For decades, Elliston Place has been an important part of Nashville’s community life and cultural history. Known since the 1980s as The Rock Block for a pair of clubs that sit across the street from each other, the two-block strip from Krispy Kreme at 2103 Elliston Place to the trio of century-old apartments at the corner of Elliston and Louise Avenue serves as an entertainment district for students at nearby Vanderbilt University and a proving ground for local musicians.
Earlier this year, the community successfully staved off a rezoning exemption that would have allowed a 15-story hotel to be erected on the site of the three apartment buildings, which are known collectively as the Louise Douglas Apartments and are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The nearby Elliston Place Soda Shop, at 2111 Elliston Place, has been a neighborhood fixture since opening in 1939 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Exit/In (established in 1971 at 2208 Elliston Place) and The End (established in 1990 at 2219 Elliston Place, though other venues preceded it at the same location) have been longtime anchors of the strip, serving as local launching pads for the careers of such artists as Steve Martin, Jimmy Buffett, Barefoot Jerry, John Hiatt, and Kings of Leon.
Development continues to encroach on The Rock Block, since every block that surrounds it has seen recent construction. The Rock Block, however, still looks much the same as it did 40 years ago, an eclectic mixture of music venues, restaurants, small shops, and other businesses — the kind of neighborhood that frequently falls victim to Nashville’s growth.