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eastside a retrospective of Gallatin Road through color, places, people and things


a retrospective of Gallatin Road through color, places, people and things. ŠAnna Thomsen

May, 2009 Senior Thesis University of Tennessee Graphic Design Program All content, book layout and Photography taken by Anna Thomsen Size: 10X8 inches Type:

Cover and chapters- Times Regular 300 point Interview chapters- Times Regular 200 point Intro Paragraphs- Times Regular 10/22 point Interviews- Times Regular 10/18 point

All photography was taken or filmed by Anna Thomsen using either a Canon Powershot A560 or a Panasonic Mini DV camcorder. This book was designed in Adobe InDesign CS4 on an Apple Macbook Laptop It was printed by


eastside a retrospective of Gallatin Road through color, places, people and things University of Tennessee Graphic Design senior thesis project by Anna Thomsen

This book is dedicated to my family, especially my mother, Kristina Thomsen. Thank you for moving me to this wonderful place, and always having the drive and ingenuity to make me do things that have been out of my comfort zone. You gave me the confidence to take on this project and I know that with you on my side I will be able to take on the world. I love you Momma.

In 1993 my family moved us from a busy street on Music Row into a big house on Fatherland Street in the heart of East Nashville. I fell in love. This new neighborhood had a whole plethora of wonderful discoveries that made for a really wonderful childhood for me. Suddenly I had a bunch of friends to play with and parking lots to ride bikes in and hills to sled down in the winter. I spent the summers playing truth or dare and selling lemonade with my neighborhood friends. I watched the area grow and change and move from a sketchy undesirable place to live to a place that is hip, different and laid-back. East Nashville is known to have some of the best neighborhoods as well as some of the worst with its mixture of historical old Victorian homes and cottages as well as low-income housing. For decades, East Nashville had slipped into decline. The Cumberland River and interstates set it apart from downtown but low housing prices may have been a blessing in disguise. As struggling artists and musicians were squeezed out of more desirable neighborhoods, they landed in East Nashville where rents were cheap. Ever since a devastating F5 tornado hit in 1998, there was a revitalization of the area. People took their insurance money and began to renovate their homes leading to many parts of East Nashville becoming better than they ever were. Families and urban professionals began to move in and before long there were all kinds of people living in the area. East Nashville’s diversity is a big benefit. All manner of income levels,

ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientation and lifestyles can be found here. A lot of free thinkers are in East Nashville’s cultural mix. Now a hip and happening area, there are a slew of restaurants and bars. People can eat sushi, traditional southern, Mexican, Italian and just about everything else. Bars are choked with people on Friday and Saturday nights and after Tennessee Titans football games. The Titans’ 68,800-seat home, LP Field, is less than a mile from Five Points. Its a very trendy area, which has its ups and its downs. Having lived in this area since before it was “hipster and cool” I feel like I have some sort of special claim to the area that other people don’t. While I certainly love being able to get sushi without crossing the river and working in the swanky art gallery during the summer, I feel like the old side of East Nashville is disappearing. The grit and dumpsters and hand painted signage are becoming a thing of the past, being quickly replaced by brand new “quirky” condos and restaurants that bring in more big-sunglass-wearing hipsters than actual locals. Now, this is not a popular train of thought. The new families and urban professionals are all for seeing some of the things pictured in this book go away because to them they represent a side of East Nashville that is attached to crime and the low income population which used to make up the majority of inhabitants in this area. But to me, these are the things that have always defined East Nashville in my mind– amazing spicy chicken served in a paper tray or a 40 oz.

from the discount tobacco are as much a part of my experience of East Nashville as the vintage clothing stores and historical home tours. In the 10 year plan for Nashville, one section highlights Gallatin Road, and illustrates it’s future as a renovated boulevard which looks more like the new concrete sterility of Cool Springs than it does my eastside home. This book is my attempt at documenting and preserving Gallatin Road as it exists today and making a point of showing the beauty, uniqueness and creativity on this street. I wanted to show Gallatin as I have always seen it and experienced it and invite you all to experience it with me. In the process I talked to all kinds of people and took over 500 pictures, breaking the book up into categories of color, location, interviews and found objects. These sections really show how this area operates and how beautiful and creative it can be, while still holding on to the grit and authenticity of an urban neighborhood. I want people who read this to know that this part of East Nashville doesn’t have to be scary or sketchy, and that while you may feel a little out of place, the people are accepting and kind and eager to talk about why they love East Nashville too. I know that it will only be a matter of time before this street follows the suit of the rest of East Nashville, and I can only hope that it can be done in a way that is tasteful and preserves the history of this area. And if all else fails this book will be a legacy of Gallatin Road as it exists today and why I, and everyone else, should appreciate it.



Gallatin Road is incredibly long and runs from Nashville all the way to Gallatin Tennessee. I am looking at a section of about 5 miles- from 900 Main Street to 3623 Gallatin Pike. I have selected certain buildings to highlight because of their architecture, signage, and because some of them have a special place in my heart, and the culture of Gallatin Road. Left is a full map of the area I am surveying. Each building will feature a map like this one, showing where it is located on the street and where it is in relation to the other buildings I have surveyed. I have included a little personal comment on each of the businesses as well.

Fluffo Factory 900 Main Street


* Someone once told me that they toured this mattress factory as a child. Its been shut down for some time now.

Beauty and Beyond

710 Gallatin Avenue

* This beauty supply shop has some of the best signage in the area in my opinion. Human hair 1/2 off!

Tire Shop

828 Gallatin Avenue

* Since I took this picture they have painted this building grey. My reasons for documentation exactly...

Fast Stop Auto Repair

914 Gallatin Avenue

* I took my VW here and it sat outside overnight and someone came and smashed all my windows.

Graffiti Building

926 Gallatin Avenue

* A guy outside this place said it would be the perfect location for the bar I want to open. Hmmm...

Weathered Building

931 Gallatin Avenue


* I love this textured old painted building. Apparently it used to house a screen printing shop that went under..

Hot Flix Video

1006 Gallatin Avenue

* The guy that owns this place would not let me interview him. But this “porno shop� has more family films than porn.

Big A’s Tire

1056 Gallatin Avenue

* The guy in this photo didn’t acknowledge me at all. He was not feelin’ it I guess.

The Old Krispy Kreme Building

1209 Gallatin Avenue


* I love this building, It has an awesome shape and these cool mirror windows with radiating bars. Super retro.

Coin Laundry Express

1204 Gallatin Avenue

* When I went in here to get some interviews they got really mad at me. Some people feel threatened by cameras

Abandoned Firehouse

1222 Gallatin Avenue

* I have always thought this building is so sad. It is the remains of a Gallatin Avenue that no longer exists.

Tight Fadez Barber

1464 Gallatin Avenue

* This is the best name for a barber ever. I bet they probably hook your fade up extra tight.

Street Customs

1102 Straightway Avenue

* Really awesome hand painted type with FLAMES up the sides! Totally hot-rod. Fabulous.

Collision Repair Service Inc.

1409 Gallatin Road


* I have always liked the blue of this building and the cool racing stripes that go around it. Its pretty bitchin.

Juncal’s Mexican

2412 Gallatin Road

* I took this picture in March. Now this store is gone and its only April! But I thought the yellow wall was striking..

Ghot Wings

2501 Gallatin Road

* I especially love the arrow in this shot. The light pole also made some conveniently complimentary shadows.

Instant Rental

2637 Gallatin Pike

* This is one of my favorite images in this whole book. I think its the simplicity and perspective that get me..

Fat Mo’s

2608 Gallatin Pike

* Wow if you want a freaking huge burger this is the place to get it. I think they have one that is seriously 2lbs.

Brown’s Automotive

2809 Gallatin Pike

* When I was taking pictures and filming this dude at Brown’s was watching. I think I weirded him out.

The Auto Lot

2812 Gallatin Pike

* This is pretty cool architecture that looks 50’s to me. I have always liked the moulding and big serif letters.

The Real Discount Tobacco and Beer

2828 Gallatin Pike


* Incidentally, I played “Hey Mister� at this location many a time before I was able to purchase my own alcohol

The Corner Discount Tobacco and Beer 2830 Gallatin Pike

* When we couldn’t get anyone at the Real Discount to buy us beer we’d try our luck here, directly across the street.

The Old Caudle Vet Clinic

2986 Gallatin Ave.

* This is where we had our family dog put to sleep a few years ago. That was a sad day..

Household Pawnshop

3100 Gallatin Ave.

* When I went into this pawn shop to see if I could interview anyone they said no.

Eastend Appliances

3111 Gallatin Avenue


* The outline here reminds me of graffiti and I love that. The way the red pops against the brown building.

Inglewood Drive-In Market

3216 Gallatin Pike

* This place sells the cheapest Faygo and cellphone chargers in town. Plus you gotta love the retro-ness.

Aluminum Building

3253 Gallatin Pike


* I used to pass this place all the time and never knew what it was. Its right next to where my homeless friend Jerry lives.

Caudle Vet Clinic

2915 Gallatin Pike

* This is the NEW vets office. I love the architecture of the building- its really old, you can tell by the detail.

Eastside (part 1)  
Eastside (part 1)  

My actual final thesis project, part 1