For 82 years, it was the center of Nashville journalism. Two daily newspapers — the Banner and The Tennessean — called it home.
But as of this week, the building stands dark.
Journalist Leon Alligood worked for both papers. At a recent gathering of former staffers hosted by The Tennessean, Alligood recounted what he felt working in 1100 Broadway.
When I had a story that I was particularly proud of, I would come down to the press room to watch the afternoon newspaper come to life.
Those massive presses were in 1100 Broadway’s lowest level. Train cars had to back through the building’s doors to offload man-sized rolls of newsprint.
It made you dizzy to follow the paper as it snaked its way through the dozens of plates, each one imprinting a slice of the news of the day onto the speeding paper. As the eye followed the train of newsprint, a miracle occurred that would’ve made Gutenberg marvel. That never fails to leave me marveling. At the opposite end, coming down a conveyer belt like soldiers marching in review was the issue of the day.
Today, Gutenberg might also marvel at the internet, which has rapidly displaced newsprint.
The Banner went out of business two decades ago. The Tennessean has shifted its printing to other locations.
But Alligood still remembers the hum.
The sound and vibration emanating from the press meant that I had risen to the challenge of the day. And its familiar sound was a down payment for the next time. … A story waiting to be told, waiting beyond the doors of 1100 Broadway.
Alligood says he’s not saying goodbye, but thanks.