Nashville Arcade

Between 4th and 5th Aves., Nashville, Tennessee

Historic tourist attraction that predicted the modern shopping mall


Overview Looking West

State flags line the upper level. The arcade looks pretty much the same as it did over 100 years ago.

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in February 2020




"The Nashville Arcade, extending between 4th and 5th Avenues in the city's downtown shopping area, is an open-ended bazaar composed of two two-story brick structures housing shops and businesses. Covering the mall is a steel and glass roof that gives the shoppers protection in all types of weather. The main body of the mall extends some 367 feet and is 20 feet wide.

"Shops and businesses line the sidewalk on either side. On the second level a balcony extends all around the four sides of the mall. Ornate iron grillwork lines the balcony not only for protection but decoration.

"It has changed remarkably little in the seventy years since its construction except for an elevator and a few streamlined facades, mostly on the ground floor.

"On the balconies of either end, billboards were used to advertise the wares of the tenants. These are no longer used."

"The Arcade opened in the spring of 1903 with Captain T.M.Steger as President. The opening day was a great social occasion with flags flying and Japanese lanterns gaily decorating the mall. For two decades following its opening, the Arcade was a center of social and recreational activities in Nashville.

"Some of the original shops were: The Ocean, Patterson's Novelty Shop, Blue Seal Baker, Bland's Fruit Stand. It has been said that the Arcade was a small town within a town, complete with its own mayor, where you could buy anything from a twelve cent hamburger to a $5,000 diamond."

Quotations from the National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination Form prepared by Mrs. Donald Drummond of the Jr. League of Nashville, Inc., January 5, 1972. A link to the document is listed below under "Sources."

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on May 22, 1973
Reference number
Areas of significance
Commerce; Architecture
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic functions
Professional; Specialty store
Current functions
Professional; Specialty store
Period of significance
Significant year

Update Log 

  • September 18, 2020: New photo from Bill Eichelberger
  • March 23, 2020: New photos from J.R. Manning
  • March 23, 2020: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated status, added description and added photos