Neighborhood Spotlight: Donelson

 In Neighborhood Spotlight

Named in honor of Nashville co-founder John Donelson and located less than 10 miles east of downtown Nashville, Donelson boasts a rich history, as well as affordable housing, plenty of entertainment options and ease of access to I-40, Nashville International Airport and the Donelson Music City Star.

The development of Donelson from a rural area to a Nashville suburb has taken course over the past 100 years and was kickstarted by the development of the Bluefields subdivision. Bransford Realty Company began work on Donelson’s oldest subdivision in 1929. In 1938, Stanford Realty took over development of the neighborhood and continued into the 1970s, adding over 100 more homes to the neighborhood. Now on the National Register of Historic Places, Bluefields is a landmark in the thriving community.

Revitalization of Hip Donelson

Since its rural beginnings, Donelson has grown and continues to grow significantly. However, as is the case with many Nashville neighborhoods, there have been periods where neighborhood pride was low and growth was stagnant.

In 2009, Frank Trew noticed that the once bustling suburb needed to be reinvigorated. Trew started the Hip Donelson Facebook page to boost community engagement – showing that Donelson can be a hip area of Nashville, too. The page can be credited with sparking the revitalization of Donelson and it has transformed into a non-profit organization that serves the Donelson community through neighborhood watch programs, Farmers Markets and open communication within the community.

When the development of Donelson began, the neighborhood was built for automobiles, so it was not very walkable. Efforts to increase the walkability and access to sidewalks have been a main focal point in the community and will likely increase as Nashville continues to grow.


Donelson’s proximity to the Cumberland River, Percy Priest Lake and Stones River offers many walking  trails and parks to spend some time in the fresh air and see some beautiful scenery. The Stones River Greenway spans 10 miles of Donelson with paved trails that run from Shelby Bottoms to Percy Priest Lake – great for afternoon walks or runs.

If historical sights are more appealing to you, Donelson has many places to visit, such as Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage and Two Rivers Mansion that date back to the 1800s.  

Donelson is a great neighborhood to consider whether you’re looking for spacious and affordable housing, proximity to the city and convenient transportation, outdoor activities or just a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Nashville.