West Cumberland Avenue from the 1600 block at the top of the hill to the trestle at the bottom, “the Strip” thrives between UT’s campus and Fort Sanders, drawing energy from both. It was a commercial area by the 1920s, featuring restaurants, shops, and even a movie theater. Here daring restaurants introduced Italian, Mexican, and other cuisines to the city. (The world’s firs Ruby Tuesday opened on the Strip in 1972).
Counterculture sorts were calling it “the Strip” by the late 1960s. The word took on a new meaning in early 1974, during the streaking craze, when hundreds of people shucked their clothes in public here The Strip was well known for live music, especially during the hippie and punk eras. Bands from REM to Black Flag played in bars on the Strip in the early ’80s. A recent city initiative to re-introduce urban architecture promises to restore some of its liveliness.
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