Street renamed after late long-time North Nashville pastor

A section of 4th Avenue North has been renamed to honor Reverand J.H. Johnson.
WSMV 4's Danielle Jackson reports.
Published: Sep. 24, 2023 at 11:12 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 25, 2023 at 4:58 AM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - In unison, churchgoers inside Cowan Street Baptist Church sang traditional Baptist hymns Sunday afternoon.

The special occasion was to honor the late Reverand James Houston Johnson, who led the congregation for 43 years.

Johnson, a pillar in the North Nashville community, became the pastor of Cowan Street Missionary Baptist Church on 4th Avenue North in April 1956.

In 1997, Johnson passed away after battling a chronic illness.

His three living children said they wanted to do something in the community that honored their late father.

In April 2023, Nashville’s Metro Council approved renaming a section of 4th Avenue after Reverend Johnson.

“Dad inspired us. And we have passed that on to our children,” said Arlene Wolfe, Johnson’s daughter.

During the afternoon service, many people shared their fondest memories of Reverend Johnson in front of the pulpit.

Many of Johnson’s family, friends, colleagues, and long-time church members stood in the street anticipating the unveiling of the new street sign. Several past and present elected officials like Sharon Hurt, District 19 Jacob Kupin, and Nashville’s Mayor-Elect, Freddie O’Connell attended the dedication ceremony.

Wolfe and Ruthie Holt, Johnson’s daughters, stood beside the street sign in awe of their late father’s legacy, commitment to serving others and the Lord, and the indelible impact he made during his lifetime.

“Dad was such an influence on this community up and down. Everyone knew him from East Nashville to North Nashville,” Wolfe said. “We are celebrating his legacy.”

“I thank my brothers and my sisters that we put our heads together and decided to do this for our loving father,” Holt said.

For more than four decades, Reverend Johnson has poured into so many and despite his passing his impression still stands high.

“We’re here to witness this. And that sign means more to me than anything, such an honor and a privilege to be here at this moment,” Wolfe said.