December 23-24, 2000

The late John Egerton and I co-edited Nashville: An American Self-Portrait, an “intentional artifact”  documenting the city’s remarkable year 2000 through the work of scores of writers, photographers and other contributors. The book went to press in August 2001 and reached stores in late September. It thus became not just a multi-faceted portrayal of one of the most news-filled years in our history but also a portrait in deep detail of an American city at the moment before terrorism transformed the country.

Jim Ridley, now editor of the Nashville Scene, penned the day-by-day chronicle of the year that ran as a ribbon alongside the book’s essays, photos and art. I am posting some nuggets from that variegated ribbon as time permits.


Dec. 23—A deer hunter who ventured onto a Sumner County man’s property lies dead tonight. Shortly after 4 p.m., Tim Butler, 23, and a 16-year-old companion shoot a deer on property north of Gallatin belonging to Joel Summerlin. They return with a vehicle to haul their kill when Summerlin spots them. Summerlin fires on them with a high-powered rifle, striking and mortally wounding Butler. His companion is unhurt. Authorities are now searching for Summerlin, 39.

Dec. 24—Two years after a tornado demolished its century-old sanctuary, the congregation of St. Ann’s Episcopal Church in East Nashville comes home, starting with this evening’s emotional Christmas Eve services. Led by construction committee member Mark Brown, who bears a vessel of burning incense, church members march in procession from Holy Name Catholic Church, their temporary home of the past two years, down Woodland Street to their refurbished parish hall. Built in 1882, the church’s Victorian Gothic sanctuary was left in rubble by the tornado that ravaged East Nashville in April 1998. The sanctuary will not be rebuilt for another few years, but the Southern Baptist Executive Committee continues to store St. Ann’s treasured stained-glass windows, which date back to 1859…. On the eve of the Tennessee Titans’ game against the Dallas Cowboys, Coach Jeff Fisher is selected as the Tennessean of the Year by The Tennessean. Under Fisher’s leadership, the paper explains, the Titans have put an end to the acrimony and regional resentments fueled by their arrival, chiefly the rivalry between sister cities Nashville and Memphis.