Green Pastures

Known Name(s)

Green Pastures


670 Dickinson St. Elmira, NY

Establishment Type(s)

Tourist Home

Physical Status



Moved to 723 Madison Avenue in 1970-71. Currently occupied by Ernie Davis Academy School as part of a larger campus.

Detailed History

Well documented and historic local gathering place, this jazz club operated from 1932 to 2011 in two different locations. When Beatrice Johnson and her husband and brothher-in-law opened the club, it was one of the few places in Elmira where anyone could eat a meal and hear live music. Eventually they would start offering a few overnight lodging options at their original address listed in the Green Book at Dickison and 5th Street. In its prime period during the 1940s and 50s, the club was a major wayside stop for touring jazz musicians on their way to New York City and other major metro areas to the west. Artists listed as having performed here include Benny Goodman, Dizzy Gillepsie, Max Roach, Cecil Taylor, Jimmy Smith and many more. The site was also a locale for the local performing community to play. Eventually, urban renewal projects of the late 1960s and 1970s caused the historic club to move to 723 Madison Avenue and forced major changes on the East Side neighborhood of Elmira. The club would be run by Howard Coleman, who grew up watching performers there in its heyday, until 2011 when it finally closed. The site is now occupied by the Ernie Davis Academy and a roadside marker sits on the exact location where the building use to be.

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