WHAT’S UP WITH THAT? The story behind the infamous flagpoles


By SUSAN T. LEATHERS
Brentwood Home Page
BHP reader Ken Barry wrote to ask about the history of the "Flagpole Property" flagpoles.  So we had to find out for him …
By SUSAN T. LEATHERS
Brentwood Home Page
For months, recent headlines both here and in other local publications have termed the 54.5 acres of property just west of I-65 and north of Cool Springs that was up for relocation as “the Flagpole Property.”
 
BHP reader Ken Barry wrote to ask about the history of the flagpoles, which can still be seen from the interstate and from roads inside the Mallory Park commercial park.
 
We took his question to the city’s community relations director Linda Lynch, longtime City Commissioner Anne Dunn and Southeast Ventures developer Wood Caldwell, who represents current landowner Tennsco.
 
It seems years ago, before Tennsco owned the property, well-known local developer Bill Will installed them on the property, along with a fountain, in an attempt to attract development to the then still-unbuilt Cool Springs area, particularly around Moores Lane.
 
 “He was really a visionary person, ahead of his time,” Lynch said. “(The flagpoles) were strictly to bring attention to his property.”
 
Lynch said that whenever international guests were in the area, Wills would make sure the guests’ native flags would be flying “so they would know they were welcome in Brentwood.”
 
“He really put a lot of thought into it and to welcome people to the Moores Lane area,” Lynch added.
 
Dunn recalls that Wills was very active in Nashville politics and once ran for Congress. “He wanted to get some development going on that property, however, during that time, everyone seemed drawn to the mall farther south or over near where Publix is.
 
“I think Bill put them up to draw attention to the property in hopes of someone taking an interest in developing it.”
 
Though Wills no longer had an interest in the property when Caldwell became involved in its development, Caldwell remembers him well. He remembered being at a Brentwood Planning Commission meeting when Wills strode up to the podium, proposed something that wasn’t on the agenda, and it passed.
 
Dunn independently recalled either the same meeting or a similar one.
 
 “Bill didn’t do anything in a small way. I remember seeing him get a site plan approved at the Planning Commission while drawing it on a paper bag. … I think that may have prompted some rules about what you had to have submitted to be on the agenda,” she said.
 
Today, only a few of the original flagpoles remain. Southeast Ventures has donated them to several schools and organizations. For instance, two now are installed at Centennial High School’s athletics fields.
 
If anyone is in the market for one, they should contact Caldwell at 833-8716 for more information.

About The Author

Kelly Gilfillan is the owner-publisher of Home Page Media Group which has been publishing hyperlocal news since 2009.

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