I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
May 6, 2022
I like to think of myself as a watchdog for things that don’t matter and in this self-appointed role, I felt it necessary to report to you on a recent discovery that quite frankly has me questioning everything I thought I knew about downtown Nashville. Buckle up, dear reader, because you are in for a ride — one that may include sudden and dramatic acceleration, sharp turns, and strobe effects.
But first, a little background.
If you’ve ever been to Nashville, you’ve probably noticed the Union Station Hotel. The elegant Romanesque Revival-style building served as downtown Nashville’s train station between 1900 and 1969, then sat empty for years before being turned into a hotel in 1986.
What you might not have noticed is the statue of Mercury, the Roman god of wealth and commerce, on top of the building’s central tower. The Mercury you see today is not the original pictured above — That Mercury dropped (heh) from the top of the building to the street back in 1952. Fortunately, no one was injured.
Except for Mercury, that is. Mercury was broken beyond repair.
He was replaced with a new Mercury, and that’s where the story ended for a long time. From the ground, New Mercury looked sort of like Old Mercury, so I’m sure no one really thought much about it. The folks at the Union Station couldn’t have known that 70 years later, downtown Nashville would be parceled off to wealthy developers who’d erect massive high-rise buildings on every corner, making the once-mighty Union Station look like a doll’s house by comparison.
And they clearly never imagined that people would one day get a birds-eye view of New Mercury from the rooftop bar of a 25-story luxury hotel next door.
That’s how I ended up with this view while enjoying a golden hour cocktail at a party on the balcony of said rooftop bar. As I serenely looked out over the Nashville skyline, my gaze settled on the roof of the Union Station Hotel and the statue poised in flight atop its central tower. I looked…
…and then I looked again.
And then I thought to myself:
What in the naked, hairy, happy-trailed, dad bod cardboard cutout of a statue is that?!
How and when and where and why did Old Mercury get replaced with what appears to be a drawing from The Young Reader’s Low-Budget Guide to Mythology? Am I seeing things or does Mercury have chest hair and a lopsided moob? Do Roman gods have moobs? Because I didn’t get the memo on that. Who’s responsible for this hot winged mess? I’m going to need to speak with a manager.
I don’t even know where to go from here, but a GoFundMe seems about right. In this Era of Outrage, consider Mercury just one more thing to add to your Nashville list — I’d suggest putting him somewhere after white houses, but before ironic mullets.
Now that so many of us are getting an aerial view of this sad excuse for a statue, I can only hope that the next time the Mercury drops, he’s replaced with something a little more appropriate. Like a statue of a bachelorette, for example. Just an idea.
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Thanks to Cameron Judd for this informative article!
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