Marathon Village good for the “‘picking’

Whether you are into antiques, historical buildings, organic salons, or art galleries, Marathon Motor Works has that and more.

Just a few miles west of downtown, Marathon Motor Works is one of Nashville’s most unique and diverse attractions.

It hosts a variety of shops and businesses, including Antique Archeology, a store featuring many items you’ll recognize from the History Channel’s hit show “American Pickers.”

Antique Archeology is owned by Mike Wolfe of “American Pickers,” and he occasionally stops by the store to sign autographs and take pictures, so be sure to bring your camera.

The store boasts an array of historical items, but the building it resides in is a piece of history in itself.

Marathon Motor Works, originally known as Southern Motor Works, built in the late 1800s, is a 130,000-square-foot factory originally used to manufacture Marathon motor cars.

Four models of touring cars were built in this location up until 1914 when the plant closed due to financial difficulties. However, the plant was still in operation for four more years providing parts and services.

When renovation of the factory began in the late 1980s, the building was overrun with weeds and had suffered from almost 70 years of weathering and deterioration.

Although Marathon Motor Works has since been restored, evidence of the building’s long-term deterioration can still be seen in the cracks of the building’s faded red brick exterior, giving it that old-timey look.

But don’t worry, the building is structurally sound and perfectly safe.

Although the factory remained empty for decades, it is now buzzing with an abundance of local creativity.

The factory’s late-19th century architecture provides spaces for the many local businesses inhabiting the building today.

The stores and businesses featured throughout the building provide something for every member of the family.

The upper floors of the building are home to photographers, fashion designers, architects, musicians, talent agencies, film producers, digital media experts and one of Nashville’s favorite locally-owned radio stations, Lightning 100.

If you have a sweet tooth be sure to stop by the ground floor Bang Candy Company, located next to Antique Archeology, for its hand made candy creations including highly-prized gourmet marshmallows dipped in Belgian chocolate.

Perhaps you want an extra kick of energy to start off your tour of the factory. If so, a visit to the Garage Coffee Company is a must. Just inside the main entrance of the building, it provides visitors with many blends of coffee to choose from, along with  soups, salads and sandwiches.

If you want to pamper yourself, pay a visit to Pure, an all-organic salon and spa. Pure offers its clients an array of hair and body treatments, massages, yoga, facials and haircuts.

If you’re into fitness, there’s something for you, too. Marathon Fitness, located a next to Bang Candy Company, offers several fitness programs and services from some of Nashville’s most elite fitness trainers.

Last, but certainly not least, is one of the biggest attractions at Marathon Motor Works, Antique Archeology, or as some refer to it, “the American Picker’s store.” Antique Archeology is so jam-packed with antiques, they literally hang from the ceiling. Many of the items were featured on “American Pickers,” and some are labeled with who specifically picked them.

With everything from classic Indian motorcycles to a general store ledger featuring “Devil” Anse Hatfield’s purchases, this place is an antique picker’s dream. Comic books, musical instruments, typewriters, almost any antique you can think of, are here. Some items are for sale, some are not. Antique Archeology is also a live music venue, often featuring bands or solo artists performing in the shop.

Allow approximately one to two hours for your trip to Marathon Motor Works, depending on the volume of people. Parking is free.

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Marathon Motor Works is located on 1305 Clinton St, Nashville, TN 37203.