Historic Old Hickory Village
The historic neighborhood of Old Hickory has been called Nashville’s “best kept secret,” but it was anything but secret when it was built many years ago. In January 1918, as the “Great War” raged in Europe, the U.S. government contracted with the E.I. DuPont deNemours Co. to build the world’s largest gunpowder plant on 5,600 acres in the hairpin turn of the Cumberland River known as Hadley’s Bend. By the time the war ended on Nov. 11 – barely 10 months later – more than 3,800 buildings had been constructed, with housing for 35,000 people. What had been an ordinary rural section now became well-planned city. Here was everything that could be found in a modern town, post office, theaters, churches, a bank, fire department, a good sewerage system, Y.M.C.A. other buildings and schoolhouses.
The end of the war meant there was no longer any reason for Old Hickory to exist. By 1920, Old Hickory was a virtual ghost town. A group of investors called Nashville Industrial Corp. bought Old Hickory from the government and after selling off much of the plant’s equipment, sold the town and plant to the DuPont Co. in 1923. DuPont built many more homes over the next decade, using the same basic floor plans it had used as the government’s contractor on the original construction. DuPont maintained Old Hickory as a company town, repairing and renovating the homes on a regular basis, for the next quarter-century. In the late 1940s, as company towns fell out of corporate favor, DuPont sold hundreds of the Old Hickory houses to the employees who had been renting them. Hundreds of other “temporary” houses, most of them then 30 years old, were razed.
Today the Village of Old Hickory still stands in the shadow of the DuPont Plant, which continues to employ several hundred employees. The American spirit of the community thrives with historic homes, local shops, charming meat and three, a hip coffee house and a beautiful marina. Come spend a day at the beach area or walking the trails near Old Hickory Dam. Just like in the 1920s, the factory town look and feel remains but it’s the wonderful people that makes the Historic Old Hickory Village home.