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524 & 1/2 S. Gay Street - Coolato Alley - The Gaps of Gay Street Part 7

In the last installment of the Gaps of Gay Street, we explored the Krutch Park Extension and all of the little retail spots that were once located there. In this installment, we are going to take a quick hop across the street to explore the smallest gap on Gay Street. We're going to look into the alleyway between the building that now houses Coolato Gelato and the Farragut Hotel.


Unless you're enjoying a delicious gelato, you've probably never even noticed this spot. It's not a terribly bad place to sit and enjoy a scoop. To the untrained eye, it would appear that this is merely an access way to the emergency exits coming out of the Regal Riviera or a convenient place to situate some cafe tables. One would be forgiven for thinking that, this gap is tiny. Tiny as it is, there is still a story to tell.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the space began life as an alley. In the 1880's, two identical commercial buildings were constructed. One of those is no longer with us, having…
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The 500 Block of Gay Street, West Side - Krutch Park Extension - The Gaps of Gay Street Part 6

As we continue our tour south down Gay Street, we walk past the 400 block without stopping. The 400 block is one of the few (two) truly unbroken blocks on Knoxville's most important street.

So Bravo 400 Block, though you may look a little different you've weathered the years better than most. No surface parking lots here, so we're uninterested!!!

Let's cross Union Avenue and set foot on the 500 block, under the large porch of the Park National Bank Building (Conley Building, First American Bank Building, 507 S. Gay Tower, Embassy Suites, what have you...). This block has something in common with the 300 block in that it resembles a 7/10 split (for you non-bowlers that means it's missing its middle teeth). The 500 block is probably best known for its two giant bookends, the Park National Bank Building (1974) and the Holston Bank Building (1912). Between the two lies what we now know as "Krutch Park Extension," basically a grassy square with some fountains …