I hardly get down to Brentwood anymore. I live in Sylvan Park with my family, and my parents relocated to Cool Springs, downsizing from our Brenthaven home where I grew up when the last of the birds left the nest. While I frequently pass the Old Hickory Boulevard and Concord Road exits on my way to see them, I rarely get off and travel through town. And when I do, I’m always amazed at what a different place Brentwood is today versus the Brentwood I remember.
To be clear, I’m all for progress. I think development is great when done respectfully, tastefully and intelligently. Perspective is powerful, though, and it’s always enriching to know how the past has shaped the present and to understand the full picture of how a small town evolved into a bustling little city. As an adult, I have a bonafide soft spot in my heart for the Brentwood where I grew up … the two lane roads and cows in their pastures; the bubble gum you got at Carriage House Cleaners when you’d go in with your parents to grab the dry cleaning; the summers spent on Maryland Farms’ swim team; the train whistle I heard every night from my bed as it chugged southbound less than a mile from my home on Knox Valley Drive.
Whether you’re a life-long Brentwood resident or a newcomer who’s only recently made this favorite Southern suburb your home, I invite you to take a look at Brentwood past with me. It’s amazing how time changes things. And if you’re still feeling nostalgic when you’re finished reading, head over to the Facebook group “You Know You’re From Brentwood If…,” where you’ll find even more nostalgia resurrected by passionate Brentwood fans.
Popular Landmarks of Brentwood Past (and a Few That are Still Standing)
Travelers Rest Motel and Noble’s Restaurant
Travelers Rest Motel and Noble’s Restaurant were located on the southwest corner of Franklin Road and Old Hickory Boulevard. My dad stayed there when he traveled to Tennessee prior to us moving here in 1982; it was the only lodging option in Brentwood. Both the motel and the restaurant were torn down in 2001, and a Walgreens was built in its place.
Huff’s Food Town
Huff’s Food Town, owned by Glenn Huff, was located on Wilson Pike Circle in what is now The Snooty Fox. It was a small, family-owned grocery store that eventually moved into a new building across the street. Huff’s became a Piggly Wiggly, which eventually closed; the space is now inhabited by Brentwood Interiors.
Before there were movie megaplexes in all their hi-def, surround-sound glory, there was the Brentwood Cinema, a modest movie house with three screens and one refreshment stand. And while there was nothing super-mega about it, we felt BIG TIME when that place opened! It was simplicity at best, but it. was. AWESOME!
Chick-fil-A is undoubtedly the most popular place to spend a Tuesday night for Brentwood families. But before the chicken-peddling cows arrived, and even before fast food royalty Burger King was housed there, that was the location of Brentwood’s first fast food establishment: D’Lites! It was “healthy” fast food, a qualification that offered the only work-around for the city’s fast food restaurant ban.
The Brentwood Library
The Brentwood Library has enjoyed three locations in the past 30+ years. Prior to arriving at its current location at the end of Knox Valley Drive, it was located on Maryland Way behind the Tennessee Baptist Convention. And before that, it was housed in the Buchanan House, a beautiful, brick home that’s now owned by Brentwood United Methodist Church.
The WSM Tower
Brentwood residents past and present recognize this local landmark. The WSM Tower stands guard over the city; it’s very, very tall, and it’s thick stabilizing cables are pretty impressive. Now matter how strong they may be, I used to lay in my bed at night about a half-mile from the tower and wonder if it fell, could it reach my house?
The Murray Ohio helicopter
Bicycle and lawn equipment manufacturer Murray Ohio was headquartered in Brentwood at the corner of Franklin Road and Maryland Way. Longtime and past residents will remember the helipad out front and the thrill of seeing the company helicopter landing just a few yards from Franklin Road.
The red fire truck at Lipscomb Elementary
Lipscomb Elementary School on Concord Road had one of the most popular pieces of playground equipment around. The red firetruck was a continued source of entertainment for the schoolchildren for years.
And just for fun, remember when:
- Tom T. Hall used to park his bus in the Kroger parking lot?
- Red Geranium had the best pizza in town?
- SupeRx Drugs and Kroger were neighbors where CVS and Golfsmith are now found?
- Lee’s Apothecary was where you got your prescriptions filled?
- Brentwood Middle School was called Northside Junior High?
- Morrison’s Shoebox was where you’d get your back-to-school shoes?
- You could blow your entire allowance at Cat’s Records & Tapes?
- Up-and-coming (though never arrived) metal band Whyte Lace ran laps around the front yard of the Woodmere mansion where they were living?
We hope you’ve enjoyed the trip down memory lane. Find more Brentwood nostalgia at the “You Know You’re From Brentwood If…” Facebook page. Until then, we’re excited to see how this wonderful suburb grows!