Built as a flour mill by Liberty Mills, the building was one of two grain mills in Nashville. A publication by the Nashville Chamber of Commerce dated 1900 boasted that the city ground more wheat than any city in the United States. William Litterer, mayor of Nashville from 1881 to 1883, became its first president. The flour was loaded onto railroad cars behind the building and hauled to the river for transport to the nations population centers.
The Fletcher Coffee Company buys the building to convert it into a coffee mill. The Fletcher & Wilson Coffee Company operates out of the building. The Fletcher-Wilson Coffee Company’s coffee brand was called, “University Club Coffee”
Dale Foods Company
The building earned its name when Perry Dale, Sr. and his sons, Perry Dale, Jr. and J. Grandstaff Dale purchased the building for their Dale Foods Company, and began processing food (jams, jellies, mustard, mayonnaise, peanut butter, etc.). They operated the food processing plant until 1974.
The Cannery, an 18,000 square foot country style restaurant and entertainment center in a former cannery, will open May 11 (1981) at 811 Palmer Place by co-owners Perry Dale, Jr. and his brother, J. Grandstaff Dale.
Music For All
The Dales retained ownership of the building and allowed promoters to book live bands. By day, the club served as a stage for Reba McEntire, George Strait and Patty Loveless and legendary country performers Hank Snow and Tammy Wynette. But at night, it became the place to catch some of the hottest rock and alternative touring acts, which were booked by Go West Productions. Popular local acts, such as Webb Wilder, the Royal Court of China and The Questionnaires have performed there, as well as national acts, such as Crowded House and Michelle Shocked.
TNN's New Country
The Nashville Network’s (TNN) New Country is filmed regularly in The Cannery. This is a half-hour concert series spotlighting some of the top stars in country music.
Roosters, an all ages club, made it’s home upstairs from The Cannery. It was referred to as “Nashville’s Alternative Showplace”. It didn’t last long because kids were more willing just to hang out in the parking lot rather than go inside.
The movie, “The Last Days of Frank and Jesse James” was filmed partially onsite. This is a biographical Western television film directed by William A. Graham and starring Kris Kristofferson. The main cast is made up of country music all-stars, including Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash, David Alan Coe, Lecile Harris, Willie Nelson, and Marcia Cross.
Go West Productions
Steve West, head of Go West Productions and a longtime figure in Nashville’s rock music scene, had his offices in the Cannery building.
The Tennessean advertises “Auction of Cannery Restaurant & Lounge Equipment”. A promoter from Atlanta moved in and established “The Junkman’s Attic,” but the effort was short-lived.
Eddie Warner buys the Cannery in December of 1992.
Cannery Country Music Hall
April 15: A 500-Seat theater called “The Cannery Country Music Hall” opened by Harvey Cooper. He stated: “It is the first downtown theater…This is something that the people will want to know because they’re hollering about how many people we’ve already lost to Branson. Only country, bluegrass and gospel acts will be booked into the club. There will be no alcohol whatsoever,” Cooper said. “I really want to stress that. There’ll be no smoking, but we’ll have a smoking room.” (This venture didn’t last very long.)
Eddie Warner passes away and his sons Ed and Scott Warner take over the family business.
Chark Kinsolving and Brent Woodard, a couple of local Nashville rock musicians open Mercy Lounge in the Cannery Row on Eigth Avenue and maybe generate a little energy on the downtown side of the railroad gulch.
July 21, 2003, a storm rips the roof and top floor off the Cannery building.
Mercy Family Grows
Todd Ohlhauser becomes a part-owner and General Manager of Mercy Lounge, joining Chark Kinsolving and Brent Woodard.
The team revamps a former soundstage and venue space on the ground floor as The Cannery Ballroom.
The High Watt
A miniature version of Mercy Lounge called The High Watt opened up on the second floor, and not long after came an updated event center on the building’s third floor.
Thor Equities Group and Nashville firm DZL Management buys the Cannery Row music venues and The Big Red Lofts.
DZL Management, which is headed by Zach Liff and which also owns Cummins Station, buys out Thor’s stake and is now sole owner of the site.
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