Street names tell a lot about the history of a city. If you live or travel through Brentwood often, you’ve probably driven these streets dozens, if not, hundreds of times, but do you know the story behind these streets? Brentwood’s rich history is reflected in the names of many of the streets. In celebration of Brentwood’s upcoming 50th birthday, here’s the story behind 10 Brentwood street names.
1.Wilson Pike: Once upon a time the road was called Wilson Turnpike. Turnpikes were toll roads. It was named after James Hazard Wilson. He was the owner of many plantations in the area we now know as Brentwood, as well as in other states. He also owned a steamboat company. Considered one of the wealthiest men in the area, he built Ravenwood, Inglehame, and Oak Hall, and Midland, which is now part of Brentwood Country Club. Jimmy Wilson, a descendant, currently lives in Oak Hall.
2.Old Hickory Boulevard: Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States, was nicknames Old Hickory. Starting out as a self-taught lawyer, he served in both the house and senate, he was a justice on the Tennessee Supreme Court, and he became a national hero after his victory during the Battle of New Orleans.
3.Crockett Road: The Crockett family originally came from France with the name Crocketage, which was Anglicized upon arrival in the United States. They were prominent citizens of Brentwood and Williamson County. They were planters and artisans, tradesmen and professionals. One was known for creating the Crockett Rifle.
4.Granny White Pike: Granny White ran an inn that was known as the best between Louisville and New Orleans. Here patrons included Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, and the artist and Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton. Read more in the William Source article “Granny White’s Story Now Told in Brentwood Park.”
5.Frierson Street: Both Mt. Lebanon Missionary Baptist Church and the Brooks Memorial Methodist Church sat on Frierson Street, and were part of the Hardscuffle Community. These churches were known for their great revivals. The street was names after one of the ministers, Reverend W.D. Frierson.
6.Carothers: Dr. Robert Carothers held one of the original Revolutionary War Land Grants to property in Brentwood. His son, James Carothers built the original Cool Springs House as a two-room log house. The home was expanded many times between the 1830s and the 1970s.
7.General Douglas MacArthur Drive: What many people do not know is that MacArthur’s second wife, Jean Marie Faircloth, was from Tennessee. He called her his “constant friend, sweetheart, and devoted support.” They even visited the area not too long before his death, flying into Seward Airforce Base, now known as the Smyrna Airport.
8.Childe Harold Circle: While this street doesn’t say much about the history of Brentwood, the history of the name is interesting. It is the name of one of the infamous poet, Lord Byron’s most famous poems. One cold summer in 1817, Lord Byron challenged a group of literary friends to compose a ghost story that would make his blood run cold. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley rose to the challenge and created Frankenstein at the age of seventeen.
9.Edmondson Pike: Col. William Edmiston was a Revolutionary War hero, and like many of the other original families, came because of a land grant. William became involved with the community upon moving to the area, and served on the first jury in Williamson County. The name was eventually changed to Edmondson.
10.James Robertson Court: Brentwood has a street that honors the “Father of Tennessee.” He was an explorer, soldier, the Indian Commissioner, and a friend of Daniel Boone. Along with John Donelson, he founded Fort Nashborough. He is buried in the Nashville City Cemetery.
So, pick a road and after taking a relaxing drive, meander through the library or the internet and find out who traveled these roads before us.