Several years ago a friend of mine was visiting from Cincinnati and I said, “Hey, let’s walk down Elliston Place.” We didn’t get very far before we found ourselves in a dive called The Gold Rush where we played some pool, talked about old times, and drank us some beers before sitting down and having some excellent fried catfish. Just a few doors down from The Gold Rush is the Elliston Place Soda Shop where, more recently, Ann Koplow and I had lunch.
I used to walk down Elliston Place almost every day on my way to the bus stop. It was a nice place to walk through. Here’s The Gold Rush now:
In fact most of the block is coming down. Here it is from the back:
Elliston Place is part of a historic neighborhood. It’s where you’ll find the famed Exit/In where a young Steve Martin would get the entire audience really worked up then lead them out and down the street to McDonald’s where he’d order three-hundred burgers, then abruptly change that to “one small fries”.
It’s a few blocks away from Centennial Park, and when Dave Attell filmed an episode of his show Insomniac in Nashville he rode down Elliston Place in the back of a pickup truck for the final shot.
It’s strange to walk down the sidewalk there and see empty lots behind the storefronts. I don’t know if they’re leaving the facades for reasons of safety—maybe there’s a plan to block off the sidewalk at some point and knock the rest down—or if they’re being preserved. I hope it’s the latter. Neighborhoods change. I get that. Elliston Place is no longer the place goth kids go to hang out on the weekends, which it was when I was in high school, and the English pub is now a hookah bar. The pizza place is, well, still a pizza place, but there’s another former pizza place that now sells bubble tea.
Some of these changes seem like improvements but I’m still sad to see some of the history go.