We all know Nashville has its share of music history, but some say the story of Jefferson Street just hasn't been given its due. They say a new historic marker is a step in the right direction.

A song titled 'Back in the Day' by late blues singer Marion James tells the story of Jefferson Street in the years following the 1940s. It was a place lined with night clubs and businesses serving the black community in a segregated Nashville. At the heart of it all was Club Baron. 

"We had something here on Jefferson Street that was important to our culture," said Lorenzo Washington of Jefferson Street Sound Museum.

The Marion James song was recorded at Washington's studio in the museum. Washington's mission is to share stories of places like Club Baron, a place that once hosted performances by legends like Little Richard, B.B. King, Ike and Tina Turner, and Jimi Hendrix. 

"It was before they were well-known," said Washington. "We had our own little city on Jefferson Street."

Washington said the music stopped when the interstate arrived. 

"They tore up Jefferson Street in two, three different places in order to build the bridges," he said. "The businesses were losing because people could not get to them. Residents were moving out because of the dust and the traffic."

One of the few surviving links to an era of great music is the old Club Baron building now known as Elks Lodge. 

"It was being forgotten, because it wasn't taught in school," said Washington. "That's the only one still standing that provided big-time entertainment back in the day. We were losing the legacy of the buildings of Jefferson Street in Nashville." 

A new historic marker now tells the story of the former Club Baron and Jefferson Street. The Metro Historical Commission said the 2017 metro budget allowed for each district to place a historic marker. The Club Baron site was chosen on Jefferson Street.

"We started a lot of careers here on Jefferson Street," said Washington. "I feel we should not lose the legacy of the music."

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Reporter

Forrest Sanders is an award-winning reporter, videographer and editor at News4.

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