A short historical timeline of the city:
1771 Thomas Spencer built cabins in Hendersonville
1790 William Henderson settled in area
Henderson was Revolutionary War hero
City named after him
Andrew Jackson purchased one of first lots in new city
1792 Bradford-Berry house built
1794 Indian ward ended
1798 Rock Castle completed by Daniel Smith
Smith began work as surveyor 1770
Married Sarah Michie 1773
Rock Castle first rock house built in Tennessee
1798 Beech Cumberland Presbyterian Church organized by Thomas Craighead
Log church built 1813
Stone building erected by William Montgomery 1828
1800 Road from Nashville to Gallatin completed
1801 William Henderson became first postmaster
1824 First United Methodist Church built
1859 L&N Railroad opened Nashville-Bowling Green route through Hendersonville
1866 Hendersonville population was 36
1885 Hendersonville had four stores and some churches
1951 Work began on Old Hickory Dam as part of the Tennessee Valley Authority's expanding project to provide electrical power to the greater mid-south United States.
Old Hickory Lake has 26 miles of shoreline in Hendersonville
Dam completed June 1954
1963 In keeping with President Eisenhower's Sister-City Program, Tsuru, Japan became Hendersonville’s "Sister City"
1968 Hendersonville incorporated and recognized as a sovereign municipality.
Square Miles: 34
Miles of city streets: 310 (as of 1990- considerable amounts of construction have been done since then)
2000 40,000 (est.)
Elevation: 846 feet above sea-level
Sister Cities within the US: Hendersonville, NC and Hendersonville, PA.
I first moved to Hendersonville in 1980, when I was seven years old. At that time, the town, despite its 17,000+ population, was mostly farmland and fairly small. Point in fact, the city wasn't even shown on some of the maps in those days. But as time went on, that would change. Hendersonville seemed destined to grow quickly while I lived there. In the short span of just ten years I saw strip-malls, department stores and brand new high schools practically erupt within the city's limits. With all the new additions to the city's landscape came, also, more people. The population, which had at first seemed quaint by comparison to San Diego (which is where I had moved from), almost literally doubled in those first ten years, seemingly right in front of my eyes.
Whole new living communities popped up out of nowhere and new faces flooded every nook and cranny of the town. The police force grew and commerce sky-rocketed. What had once been a sleepy Tennessee town was quickly becoming a hard-and-fast suburb of Nashville, which is some thirty or forty miles away. Hendersonville, in true pioneering and intrepid fashion, took on the challenge of the unexpected population boom and continues, to this very day, to expand and grow by leaps and bounds.
I lived in that city for the majority of my life and have seen it change drastically over the years. It's a little strange to drive by some places and remember, clearly, that I used to ride my dirt bike through the land those buildings now sit on, racing through trees and animal trails on my Huffy. Stranger still is when I drive through the town, after having been gone for a few months, and find that a building or business which had been there since my childhood has not only been closed, but replaced by something completely different or even grazed to the ground. Despite all of the changes, though, this city has still managed to somehow retain its small-town mentality and atmosphere. People are still as friendly as they ever were and there is a very palpable sense of innocence which continues to linger in its rolling hills.
Old Hickory Lake and Drakes Creek Park offer families some quiet and expansive acreage in which children can play in a relatively care-free area. Boating, fishing, skiing and even hunting are widely practiced year-round, weather permitting. One of the most refreshing things about this city is the greenery it offers. Trees everywhere. Grass, flowers of all types and proud oak trees litter the entire city and continue to thrive, for they are considered to be part of the town's charm and natural treasures. Plenty of shade down every street to ride a bike or simply sit down beneath a tree with an apple in your palm, your legs kicked back and idle fancies of floating down the Cumberland River, like some sort of modern-day Huckleberry Finn, floating through your mind as dogs bark in the distance and lawn mowers consume grass by the metric ton.
It's an idyllic and sleepy little town which is slowly, steadily, growing into maturity as a full-fledged city. I may have been born in West Hollywood, but Hendersonville, Tennessee will always be my home town.