Love it or hate it, the Mob Museum will happen. Not as a rinky-dink attraction, but as an institution with historic and educational heft, led by the influential museum heavyweight Dennis Barrie as creative director. In a recent tour of the site—the city’s first federal building—undergoing restoration at 300 Stewart Ave., representatives said of the site:
• “This is one of the great restoration projects in this city.” –Dennis Barrie, of the restoration of the neoclassical-style building, formerly the post office, built as the city’s first federal building as part of a depression-era federal construction program and listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
• “This is a place that’s very near and dear to me.” –Mayor Oscar Goodman, who tried his first federal case in the same building.
• “We’re standing in the most significant artifact, this building” –Kathleen Hickey Barrie (Barrie Projects), of the building where, in 1950, Sen. Estes Kefauver, a Tennessee Democrat, led hearings for the U.S. Senate Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce.