Present-day Lockeland Springs is on land which was a part of North Carolina’s western territory. These lands were granted, in 640 acre tracts, to veterans of the Revolutionary War as payment for services and to encourage western settlement. The Lockeland Springs area was acquired by Daniel Williams in 1786 and he built the first known structure in the area — a log house located near a hillside spring. Lockeland School now stands on this site.
In 1800, Williams’ entire land grant was sold to Colonel Robert Weakley. Ten years later, Weakley built a mansion on the site of the log house. Lockeland Mansion was named for the colonel’s wife, Jane Locke, the daughter of General Matthew Locke of Salisbury, North Carolina. Weakley was a member of the Tennessee Constitutional Convention, and subsequently served in both the state legislature and state senate, and as a member of Congress.
In 1889, part of Weakley’s land was bought by James Richardson, a prominent but ailing Nashville businessman, who determined that the waters of the Lockeland spring had curative powers. At the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, the water received a grand prize for its mineral composition and “salubrious quality.” The spring was later acquired by the Howe Bottling Company and its water was sold in Nashville until the 1940s.
The Lockeland Mansion was purchased in 1939 by the City of Nashville, which demolished it and built the school. In addition to the large acreage associated with the Lockeland estate, the Lindsley family owned land in present day Lockeland Springs. In the 1840s, Adrien V. S. Lindsley built the Italianate style Springside Mansion on what is now Lindsley Park Drive. A Union supporter, Lindsley permitted his estate to serve as an unofficial headquarters for generals George Thomas and James Wilson during the Civil War.
Beginning in 1887, and continuing thru 1902, the owners of both the Lockeland and Springside estates began to subdivide and sell off their land holdings. The subsequent homeplaces of John A. McEwen, M. T. Stratton, and C. F. Ordway were the namesakes for several streets in the neighborhood. Porter Pike (leading to Alexander James Porter’s ca. 1800 -1840 Riverwood Mansion), was renamed Vaughn’s Pike before taking the name Eastland Avenue in 1904. Finally, in 1925, the square block bounded by Woodland, Holly, 15th and 16th Streets — the Springside Mansion site — was subdivided for development. The house was demolished in 1933. In the same ways that modern suburban developments would not be possible without automobiles, development in Lockeland Springs – East End was dependent on the installation, by 1890, of electric streetcar lines linking East Nashville to the central business district across the river.
One streetcar line ran down Shelby Avenue; the other followed Woodland Street east, then north on North 16th, and east again on Eastland. A third streetcar ran along Gallatin Pike. The Woodland Street (1886) and Sparkman (Shelby) Street (1909) bridges facilitated access. Prior to this time, only the wealthy could afford to live in the country and make the daily commute from their estates to downtown. Streetcars gave the large middle class the opportunity to buy their own house-in-the-country on a quarter acre lot, away from the smoke and congestion of the city. In 1905, the Lockeland Springs and East End area was annexed to the city. In the same year, following default on a loan by the Edgefield Land Company, the Nashville Board of Parks acquired the land which was developed as Shelby Park. Lockeland Springs – East End is characterized by local variations on the architectural styles popular throughout the country between about 1880 and 1940.
The earliest houses, south of Woodland Street, illustrate modest Italianate and Queen Anne characteristics. As development progressed north and northeastward, Classical Revival details are apparent on the many cottages commonly referred to in Nashville as Turn-of-the-Century. Bungalows and romantic English Cottages completed the development of the neighborhood to the north, and on vacant lots which remained throughout the area. During this time, the neighborhood was home to broom and cigar factories, grocery stores and other retail shops housed in commercial structures at periodic intersections, and several still-standing churches. The suburban “motorized” Holly Street Fire Hall, built in 1913, was the first of its kind in Nashville. The 1900 census counted hundreds of neighborhood residents, including railroad officials, a cotton merchant, school teachers, grocery clerks, bank clerks, and others. In December of 1981, a portion of Lockeland Springs – East End was listed in the National Register of Historic Places as the East Nashville Historic District. The area is significant as an intact late 19th and early 20th century streetcar suburb with a high concentration of well-preserved homes illustrating the architectural styles — Eastlake, Queen Anne, Classical Revival, Bungalow, and English Cottage, and others popular among the Nashville middle class between about 1880 and 1945.
Excerpt of “A Preservation Study of the East End and Lockeland Springs Neighborhoods”
by Philip J. M. Thomason, MTSU