“Bucket Of Blood”
The downtown area bordered by the Harpeth River, the tracks of the Louisville and Nashville railroad, and historic Main and Church Streets, currently houses restored homes, shops and offices. Between 1870 and 1960, this same area housed a vital working class African American neighborhood. After the Civil War, former slave Reverend William Perkins became the first freedman to purchase a home in the neighborhood. African American residents representing a variety of professions and skills worked as carpenters, railroad workers, gardeners, shoemakers, cooks, nurses and washwomen called this their home. The Lillie Mills flour plant provided jobs for many African Americans and established the area as an industrial center. In the early 1900s two rows of company houses for African American mill workers were built around the plant, nicknamed “Bucket of Blood.” Around 1900, a man was stabbed there, and it was said he bled so much it filled a bucket. Old-timers still refer to this area as Bucket or Blood Bucket.