I’ve seen them, and many of you have, too, those special editions of the Monopoly board game.
I saw, with amusement, one time that they had special-edition Carolina, N.C. State and Duke games with the familiar Monopoly properties replaced with university landmarks like the Smith Center and Cameron Indoor and Finley stadiums.
They make games, too, for cities and towns, and why in the world have they not come up with an Elkinopoly? A sure hit, I’d say.
So what should be put on a Monopoly game based on Elkin?
There could be only one choice here in the hometown as a stand-in for Boardwalk, the most expensive and lucrative property of Monopoly. The old Chatham mill proved the heartbeat of the Elkin economy and society for generations. The old Elkin furniture plant around the corner from Chatham would be the natural, bookend stand-in for Park Place.
Moving past go and collecting $200, we would come to the popular, homegrown eateries Speedy Chef and John Boy’s. They’re fast, inexpensive, working class and perfect stand-ins for Monopoly’s Mediterranean and Baltic properties.
Next up should be our three area high schools, Elkin, East Wilkes and Starmount, but with the school colors of Elkin deep blue, Cardinal red and Starmount orange replacing the sky-blue of Oriental, Vermont and and Connecticut. The properties don’t cost much, neither does attending the schools, and as we all pass through school before moving on to bigger and better things in the world, so also we’d pass the school properties before moving on to bigger and better things on the board.
Since groceries are so basic, Food Lion and Ingles are naturals for the purple properties, States and Virginia, which are affordable and quickly available. Absent a third supermarket, the Chatham hospital would be a good fit for St. Charles’ Place.
In a nod to nature, Big Elkin Creek and Yadkin River are good fits for New York and Tennessee avenues. And in a nod to history, the now-extinct Chatham bridge would be a good fit for St. James Place.
On top of the board we have for the red properties a deserving, hodgepodge collection of the old, iconic four-story Hotel Elkin that impressed me so as a kid before they tore it down in the late 1960s; the present-day, picturesque Elkin Library and dam; and — we can’t leave it out — “The (Elkin) Tribune.”
Our big chain stores, Walmart, Lowe’s and Belk, which command so much of our money, would fit well into the pricey properties of Atlantic, Ventnor and Marvin Gardens.
The green properties of Monopoly are not for everyone. They’re expensive and hard to develop. Some pass on buying them even if they land on them.
So are Elkin Park and the E&A Rail Trail not for everyone but are good fits for Pacific and North Carolina avenues. And what for Pennsylvania Avenue? Why, of course, the old Reeves theater which is about to reopen following expensive renovation.
The Yadkin Valley line would serve as the four railroads on an Elkin board game, and the two utilities would be well represented by the old Carter Falls Power Co. that operated here before the coming of Duke Power/Energy and by the old Central Telephone, whose switchboard and maintenance operations here for years was notable.
Police Chief Monroe Wagoner’s mug on the jail square would be a nice touch.
And finally comes the choice of who we could get for the role of Rich Uncle Pennybags, the old man in the top hat who is the mascot of Monopoly. I suggest the visage of former mayor Tom Gwyn, if only we can get him to grow a handlebar mustache.
So what would you suggest for Elkinopoly?
Up over the mountain in Bristol, Tennessee, they’ve been selling Bristolopoly games, for instance, and raising money for the Crisis Center charity there that assists the poor and elderly. Bristolopoly includes a square for the Battle of Bristol football game that was played in September at the NASCAR speedway there.
I can hear the wheels turning now in our Chamber office and Town Hall, and you fine folks are welcome to roll the dice on this idea.
Stephen Harris returned home to live in State Road.
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