Nashville History Lesson On The Background Of Briley Parkway

Dated: 05/15/2019

Views: 374

by TJ Anderson

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Photo: Lady Bird Johnson speaks with Nashville mayor Beverly Briley and an unidentified woman at the Hermitage in 1967, via Tennessee State Library and Archives.

Getting to know Nashville real estate means getting to know a lot of names that, at first, might seem to have mysterious origins. I've written about a lot of them — Shelby, Demonbreun and Granny White included.

You can understand a lot about Nashville's present by learning about Nashville's past, I think. So with that in mind, here's another Nashville History Lesson, this time on the "Briley" behind that famous Parkway we all take to the Grand Ole Opry House.

Who is Nashville's famous 'Briley'?

The answer to “Who’s Briley?” has been a little different ever since current mayor David Briley took the job here in Nashville. Currently, he's probably the best-known Briley in Nashville. But he also tracks back to the Briley that put "Briley" all over road signs in Nashville.

Mayor David Briley is a Nashville native with a key Nashville pedigree: He's the grandson of Clifton Beverly Briley, who went by Beverly, and who's written in the history books as first mayor of the then-freshly consolidated Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, elected in 1962 and serving until 1975.

Like our current mayor, Beverly Briley (a Vanderbilt University alum) started his career in law, before moving into politics. The elder Briley was popular enough to get reelected for three consecutive terms as Nashville’s mayor, in 1967 and again in 1971.

Fun fact: When he was a sprightly 18 years of age, Beverly Briley became the youngest Tennessean to be admitted to the bar, before he headed off to the Navy to serve in the second World War. Judgeships followed, then city politics, and a lifetime focus on solving urban housing, schooling and local government issues. He died in 1980, at the age of 66, leaving behind a Nashville legacy and family that’d follow in his footsteps.

Another fun fact: Like his grandfather, Mayor David Briley's given first name is Clifton.

Construction on the Parkway that was given the Briley name kicked off in 1959, and today, it hosts many a commuter and Opryland visitor, along with a trail of families headed to Nashville Shores during the summer.

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Photo: Aaron Kelly/Flickr 

Key factoid for the newcomers: Your phone’s digital assistant might call it “Brill-ey” Parkway, but it’s pronounced with a long I, like “smiley,” or like another famous sometimes-Nashvillian, Miley (of another famed local family, the Cyruses).

Have some other Nashville names you’re feeling curious about? You can ask Siri, or ask me… I’m always happy to share tales about the city I love, work in and call home.

Reach out to TJ Anderson Homes any time — especially if you’re thinking about buying or selling a home in the Nashville area. I love Nashville trivia, but Nashville real estate is my passion (and my business).

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TJ Anderson

TJ Anderson is a Nashville Realtor with Benchmark Realty who's helped countless clients both buy a home and sell a home in Nashville, Tennessee. He blogs about Nashville regularly, from Nashville-area....

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