The vintage sign read, “Eldorado Motel, Room Phones, Pool and TV.” The sign still stands today in between 28th Avenue and Clarksville Pike in Nashville. However, the only sign of the motel is the sign itself.
I spoke to the owner of the property who said that her father was one of the first black men in Tennessee to receive a bank loan to build a motel.
What makes the motel history stand out even more, is that it was one of the few places in Nashville that allowed for men and women of color to spend the night.
During the changing times of the 1960’s, musicians like BB King, The Temptations, and even James Brown stayed at the motel while visiting Music City.
In the 1960’s, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) booked two rooms at the property for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and musician Harry Belafonte. King was good friends with Belafonte who supported the SCLC financially. Belafonte was in town to play at the Ryman Auditorium, but became too ill to play. So, he recouped at the motel until he was well enough to travel home.
Learn more by listening to the short interview below with the daughter of the man who built the Eldorado Motel so many years ago.