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Our city in ruins: John Geist Blacksmith Shop

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The John Geist Blacksmith Shop & Residences, on Jefferson Street, made the Tennessee Preservation Trust's list of the 10 most endangered sites in the state in 2008. Until it closed its doors in 2006, the John Geist and Sons Blacksmith Shop was thought to be Nashville's oldest business in continuous family ownership and operation. According to the Tennessee Encyclopedia, the business dates back to the 1840s.

The current building dates from around 1900 and still contains some of the tools the German immigrants used in their trade, McIntyre says. The children of Catherine Baltz and John Geist Jr. now own the red brick shop and two adjoining houses, including the original Geist residence built around 1891.

The Geist properties were listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. According to Brown, though, the heirs are anxious to sell in order to finance their own retirements.

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