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Title: Cain-Sloan  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Dillard's, Nashville sit-ins, Signature Tower, Mall at Green Hills
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Cain-Sloan Co. Inc. was a department store chain based in Nashville, Tennessee, United States. Paul Lowe Sloan, Pat Cain and John E. Cain founded Cain-Sloan in Nashville in 1903. The company merged with Allied Stores Corp. of New York in 1955 and remained under its umbrella before being sold to, and renamed, Dillard's in 1987. The chain had four locations: Downtown Nashville, Hickory Hollow Mall, Rivergate Mall, and The Mall at Green Hills.

Civil Rights movement

Cain-Sloan was a target of one of the earliest sit-in protests by young African-Americans in Nashville during the Civil Rights Movement. On December 5, 1959, future Congressman John Lewis led a group of college students who entered the store intending to sit at its lunch counter. They were politely asked to leave, and they did so.[1] After the march 19 April 1960 on Nashville's courthouse and the admission by Mayor Ben West that lunch counters "ought to be desegregated",[2] Cain-Sloan and other downtown Nashville stores quietly opened their counters to all races as of May 10, 1960.

Conversion to Dillard's

In 1987, shortly before Allied Stores merged with Campeau Corporation,[3] the four Cain-Sloan stores were sold to Dillard's in a separate deal. Dillard's entered Nashville as it took over operations of the three mall stores, but closed the downtown store instead of converting it, the first blow to the fledgling Church Street Center mall, which had built a connector to Cain-Sloan. In 1991, Dillard's replaced the former Cain-Sloan with a new building at Hickory Hollow Mall as part of a mall expansion.

Since then, Dillard's has expanded in the Nashville market by building two new stores (Bellevue Center and Cool Springs Galleria) and acquiring three former Castner Knott stores (Donelson Plaza, Harding Mall, and Murfreesboro's Stones River Mall). Dillard's has since rebuilt the Stones River location and closed the Harding Mall, Donelson Plaza, Bellevue Center and Hickory Hollow Mall locations. Hickory Hollow was the first of the converted Cain-Sloan locations to close, though it left its original building in 1991.


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