 Broadway) , which has long shared a backdoor alley with the Ryman.  Nowadays, most of the bars feature covers of contemporary country music to attract a younger clientele, but Robert’s Western World (416 Broadway) remains a staunch bastion of earlier country styles .  Note that musicians along this ”Hillbilly Bourbon Street” play for tips, so please show your love at the tip-jar.


The old downtown business district occupies the high ground north of Broadway, and at its peak is the Tennessee State Capitol  (600 block of Charlotte, free tours 9-3 weekdays),  a Greek Revival masterpiece designed by William Strickland and completed in 1859.  The north side of the Capitol looks down on Bicentennial Mall, a large open-air site beyond James Robertson Parkway filled with  memorials and features interpreting Tennessee history, very much worth the walk in nice weather.

Like most of the city, downtown Nashville has drastically changed with recent developments and retail flight to the suburbs, but some evidence of its history has been preserved.   Numerous 19
th Century commercial buildings are restored in the National Historic District along
Second Avenue.  Another Strickland-designed building is the Downtown Presbyterian Church (154 5th Ave. N.), one of the best surviving examples of the Egyptian Revival style in the country, with stunning trompe l'oeil decoration in the sanctuary that is open to visitors 9-3 weekdays.  The Arcade  is an unusual 1902 indoor shopping mall between 4th and 5th Ave. in the 200 block.  The 1908 Hermitage Hotel (231 6th Ave. No.) is worth an interior visit for its ornate lobby and vaulted basement spaces.

There are also two major museums downtown: 
Tennessee State Museum  (basement of the TN Performing Arts Center at 5th & Deaderick, open Tues-Sat 10-5, Sun 1-5, free admission) houses extensive historical  exhibits,  although some galleries may be closed in August as the institution transitions to a new building.  Frist Center for the Visual Arts (919 Broadway,  open Mon-Sat 10-5:30, Sun 1-5:30) features changing exhibits, including in August a major show of Australian Aboriginal Art.


The Hermitage (4580 Rachel's Lane, open daily 8:30-5). Home of President Andrew Jackson, Nashville’s best-known  historic site, only a few miles from our hotel.

General Jackson Showboat (2812 Opryland Dr.).  Day and evening cruises on the Cumberland River aboard a period stern-wheeler, includes live entertainment.

The Parthenon (2500 West End Avenue, open Tues–Sat  9–4:30, Sun 12:30–4:30).  Full-scale replica of the original Athenian temple, built as the centerpiece of the 1897 Tennessee Centennial to tout Nashville’s cultural image as “Athens of the South.”

Belle Meade Plantation (110 Leake Ave., open 9-5 daily).  Grand antebellum home and grounds.

Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art (1200 Forrest Park Dr., open Tues-Sun 9-5).  Nashville’s oldest botanical and art institution, at the 1929 Cheek family mansion in the posh Belle Meade neighborhood.

Jack Daniel’s Distillery (Lynchburg, open daily 9-4:30).  One of TN’s top tourist attractions, making famous “sour mash” whiskey since 1875.  An hour and a half drive south of Nashville.


With the recent sesquicentennial of the Civil War, important Middle Tennessee sites have improved facilities and increased visitation.

Locally, Union fortifications have been restored at 
Fort Negley  (1100 Fort Negley Blvd., open Tues-Thurs 12-4, Fri-Sat 9-4), which now hosts an interpretive center about the Battle of Nashville.

About a half hour south, co-ordinated efforts now interpret the Battle of Franklin, centering on two historic homes: 
Carnton (345 Eastern Flank Circle, Franklin) and Carter House (1140 Columbia Ave., Franklin), both open Mon-Sat 9-5, Sun 11-5.

In nearby Murfreesboro,  
Stones River Battlefield (1563 North Thompson Lane , Murfreesboro, open daily 8-5) has been developed for visitors by the National Park Service.


The Grand Ole Opry (2804 Opryland Drive, shows begin Fri and Sat at 7pm) is America’s longest-running radio broadcast, now in its 92nd year on WSM 650 am.  Shows take place at the Opry House in the Opryland complex not far from our hotel and feature an array of classic country stars and up-and-coming guest artists.   Advance tickets are required, and exact schedules and artists are not announced until the week of each show. 

Ernest Tubb Midnite Jamboree (2416 Music Valley Drive, 10 pm Sat) is another  local live-audience radio tradition, and this one’s free.   In 1947, Opry star Tubb began the midnight broadcast at his Broadway record shop immediately following the Opry show.  Nowadays it’s taped a couple of hours ahead of time at Troubadour Theater in the Opryland-area strip mall.

The Station Inn (402 12th Ave.  So.; shows begin 9-ish Mon-Sat) is another hardcore country holdout venue, specializing in bluegrass and related forms of acoustic stringband music.  In the once-funky “Gulch” near the Union Station train yards, it’s now surrounded by new high-rises.  If you like fiddle and banjo music, this is the place.

The Bluebird Café  (4104 Hillsboro Pike, usually 2 shows daily beginning about 6) is the best-known of numerous club venues devoted to songwriters.  Shows usually feature several singers “in-the-round,” taking turns showcasing songs they’ve written, from famous hits to new material.  Audiences sometimes wait in line for up to an hour for the second show, so arrive early.

3rd & Lindsley (18 3rd Ave. So.) and City Winery (609 Lafayette St.)  are more sophisticated “listening room” clubs near downtown.  Both feature different styles of music , often by bigger-name performers, and serve food as well.  Advance ticket purchases online are advised at both.

Nashville Palace (2611 McGavock Pike) is the most notable independent club in the Opryland area.  Shows by name performers are irregularly booked in the large rear hall, but the “Front Room” bar features a non-stop lineup of good singers and bands in the same vein as clubs on Lower Broad.

 Note:  Click on"blue" names of attractions to link to websites where addition information can be found.  Also, performance schedules for mid-August are not yet announced, and I’ll issue an update with more specific entertainment recommendations as August draws closer.

There is a special treat on Monday, August 21, 2017: a TOTAL ECLIPSE of the SUN and Nashville is the ideal place to watch. 
Click here for more information.



For membership information please visit the Membership Form Page. 
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