Frances Nelson Omohundro passed away on May 5, 2016 at the age of 99. She and her husband, the late John M. Omohundro, Jr. had resided at one of the oldest and loveliest homes in Bluefields for nearly 50 years and played active roles in the Bluefields and Donelson communities.
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On May 16, 1946, the very first edition of the Donelson Diary was published. The residents and neighborhood of Bluefields were prominently featured in that first edition, as well as in every edition that followed, throughout the Diary's many years of publication.
This weekend most Bluefields neighbors would have received a letter from the Tennessee Historical Commission verifying that their property has been placed on the National and Tennessee Registers of Historic Places by the National Park Services of the United States Departments of the Interior on March 22, 2016.
What an unbelievable honor and privilege for our neighborhood to receive this designation.
The development of the Bluefields subdivision began in 1929 by the Bransford Realty Company of Nashville, Tennessee. Home construction began in the early 1930's, with fifty to sixty homes built by the Bransford Realty Company by the end of 1938. Stanford Realty company took over the building of homes in Bluefields in 1938, which began the diversity of styles that can be see today throughout the neighborhood . These homes were built thru the 1940’s up to 1950. And proudly these are the homes that have now been recognized by this designation.
What is most inspiring to me about this designation is the circumstance in which it came to be. In 2014 Bluefields faced an horrific challenge when AT&T planned to install a 120 foot cell tower next to residents properties at the Donelson Pike entrance (along the railway line side). It was presented to the residents as a “done deal” with nothing that could be done to stop it. I have no doubt that had it proceeded it would have changed our neighborhood forever…. And in an ironic way that is exactly what it did.
Kara Siejakowski working with her husband Joe provided leadership for the “No Cell Tower In Historic Bluefields” campaign which bought many neighbors together as we all worked together to stop the cell tower from being built. In researching many laws and legalities it was established that Bluefields was eligible to be listed as an historic neighborhood and that designation by itself gave us a critical argument as to the value of our neighborhood and the potential and irreversible damage this cell tower would bring. With the cell tower being proposed on railway land this historic designation also gave us some form of a federal argument in terms of protection.
Tennessee Historical Commission were contacted by Kara and they quickly came by to review our neighborhood. They clarified in writing in May of 2014 that our neighborhood was indeed eligible for National Register which became a very valuable document from that point on in our negotiations. And as we all know now in early June of 2014 we gathered as a neighborhood to announce and celebrate that the cell tower had been defeated!
Going forward almost two years and the neighborhood completed all administrative requirements for our application and ultimately we received final approval this March. (We were also very fortunate to receive a grant to pay for the documentation of our neighborhood which I believe exceeded ten thousand dollars.)
SO what started off as a desperate move to save our neighborhood has blossomed into this incredible honor and recognition. You simply can’t write a better story about a neighborhood with its back against the wall and neighbors coming together to not only save their neighborhood but ultimately facilitate a designation of this magnitude. From something very bad came something very good!
I would like to recognize Kara for her tremendous work and energy on this designation. Kara also organized the Historic Preservation Committee that promoted and educated the neighborhood including hosting several information sessions with Tennessee Historic Commission that were held at Fifty Forward. Thanks to Vicki Beare who also worked with Kara and continues to work on neighborhood history today and hats off to neighbor Nancy Donavan who had advocated historic preservation within our neighborhood for many years. A big thank you to Councilman Syracuse for supporting our application as well as the continued support and leadership he provides to Bluefields and to Donelson!
I am ordering my families plaque today and it will be proudly placed on our homes front entrance. I am sure I will have many stories to tell friends and family in the future about this special designation and how it transpired. And hopefully 50-100 years from now our story will live on and be shared by future generations living here in Nashville’s newest historic neighborhood called Bluefields!
Congratulations to all our neighbors – below are details and copies of the letter you should have received including information about Tax Credits for rehabilitation. I would encourage you to order your plaque as soon as you can.
If you felt you should have received a letter but did not please --contact Claudette.Stager@tn.gov or call (615) 770-1089.
Hi guys I attended a great meeting hosted by Councilman Jeff Syracuse Metro Council District 15 tonight. The first steps in making Donelson Village walkable. Project managers and engineers were on hand to explain their projects. We are looking at a sidewalk with grass strip running along Lebanon Road from Graylynn to Bluefields and coming just into Bluefields Avenue. This is slated for this summer so very soon you will be able to walk safely out of our neighborhood to several fast food restaurants and also onto Holy Rosary and even business further down with a proper crossing at Graylynn to allow you to cross Lebanon Road and head into Donelson Village (or onto other restaurants and shops)....
Second exciting project is a sidewalk out of Donelson Station across Lebanon Road into Donelson Plaza (upto Old Lebanon Road). Currently this is not a great walking route once you cross the road so this project will allow folks coming by train or from Bluefields/surrounds to safely walk towards the farmers market, McNamara's, Phat Bites and Homegrown Taproom (and lots of other business). Also allows a safer route to Donelson Station for folks that live behind or near Donelson Plaza. This sidewalk will also have a grass strip and gutter between sidewalk and road.
I am excited! These projects will pave the way to more obvious connecting projects for the future so it is definitely time to start Walking the Walk!
Interested in Walkability in Bluefields and Surrounds? - visit our Walk Bluefields Facebook Page...
A community meeting hosted by Jeff Syracuse Metro Council, District 15 will be held on Tuesday, April 26 at 6:30 p.m.
Three sidewalk projects are coming to the heart of Donelson! A community meeting already took place last Fall about the project that will connect Stanford Montessori to the Donelson Library. This meeting will primarily be about two projects. One will be on Lebanon Pike from Bluefield Avenue to Graylynn Drive. The other will be on JB Estille Drive from Lebanon Pike to Old Lebanon Pike. Please come learn more about these projects and give your input! Metro Public Works and the project consultants will be present to give us more information and receive feedback from the community.
Many thanks to Donelson Church of Christ for hosting this community meeting. It will be held in the chapel. Address is 2706 Old Lebanon Rd, Nashville, TN 3721
Be sure to visit the new website for the Strategic Plan for Sidewalks and Bikeways update that's underway. Get involved and provide feedback at http://nashvillewalknbike.com/.
Metro Public Works is beginning its outreach for the 2016 Strategic Plan for Sidewalks and Bikeways Update, known as WalknBike, and we want your feedback!
The kickoff meeting will be on Friday, April 15 from noon to p.m. at Nashville Public Library, 615 Church St. Representatives from Metro Public Works and the consultant team will provide an overview of the yearlong project. This will also allow Nashvillians the chance to comment on your experience with sidewalks and bikeways and what you want to see in the future.
You can offer your feedback for the upcoming plan by taking the first community survey, which should take only a couple of minutes. Additionally, you can add your comments to this interactive map. The map allows you to pin point exactly where sidewalk and bikeway improvements need to be made.
Your voices and participation are the key to Nashville having a world-class network of sidewalks and bikeways.
For more information, please be sure to visit the WalknBike website.
There was a packed house at Clover Bottom mansion for the TN Historical Commission's meeting this past Wednesday, with lots of Bluefields residents in attendance. And... after an impressive presentation and slideshow highlighting the historical and architectural significance of our homes (presented by the Metro Historical Commission), the State Review Board voted unanimously to accept our listing nomination for the National Register of Historic Places!
The nomination and certifying recommendations will now be submitted to the National Park Service in Washington, D.C. for final review and listing by the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places, who will make a listing decision within 45 days. Residents will then receive a letter confirming the designation, along with information on ordering a bronze plaque if they wish.
Many thanks to everyone -- Bluefields residents working independently and members of both Metro and Tennessee Historical Commissions -- who worked so hard to make this happen!
For more info: http://www.nps.gov/nr/national_register_fundamentals.htm
Calling all Bluefields neighbors! Please join us this Wednesday to witness a milestone in the History of Bluefields, as the Tennessee State Historical Commission assists in the completion of Bluefield's nomination to the National Register of Historic Places before the State Review Board. Wear your Blue -- we'll see you there!
Meeting location and time:
Tennessee Historical Commission, Clover Bottom Mansion
2941 Lebanon Pike
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
All Bluefields neighbors are invited to come to the Low Country Boil today (Saturday, Oct. 3) from 4-6 at 2708 Overhill Drive. President Ray Mosely tells us that tents have been set up -- and a great Beatles cover band will be entertaining us -- so, no matter the weather, we hope everyone can come by for some great music and food!!!
2708 Overhill Drive
Sat., Oct. 3, 2015
4pm to 6pm
Rebecca Anderson Hunt, daughter of former Bluefields resident James Thomas "Jim" Anderson, contacted us today with news that her father has recently passed, at the age of 81. He was the son of Thomas Loyd and Pauline Mize Anderson, who lived at 2730 Bluefield Avenue from about 1948 to the 1980's.
Rebecca related how much she had loved the house and the neighbors when she'd spent time here in the 70's -- and recalled how, when she was just learning to drive, her grandmother Pauline Anderson had often made her drive her and all her friends (Bluefields neighbors) to the doctor in her big Ford LTD!!
A few weeks ago, I decided to finally devote some time to documenting the Bluefields families listed in the 1940 U. S. Federal Census. The census taker (a Mrs. Oda Mai Britt) made the task pretty easy, since she had clearly written "Bluefields Subdivision" in the left margin on all 7 census pages. There were 46 households listed, beginning with the Ora J. Stocker family and ending with the Donald E. Sanders family.
In reading all the names, occupations, etc. included in the census data, I naturally began wondering which house each of these families had lived in. The census records, however, only show the order in which each household was visited. They don't include the house numbers or Bluefields street name. So, it's difficult to know exactly what route Mrs. Britt travelled on those two days in April 1940 when she wound her way through our neighborhood interviewing families.
The next part of my research involved documenting what year each house in Bluefields was built, then searching Metro property records for names that matched those on the census. That's been a pretty slow process - especially since some of the records and deeds I looked at were more complete than others - but I did find a few matches. (I've also been simultaneously researching some of the fascinating people I discovered who were early residents. More on them in the coming weeks!)
Since I know I'm not the only one in the neighborhood who enjoys this kind of research, I would LOVE it if any of our Bluefields neighors could offer additional info (such as, "Oh, the Griggs family lived in such and such house..."). That would certainly help fill in some of the historical blanks!!
Meanwhile, here's the documentation I have so far:
Bluefields in 1940 - Click Here
I was saddened to hear today that Adelaide Friedli (Mrs. Ernest) Niederhauser has recently passed away. She worked with her husband and other relatives in the family business, Swiss Farm Dairy, which occupied the land where the present-day Bluefield Square is located.
According to her obituary, she was 105 years old at the time of death, and had lived unassisted at Brandywine Farms in Old Hickory until the age of 104.
Click Here to read Adelaide Niederhauser's obituary
(The date of her death is incorrect in the obituary. I believe it should read June 29, 2015.)
For those who have not heard, I also learned that Mrs. Niederhauser's daughter-in-law, Sally Ann Niederhauser, passed away earlier this year.
Many thanks to neighbor and longtime Bluefields resident (and Niederhauser family member) Kim Elkins for sharing this news with us.
Bluefield neighbors Ray Mosley & Jeff Pratt teamed up recently to replace the damaged sign post at the Bluefields/Spring Valley Road entrance area. A truck with a trailer that wasn't very secure hit the post last Sunday morning breaking the post at base (beyond repair) and also taking out the flower basket (still missing at this stage). Unfortunately we did not get the tags but it does highlight the ongoing problem of speed coming off Lebanon Road.
As you can see by the attached photo Ray and Jeff a great job and in a very quick manner. I can say as a neighbor I certainly appreciate the speed in which this was tackled and fixed. The cost to replacing the post was estimated around $150.00 not counting the labor and time of Ray and Jeff.
If you would like you would like to contribute to the cost involved in this repair please click here and fill out our donation form (and you will then be directed to Paypal to make the donation).
Any additional donations we receive over $150.00 will be used for some new plants in that area (to match the two other triangles along Bluefield Avenue which are both looking superb this summer...)
Thanks again to Ray and Jeff for their fine work!
We have all driven by the War Memorial on Lebanon Road (opposite Bluefields Entrance). It not only represents the memory of those who have died or were injured fighting for their country but it is also a welcoming entrance area to Donelson Village.
So it is exciting to be able to share an update of the following improvements and upgrade to the War Memorial (with efforts being led Brian McClanahan of the American Legion Post 88 and the Donelson Girls Scout Troop 391/1421.) By all accounts this is also great step forward in the revitalization of Donelson Village.
Here is a summary of what you will be seeing happening in the upcoming months.
Improvements to the American Legion Auxiliary Post 88 War Memorial and Grounds
We are currently working with Home Depot in Hermitage to place a bid with their corporate office to donate much of the supplies and labor needed for this project. Our post has been blessed to have been awarded grants from the Home Depot Corporation in the past and look forward to continued association with them.
1. New POW/MIA & 4 DOD Service FLAGS to be installed.
Logistics required to determine minimum distance required from the utility pole and roadway. The flag poles will need to be set 2 feet into the ground so we will need to verify with TN One Call for gas/water lines, etc.
2. The Monument
The monument will be cleaned and structurally checked. The loosened "hearth" stone at the foot of the monument will be reattached. A stone floor will be laid encircling the monument to aid in preventing future damage from mowers.
3. Poppy Flower Bed
Poppies and Tennessee Iris' has already been erected on the grounds in front of the monument (as a Girl Scout project for the Silver Award-2nd highest award-by Donelson Troop 391/1421). The height of this bed will be reduced by one layer of block reducing the profile of the bed to approximately 25 inches above ground level and preserving the full view of the monument.
We plan on putting landscape fabric in the bottom of the bed and plastic on the inside walls to prevent dirt from coming out between the blocks and weeds growing through them. The bed will have mood lighting with a dozen or more solar lights placed in the bed at flower top height.
4. The Walkway
We are planning an ADA compliant path of large stepping stones laid edge to edge of a similar color as the stacked block bed. The path will go from the monument to the bed, around the bed on the Old Lebanon Pike side, to the American Flag pole and with at least one extension toward the Old Lebanon Pike curb.
5. The American Flag Pole
Improve/fix damaged edging around the flag pole island, paint edging white. - Move lighting fixtures inside the protective edging to avoid damage. Clear and line bottom of rock bed, clean/replace river rock stone within flag pole edging.
6. Electrical & Lighting
Run underground electrical conduit from one of the utility poles on the property to provide for lighting of the five flag poles and both the front and back of the monument. If this could be done from the utility pole closest to the monument it would save cost & time. Electrical lines will have to be laid by hiring an electrician at the cost of the American Legion. Hopefully we can have this work donated to the Legion or the city/NES will provide this under some provision for community improvement.
7. Water Access
There is a water cover on the property just east of the utility pole near mid-property, along the Old Lebanon Pike edge. We would like to run a water line, with a locking bib, to the poppy bed for watering the flowers during high temperatures or drought conditions. (Additionally we are considering a future water feature nearby or associated with the Poppy Bed.) Water lines and plumbing work will have to be accomplished by a plumber at the cost of the American Legion. Hopefully we can have this work donated to the Legion or the city/Metro Water Services will provide this under some provision for community improvement.
8. Grass and Trees
Home Depot will aerate and spread 50 pounds of grass seed and fertilizer on the property to improve the overall appearance of the memorial. The Auxiliary wishes to plant a Dogwood Tree on the property, likely west of the flower bed.
For more information about this exiciting project (or to get involved as a volunteer or to donate to this project)- please contact:
American Legion Post 88
Based on Music City Star ridership being up 20% from last year the MTA/RTA is now in the early stages of planning a couple of side rails for long-term planning of increased use of the line (Source Jeff Syracuse - Metro Council District 15 Candidate). This is great news for neighbors living on the Nashville Eastern Railroad line with Bluefields sitting in the most enviable position opposite Donelson Station. Since the AMP was rejected by Nashville residents the conversation has moved to commuter Rail as the most viable form of 21st century travel.
Please come on out and lets get Bluefields looking clean and green on Saturday April 11th from 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m *... all neighbors and friends are welcome to pitch in and help!
Keep America Beautiful's Great American Cleanup, the nation's largest community improvement program, takes place annually from March 1 through May 31, involving an estimated 3 million volunteers and attendees. Bluefield Avenue in particular has accumulated trash over the winter in particular at entrance areas and our focus is to pick up trash from one end of Bluefields Avenue to the other to make sure that the great landscaped common areas are our major attraction as folks drive thru our neighborhood (we also believe this will deter people from discarding trash along Bluefields Avenue). We will be setting up 2 primary stations in Bluefields as we did in 2014...
Bluefields Neighbor Stacey Harrison Boyd is hosting a Herb & Plow Farms CSA group at her home in Bluefield again this year. Starting in May, each week members get a box of fresh fruits and veggies direct from the farm - no GMO's, pesticides, or herbicides! Pick up will be on Tuesdays, 5-6....TWO share sizes to choose from & THREE payment options (1-pay for season in advance, 2-pay monthly, 3-pay weekly....this is one of the only CSA'S that offers weekly payment system).
Drop in for just a minute to sign the petition or stay and chat with Jeff about Donelson's future and his vision for the community.
Petition Drive Details:
Sunday March 8, 2015 - 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.
David & Maggie Sidlinger
279 Cumberland Circle
Jeff is ready to kick this campaign into high gear and work hard to meet with as many neighbors, faith leaders, business and organizations as possible across the 15th District!
Please join us to meet with Jeff and sign his petition to be officially placed on the ballot!
Print hard of flyer to share with your neighbor
Learn more about Jeff Syracuse:
I spent a great deal of time thinking about what the core values of the campaign should be. “The Soul of a City Lies in the Hearts of the People” is a phrase that went through my mind while reading one of the first articles that put Nashville in a national spotlight. It was from January 2013, written by Kim Severson of the New York Times, titled “Nashville’s Latest Big Hit Could Be the City Itself”. It is very well written and made me think a lot about our city from a big-picture perspective in terms of where we were, are, and going and also how Donelson’s future plays a part in that.
To keep up with all the latest news around Donelson subscribe to Jeff's e-news with includes updates from Neighborhoods, Schools, Business and Non Profit - subscription option can be found on Jeff's home page - http://www.jeffsyracuse.com