Nashville Gerst House

New historical marker recognizes the Gerst House restaurant

A new historical marker recognizing the original location of the Gerst House restaurant will be installed by the Nashville Department of Transportation (NDOT) at the intersection of 2nd Ave N and Union Street (near Nashville Public Square Park).  The installation will take place on Wednesday, September 22st at 9:00 am with representatives from the Metro Historical Commission.

The Gerst House opened in 1955, a year after the closing of the famous Gerst Brewery.  Due to its proximity to the Metro Court House and State Capital, the Gerst House was frequented by attorneys, politicians, and journalist.  Gerst’s grandson, William J. Gerst III (aka Bill), had a desire to serve traditional German food as a way to continue his grandfather’s brewery legacy.  After his death in 1968, his daughter Gene Ritter continued the tradition until it moved across the river as part of Nashville’s urban development plan for Public Square in 1970.

Jessica Reeves, historic preservationist with the Metro Historical Commission, stated: “As Nashville continues to grow, I think it is exceptional that we are still honoring the history of Nashville institutions such as the Gerst House. Every new marker that we install just adds to the richness of our understanding of early life in Middle Tennessee and the integral part that brewing had in it. The Historical Commission is so thankful to have the support of community partners like Scott Mertie, who is a tireless advocate for remembering our past, especially when it comes to beer.”

This is the sixth beer-related historical marker commissioned by Scott Mertie and his wife, Candy.

  1. The Nashville Brewery marker was erected on 6th Avenue South at the original location of the Nashville Brewing Company (1859-1890) and the Wm. Gerst Brewing Company (1890-1954).
  2. The Germantown Brewery District marker is located on 5th Ave North.  It recognizes the four neighborhood breweries that operated in Germantown in the 1860s.
  3. The Nashville Porter and Ale Brewery marker is located at 1901 Charlotte Ave, which was originally established in 1815.
  4. The Brewery at Mill Creek marker is located on Elm Hill Pike at Massman Drive, which was also first established in 1815.
  5. The Tennessee/Spring Water Brewery marker is located at the BNA Aircraft Observation Area on Vultee Blvd. which was first established in 1858.

Mertie is a local healthcare executive that also has a vested interest in Nashville’s brewing history.  He is the author of Nashville Brewing (Arcadia Publishing; 2006), owner of the Nashville Brewing Company, and a board member of the Metro Historical Commission Foundation.

Scott Mertie with Nashville Brewing Company along with John Ritter, the great, great grandson of William Gerst helped install the new historical marker.  John’s grandfather, William Gerst III, opened the Gerst House in 1955, a year after the William Gerst Brewing Company closed.