We’re in Nashville — but not Nashville, Tennessee, of country music fame. We’re in Nashville, Illinois, near St. Louis. This is a town of a little more than 3,000 people, a little less than 3 miles square.

Nashville’s history began with Native American settlements, and then French settlers came and grew grapes from which they made wine which local historians claim were as good as the wines of Southern France. In 1818, Illinois became a state. The largest settlement at that time was the town of Beaucoup (meaning “much” in French) about four miles away from present-day Nashville. There was talk of making Beaucoup the county seat, since it was the largest town and also just about in the middle of Washington County. Several other sites were discussed, too, and for a while the plan was to build a new town, to be named Georgetown to go with Washington County.

A variety of controversies sprang up over the land, the placement, and various other details. Finally,  two promoters put up money to buy a parcel of land on which to establish the county seat — but by that time, the commissioners felt that “Georgetown” might be an unlucky name. They were from Nashville, Tennessee, so they decided to call the town New Nashville. Soon, the “New” was dropped, and Nashville was settled.This was a fruit growing area in the past, but now logistics is the largest local industry.

We’re at Grace United Methodist Church. We’re enjoying getting the know the good people of Grace United, and we happy to be installing some beautiful new pews for them.