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Jimmy Ogle Tours

 

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Welcome to the online home of
Jimmy Ogle Talks and Tours

Below you will be able to find information about the free weekly tours,
history lectures and public presentations that I offer.

Within the other pages, you will discover unique stories and information on
little known Memphis history and perhaps a little about why I love this town.

PLEASE read and check the information below
before
asking for additional information.

Jimmy Ogle Tours

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    -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -      December News      -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   

 

 

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Duckmaster
THE PEABODY MEMPHIS WELCOMES JIMMY OGLE AS NEW DUCKMASTER

 

  MEMPHIS, TN – September 22, 2016 – The Peabody Memphis’ world-famous mallard ducks are marching under new leadership today. Memphis historian and tour guide Jimmy Ogle has stepped into the coveted role of Peabody Duckmaster.

  Well-known as a historian, tour guide, public speaker, story teller and all-around Memphis ambassador, Ogle will bring his vast knowledge of the region’s history to the role of Duckmaster. In addition to caring for the hotel’s five North American mallards and leading their twice-daily marches, he will act as The Peabody’s in-house historian and work to expand upon the hotel’s History Tours and Memorabilia Collection. As Duckmaster, Ogle will also continue The Peabody’s Goodwill Ambassador Program of local community appearances and visits to area schools, retirement villages and hospitals.

  “Because the Duckmaster acts as a brand ambassador to The Peabody and to the destination by extension, it’s important that the person who fills that role be someone who is passionate about Memphis and embraces our unique Southern traditions, such as the Peabody Duck March. In that regard, we’ve hit the jackpot with Jimmy. He’s our dream Duckmaster,” said Doug Browne, President, Peabody Hotels & Resorts.

  During his lengthy career serving Memphis, Ogle has held positions at Beale Street Landing, Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, Performa Entertainment (Beale Street), Memphis Queen Line, Mud Island River Park, Memphis Parks Commission, and most recently as Community Engagement Manager for Riverfront Development Corporation. He sits on numerous historical and heritage boards in the region and is the official Shelby County Historian, a position appointed by the Shelby County Commission that he will continue to hold.

  Ogle is only the 6th Duckmaster in the history of the “South’s Grand Hotel.” The role of Duckmaster originated at The Peabody Memphis more than 80 years ago. The Duckmaster is responsible for the care and well-being of the Peabody Ducks, including feeding and training the teams for their marches. When not tending to the five North American mallards, he acts as an ambassador for the hotel, greeting guests in the Grand Lobby, conducting Hotel History Tours, doing media interviews, making community outreach appearances, and occasionally traveling with the ducks to promote the hotel.

  The time-honored tradition of the March of the Peabody Ducks began in the 1933 when live ducks were placed in the hotel’s lobby fountain as a practical joke. At 11am each morning, the Peabody Ducks march from their rooftop Royal Duck Palace - along a red carpet to the tune of John Philip Sousa’s “King Cotton March” - to a marble fountain at the center of the Grand Lobby. There they splash and preen until 5pm, when the procession reverses and the ducks retire for the evening.

  The title of Duckmaster was coined in 1940 when the hotel hired a former circus animal trainer named Edward Pembroke as a Bellman. Pembroke offered to help with delivering the ducks to the fountain each day and conceived of the now-famous Peabody Duck March. Mr. Pembroke served as Peabody Duckmaster for 50 years until retiring in 1991. The late Mr. Pembroke’s portrait hangs at the entrance to The Peabody and one of the hotel’s luxury suites is named in his honor.

 

Kelly B. Earnest
Director of Marketing - Communications
The Peabody Memphis
Phone: 901-529-4000 (O) 901-529-4179 (C) 901-482-7922
www.peabodymemphis.com

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WINTER PUBLIC TOUR SCHEDULE ANNOUNCED

Until next Spring, there are no TUESDAY TOURS. Most likely THURSDAY TOURS 2017 in Downtown Memphis will be held ON THURSDAYS in April and May (2017), with the first tour being scheduled for Thursday, April 6 (11:45 a.m.) and being the Great Union Avenue Manhole Cover & History Tour. Stay tuned.

Now, below is the Winter/Spring 2017 Public Tours Calendar:

Thursday, December 1 - 11:00 a.m.
Morton Museum of Collierville
196 Main Street at Poplar
"Historic Homes of Shelby County" Presentation

Thursday, December 15 - 12:00 noon
Judge D'Army Bailey Courthouse Tour
Meet at Southwest Steps, Adams Avenue & Second Street

Thursday, January 21 - 12:00 noon
Judge D'Army Bailey Courthouse Tour
Meet at Southwest Steps, Adams Avenue & Second Street

Thursday, February 18 - 12:00 noon
Judge D'Army Bailey Courthouse Tour
Meet at Southwest Steps, Adams Avenue & Second Street

Wednesday, March 15 - 10:00 a.m.
Judge D'Army Bailey Courthouse, South Hallway
Gen. Andrew Jackson 250th Birthday Commemoration
Piomingo Chapter, United States Daughters of 1812

Thursday, March 18 - 12:00 noon
Judge D'Army Bailey Courthouse Tour
Meet at Southwest Steps, Adams Avenue & Second Street

Sunday, April 2 - 12:00 noon - 4:00 p.m.
Shelby County History Festival
Hillwood Hall at Davies Manor Plantation
3570 Davieshire Drive in Bartlett

Thursday, April 21 - 12:00 noon
Judge D'Army Bailey Courthouse Tour
Meet at Southwest Steps, Adams Avenue & Second Street
 

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     The Original Society Pages       December 2016
 


Photo by Steve Roberts

 

Jimmy Ogle

Duckmaster at the Peabody Hotel and Vice President of Shelby County West Tennessee Historical Society

Hometown: Memphis
My Best Quality: Memory
Favorite Place to Travel: Key West
My Most Annoying Habit: I am too literal
My Dream Dinner Guest: James Earl Jones
Who Would Play Me in a Movie: Robert Duvall
Favorite Southern Idiom: The plural of y’all is “all y’all”
One Goal I’d Still Like to Accomplish: Hit a hole-in-one
Place I Go to Think: Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park
Favorite Book: “Pictures Tell The Story” by Ernest Withers
My First Car: 1968 Cutlass Supreme (No AC, No FM radio)
Best Memphis Hangout: Westy’s, 346 North Main at Jackson
Favorite Song: “Jimmy Mack” by Martha Reeves & the Vandellas
Favorite Restaurant in Memphis: (Old) Coletta’s on South Parkway
My Favorite Thing to Eat in Memphis: Filet at Mortimer’s Restaurant
Favorite Spot in Memphis: My green chair in my sitting room at home
The Highlight of My Day: Waking up and being able to start a new day fresh
The Best Part of My Job: Greeting people from all over the world in the Lobby of The Peabody Memphis
Proudest Moment of My Life: (Tie) – The day that my son got married, and the births of my two grandchildren
Advice I’d Give My 20-year-old Self: Buy as early as possible and stay in the same house as long as possible

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Summer of 2016 Review

 

  As of Thursday, September 22, Fall has Fell! For some reason, I had a premonition that change was "in the air" this Summer. Becoming the 6th ever Duckmaster at The Peabody Hotel on September 21 (the last day of Summer), proved me right. The Summer of 2016 was indeed a Summer of Fun.
 


  The third weekend of July was spent in Shreveport, Louisiana being the Cruise Director on the MEMPHIS QUEEN III for ten cruises in two days as a celebration of the 175th Anniversary of the Morris-Dixon Pharmaceutical Company. Learning the history of the Red River and enjoying the spirit and food of the people of the Shreveport - Bossier City area was indeed a thrill. It reminded me of the "good ol' days" of the 1990s when we took the Memphis Queen Line boats to New Madrid and Helena for weekends of fun.
 


  In August, I was presented the 2016 Leadership In Historic Preservation Award from Historic Archives of Rosemark and Environs (H.A.R.E.) at the 6th Annual Shelby County History Awards Dinner at Davies Manor.
What an honor from this distinguished group!
 


  Labor Day weekend was spent at King Jerry Lawler's Club on Beale Street with its Grand Opening. A wrestling ring out on Beale Street for the first time in history; Starship inside playing "We Built This City On Rock 'n' Roll; Flick and Scott Farkus from the movie "The Christmas Story" signing autographs (on a triple-dog-dare!); Bill Dundee, Koko B Ware, Jerry Calhoun, Dave Brown and Lawler won his match after he pulled his strap!
 


  The first TUESDAY TOUR of September was Jefferson Avenue and highlighting that "Memphis changed the way the world shopped for groceries with the opening of the first self-service grocery store at 79 Jefferson Avenue - Piggly Wiggly by Clarence Saunders. The tour was on the 100th anniversary of September 6, 1916 - which was also noted by a story in the Wall Street Journal and did receive front page coverage ABOVE THE FOLD in The Commercial Appeal on September 7.
 


  On Tuesday, September 13, the Friends of Levitt Pavilion Memphis Inc and the Shelby County Historical Commission gathered at the Levitt Shell to unveil a historical marker on the 80th anniversary of the opening of the Overton Park Shell in 1936. Levitt Shell now offers fifty free concerts a year and has become one of the leading cultural centers in Memphis. Congratulations!
 


 
On Friday, September 16, I was once again afforded the opportunity to speak to the Friday Assembly in the Hyde Chapel at Memphis University School (M.U.S.), my alma mater (Class of '70). While there, I was able to view the Class of 1970 framed picture on one of the hallway walls, and I was able to view the Buzzard Patch that was on my letter jacket, still hanging in the former office of Coach Jerry Peters!
 


  On Tuesday, September 20, the Great Union Avenue Manhole Cover & History Tour began with two more inductees into the Pink Slat Awards Hall of Fame. Alisa Bradley and Trey Giuntini of Mud Island River Park were bestowed the honor for their 20+ years each of dedication to the Mississippi River Museum, Mississippi River Walk and all things Mud Island. Of course, the several changing exhibits that I was able to curate in the Museum Changing Exhibit Gallery would not have happened without their support and guidance.



  On Sunday, September 25, the fourth season (and last season) of BRIDGE WALKS on the Memphis & Arkansas Bridge (southernmost) was concluded. During these four years, over 2,000 participants have enjoyed these "preview tours" for the future Big River Crossing on the Harahan Bridge (northernmost). Big River Crossing and Big River Trail (Arkansas) open on Saturday, October 22. With the advent of the millions of dollars spent on this new dedicated pedestrian and bicycle only pathway over the Mississippi River (100 feet high) and a host of publicity and civic efforts, I feel my "Mission Accomplished" and others will provide interpretive services on the new project. Go to bigrivercrossing.com for all of the wonderful things that are planned . . .



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The Art of Manhole Covers Getting Big City Acclaim!

 

  As you may recall, last May I had a visit in Downtown from Russell Muits of Philadelphia, as he was traveling through the South making rubbings of Manhole Covers from various cities (Charlotte. Atlanta, Birmingham, Jackson, New Orleans, Memphis, Nashville, etc.). Low and behold, two stories appeared recently in major northeastern cities (New York City and Philadelphia). A special shout out and thank you to our friend in NYC, Alan Grossman of MEMPHIS MAP FOR ELVIS FANS, for forwarded articles.

  Russell enjoyed rubbing one of the Steamboat covers on Main Street in front of the Kress Building and 110-year-old Memphis Telephone Company cover in the alley intersection of Park Lane and Center Lane (next to the Falls Building). Don't miss the Great Union Avenue Manhole Cover & History Tour at 11:45 a.m. on Tuesday, September 20 (we assemble at the Cotton Museum (Front & Union). See you there . . .

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Johnny Cash Historical Marker Update

  About 200 fans of "The Man In Black" enjoyed a sunny day on May 1 (the 60th anniversary of the release of "I Walk The Line" from Sun Studio) at The Galloway House, 1015 Cooper Street, at Walker Avenue. Roy Cash (Johnny's nephew) and W.S. "Fluke" Holland (Johnny's drummer) were very informative and enjoyable as the honorees for the unveiling. Roy, from Collierville, later sang a few songs on stage. Many thank to Legacy Memphis, Visible Music College, Mike Curbs Institute at Rhodes College and Friends of Johnny Cash for sponsoring the marker. And special thanks to Mike McCarthy, Ken Steorts and John Bass for their guidance during the project.

 

 

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Big River Crossing Opening Set for October 22

The Big River Crossing on the Harahan Bridge is scheduled to be dedicated on Saturday, October 22 in both Martyrs Park and Tom Lee Park, and , of course over the Mississippi River. Stay tuned for these important details about the festivities.

  Since the announcement of Big River Crossing on the Harahan Bridge, over 1,500 folks have come to Crump Park, met under the magnificent Magnolia tree and begun their "preview" journey across the Mississippi River. The set-up "talk under the tree" takes about twenty minutes with information about the bluffs, barges, bridges, earlier settlements in the area, the Mississippi River and safety!

  Progress is being made on the Arkansas side "touch down" of the Harahan Bridge and connections to the levee and West Memphis.

DIRECTIONS: Driving west on Crump Boulevard or north on I-55, take Exit 12C (Metal Museum Drive). Drive under I-55 and the first park on the right is Crump Park (by the super 8 Motel).

   

   

Parking attendants will direct you to a good parking spot and watch your car during your visit.

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  On December 21, the Morton Museum of Collierville and Main Street Collierville opened the second exhibit under the supervision of Ashley Carver and Laura Todd, and many thanks to Collierville Mayor Stan Joyner for his kind words at the Opening.

 

 

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Historical Display in Shelby County Administration Building Dedication on July 8

 

With the recent completion of renovations of the Vasco Smith Shelby County Administration Building (160 North Main Street) in Downtown, Mayor Mark Luttrell has asked the Shelby County Historical Commission to coordinate rotating historical displays of rural Shelby County and countryside in the enclosed cases located in the first floor Lobby. The Lobby also features the seals of the seven incorporated municipalities (Arlington, Bartlett, Collierville, Germantown, Lakeland, Memphis, Millington) above the elevators, and portraits of the four Shelby County Mayors (Roy Nixon, Bill Morris, Jim Rout and A.C. Wharton).

Dedication is set for 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 8 and the inaugural exhibit features H.A.R.E. (Historic Archives of Rosemark & Environs. This area in northeast Shelby County recently received listing on the National Register of Historic Places and has a very active historic preservation group of citizens. Penny Glover and Molly Hampton have spent quite a few hours loading the three display cases with all sorts of items that display life and times of the Rosemark and Barretville communities, along with three pop-up displays.

Two historical markers have been installed in the Rosemark and Barretville area this year (Bobby Blue Bland by the Tennessee Historical Commission, and Anthony Chapel School and Greenwood AME Church & Cemetery by the Shelby County Historical Commission).

*** UPDATE ***

H.A.R.E. Exhibit in County Lobby Receives Raves Reviews!

 

With the recent completion of renovations of the Vasco Smith Shelby County Administration Building (160 North Main Street) in Downtown, Mayor Mark Luttrell has asked the Shelby County Historical Commission to coordinate rotating historical displays of rural Shelby
County and countryside in the enclosed cases located in the first floor Lobby. The dedication on Wednesday, July 8 of the inaugural exhibit featuring H.A.R.E. (Historic Archives of Rosemark & Environs) received reviews from a reception of over 100 people.

The program was led by Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, County Commissioner Terry Roland, Rosemark resident Judge Jon McCalla and Jimmy Ogle, Shelby County Historian. The three exhibit cases are filled with over one hundred items relating to the history of northeast Shelby County, more specifically Rosemark and Barretville. Three roll-up banner displays also tell of the importance of mules and the agriculture of the area. Many thanks go to Penny Glover and Molly Hampton for the installation of the exhibit which is scheduled to be on display through the Autumn.
This area in northeast Shelby County recently received a listing on the National Register of Historic Places and has a very active historic preservation group of citizens. Two historical markers have been installed in the Rosemark and Barretville area this year (Bobby Blue Bland by the Tennessee Historical Commission, and Anthony Chapel School and Greenwood AME Church & Cemetery by the Shelby County Historical Commission). On June 26, the Tennessee Civil War Commission and the Tennessee Historical Commission unveiled another marker in its statewide program entitled “Hurst’s Raid at Barretville.”

The Lobby also features the seals of the seven incorporated municipalities (Arlington, Bartlett, Collierville, Germantown, Lakeland, Memphis, Millington) above the elevators, and portraits of the four Shelby County Mayors (Roy Nixon, Bill Morris, Jim Rout and A.C. Wharton).

 

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WHBQ Sandwich Board & Carl Perkins Sign Now on Display at


Memphis Music Hall of Fame

  Operated by the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum, the Memphis Music Hall of Fame has opened at 126 Beale Street, on the second floor above Hard Rock Cafe and the new Lansky Brothers store. With three classes on inductees on display, the 2015 class was announced this Summer, which included Scotty Moore, Alberta Hunter, Sam & Dave, Justin Timberlake, Memphis Slim, Charlie Rich and Al Jackson, Jr. The Class of 2015 Induction ceremony is 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 17 at the Cannon Center, with three inductees scheduled to perform - Justin Timberlake, Sam Moore (Sam & Dave) and Scotty Moore.

  The WHBQ Sidewalk Sandwich Board, which has been on display for a year at Sun Studios has been moved to the MMHoF and another sign from the "JO Collections" has been added - a sign for Carl Perkins reserved parking spot at Three Alarm Studio (1986-87) in the former Firehouse # 3 at the northwest corner of Third & Linden (now King & King for Dr. Martin Luther King and B.B. King). The Memphis Music Hall of Fame is open seven days a week, from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. memphismusichalloffame.com, 901-205-2532.

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D'Army Bailey Courthouse Tours

  Now that Jimmy O is back in Downtown daily thanks to the new job as Community Engagement Manager with the Riverfront Development Corporation, he will be able to resume a tour of the Courthouse on either the third or fourth Thursday of each month. Courthouse Tours are free, handicapped accessible, cameras are allowed for these tours (special exemption) and we assemble at 12:00 noon on the southwest steps of the Courthouse (Second/Adams).

  Highlights of the tour of Memphis & Shelby County's grandest public building (which opened in 1910) include (exterior) the six marble statues, web scenes in pediments depicting six aspects of law; (interior) the Grand South Hallway & Museum, six display cases of Courthouse, archives, seven different kinds of marble, Cuban mahogany wood, pedestal & bust of Andrew Jackson (dating back to 1835), historic cuspidor; visits to the Antique Courtroom and Shelby County Law Library; and numerous stories about the people, events and history of the courts of Shelby County, dating back almost 200 years.

September 15 - 12:00 noon

October 20 - 12:00 noon

November 17 - 12:00 noon

December 15 - 12:00 noon

Created by John Blount, this slideshow
will give you a glimpse inside the
Shelby County Courthouse tour.

 

Many thanks to the Memphis Bar Association for authorizing and approving these tours, plus enhancing the visitors experience;
to the Shelby County government administration for allowing the tours in such a significant building with important daily operations;
and to the judges, clerks and staff working in the Shelby County Courthouse on a daily basis for their tolerance and patience of this "invasion" of their working spaces.

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Memphis Map for Elvis Fans

  
 
 

  The Memphis Map For Elvis Fans is out on the streets of Memphis, after a successful launch party at A. Schwab's on Beale Street on Monday, August 12. Being introduced during this year's Elvis Tribute Week by our good friends Andrea Shaw and Alan Grossman (from New York City), the "MMFEF" covers past and present Elvis related sites in Memphis, and recognizes many of the sites that no longer exist (for the first time).

  I met Andrea and Alan about 18 months ago, while  they were in Memphis (once again, as it turned out) to continue their "love affair" with Memphis, Tennessee. Within a few months, Andrew and Alan were contributors to the Memphis historical scene in another unsung way, and now have launched a beautiful fold-out map (be careful) and web site (www.memphismapforelvisfans) - all which is self-descriptive. The (18" X 24" once unfolded out) "MMFEF" is the most appealing tourist map of Memphis that I have ever seen, and I have been around here a long, long time doing this! They dropped by my office at Beale Street Landing last weekend to give me a map in advance, and I had Andrea autograph my first copy. There ya go . . .

  I was able to spend some time off and on with Andrea and Alan over the last year, and they have been on several of my walking tours of the streets of Memphis. Jake Schorr of Westy's and The Carriage Company of Memphis was a contributor, but Sue Mack and Mike Freeman spent a lot of time authenticating the research of Andrea and Alan. The ultimate satisfaction of giving Talks & Tours in Memphis is to have out-of-towners like Andrea and Alan grasp what "Memphis" is, and then put their heart and souls into a project that benefits all. I am sure that we will be hearing and seeing more from them in the future.

!!! Now featured in the Wall Street Journal !!!


http://online.wsj.com/articles/in-era-of-google-maps-fans-of-paper-maps-refuse-to-fold-1415317412

 

A BIG MEMPHIS THANK YOU to Andrea and Alan!!

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"Inside Memphis" With Jimmy Ogle

As of November 1, the local Inside Memphis program is "on leave" for a while and a national format is being broadcast. Stay tuned . . .

From time to time, you have heard Jimmy being interviewed on the Earle Farrell 4 Memphis Show (Monday thru Friday, 3:00-6:00 p.m.) on KWAM AM990 - The New Talk Of Memphis, and Jimmy has even set in the studio in Earle's absence to host the show on occasion.

Now, please join Jimmy with Chris Wade on "Inside Memphis" every Monday-Wednesday-Friday at 6:40 a.m. on KWAM AM990. George Bryant of KWAM has asked Jimmy to talk about anything that he wants to talk about on Memphis, be it about history, upcoming events, "virtual" tours that he has in his head - just anything. So, tune in to KWAM AM990 - The New Talk Of Memphis!

*** UPDATE ***

Radio personality Doug Stephan refers to Jimmy Ogle during his Good Day broadcast.

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Top 15 Highlights of 2015

 

The Memphis 13 History Markers

On October 3, 1961, thirteen brave “pint-size pioneers” (first graders that came to be known as The Memphis 13) entered four elementary schools in the Memphis City Schools system, thus beginning the desegregation of the largest public school system in the State of Tennessee. 54 years later on October 3, 2015, the Shelby County Historical Commission honored the Memphis 13 that day by placing historical markers at Bruce, Rozelle, Springdale and Gordon Elementary Schools. Historical Commission member, Dr. LaSimba Gray, Pastor of New Sardis Baptist Church, was the instrumental leader of the effort to recognize the students, organize meaningful dedication ceremonies at each school, lead a Police escorted motorcade (Corvette Club) and gather funding for the markers.

 


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Sultana Commemorative Weekend & Cruises

On April 27, 1865, the Sultana loaded with more 2,300 passengers (six times its legal limit and mostly released Union POW’s) exploded about seven miles north of Memphis sending more than 1,700 people to their death in the Mississippi River – the largest maritime disaster in the history of America. 150 years later, 99 descendants of Sultana victims and survivors gathered in Marion, Arkansas and Memphis to commemorate and memorialize the sesquicentennial of this horrendous event. Two cruises were coordinated from the Historic Cobblestone Wharf in Memphis (the same cobblestones that the Sultana departed on its fateful journey in 1865) upriver to as near to the explosion site as possible. The 52nd Regimental String Band played Civil War era music, lectures were delivered by two noted Sultana experts (Gene Salecker and Jerry Potter), a four-musket salute was given, a Civil War era flag was laid to rest in the depths of the river, and each descendant gave the name, rank and regiment of their ancestor, then deposited a red or white rose in the depths. This is the only time in history that such a commemorative cruise recognizing the Sultana Tragedy has ever occurred. It was a very moving cruise for descendants from all over the country.

 


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Alan Lightman “Screening Room” Interview

The third annual Memphis Jewish Literary and Cultural Arts Festival was sponsored in October by the Memphis Jewish Community Center, and one of the features was former Memphian, Alan Lightman, author of six novels (including the international bestseller Einstein’s Dreams), several essays, and the book Screening Room: Family Pictures. Alan’s grandfather, M.A. Lightman, formed MALCO theatres in 1916 and the family has grown the movie theatre empire to 60+ theatres in seven states. Alan grew up in East Memphis in the same neighborhood as me and attended White Station, but we never met in the 1960s (although we did share memories of the same Sears and Putt-Putt!). Trained as a theoretical physicist, Alan taught at Harvard and at MIT, where he was the first person to receive a dual faculty appointment in science and humanities. Screening Room covers the family saga from the immigration to America in the late 1800s to the present, including the turbulent 1960s in Memphis that include family encounters with Elvis Presley, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and E. H. “Boss” Crump (when Alan left town to go to college) to his return in the 21st century of BBQ, music and Downtown revitalization. Many thanks to Amy Israel of MJCC for asking me to host/emcee the Lightman “conversation” to a packed house at the MALCO Ridgeway Cinema Grill on October 19.

 


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Wayne Jackson “Memphis Legends” Wine Label

Delta Blues Winery in Lakeland was the setting on August 30 for the introduction for a new wine label honoring the legends of Memphis music. I was ask to represent Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell in reading and presenting a Proclamation to trumpet player Wayne Jackson, one of the two members of the famous Memphis Horns (along with the late Andrew Love, saxophonist), who are credited on more # 1 hits that any other performers in the history of music! Local celebrities David Porter (“Soul Man”) and weatherman Dave Brown also honored Wayne that day. As the label states: “Rising up from the rich Delta soil of the Mighty Mississippi, Memphis is the perfect blend of raw, sophisticated spirit, the authentically southern and soulful charm delivers extraordinary experiences. The music has a sound all of its own. They call it the Delta Blues, Easy, Pure, Unique, and Memorable, just like the Delta Blues Winery”. Many thanks to Sheila & Jim Wilson for their hospitality on dedication day and continuing to support Memphis Music Heritage in a unique way.

 


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First Pitch at Memphis Redbirds Game

Being Honorary Duckmaster at The Peabody Hotel was a big thrill. Now, on the other corner of Union Avenue and B.B. King Blvd, being selected to throw out the First Pitch at a Memphis Redbirds’ baseball game in AutoZone Park was equally thrilling. I was selected by Diana Threadgill to “represent” the Mississippi River Corridor Tennessee for the promotion that day (September 2). I was also honored to share the mound that day with Memphis’ most famous bat boy, Stan Bronson, who has been recognized by the Guinness Books of World Records for his unmatched career for the University of Memphis baseball team (since the 1960s). Play Ball!

 


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Memphis Medical Society

I come from a family of doctors and I was so honored to be the keynote speaker at the 138th Annual Meeting and Installation of Officers of the Memphis Medical Society on January 31 in the Ballroom and the Holiday Inn - University of Memphis. My aunt, Dr. Evelyn Ogle, was the first female President of the Society in 1992 and my late stepfather, Dr. Hal P. James, was included in the Recognition of Members deceased in 2014 portion of the service that evening being recognized in the program. It was indeed an honor to stand before several hundred members of Memphis’ most honored profession (Medicine) and speak about its legacy, and to meet old friends of my late father, Dr. L.C. Ogle, Jr., who passed away in 1969.

 


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Bass Pro Opening Night & In-Room Guide: Memphis History Pages

I have a had a long history with The Pyramid, but I have never been so exhilarated as to be in the Apex on April 29 for the Opening Day of the Bass Pro Pyramid attraction. Words cannot really describe what The Pyramid has been transformed into, but for sure it is a success, with over two million patrons visiting the outdoor hunting, fishing equipment and clothing “experience” in its first seven months of existence. On opening night, I was asked to help coordinate the “message” from the Lookout Club outdoor balconies – identifying what people were seeing in all four directions to the horizon to about twenty miles away, from 280-feet high. But, the real lasting memory for me was being asked to provide a History of Memphis for the 105-room Big Cypress Lodge – a two-page narrative on pages 4-5. Also, meeting the Flying Elvi at the Apex was a thrill; having watch them descend on the masses in the parking lot earlier that evening.

 


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Lobby Exhibit Series in Shelby County Administration Building

The Vasco E. Smith Administration Building of Shelby County government at 160 North Main Street has recently completed an extensive upgrade. Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell asked me to coordinate his concept of displaying the history of the various communities in Shelby County in the Lobby, focusing on the rural countryside first. Three nice display cases were constructed and on July 8, about 100 folks gathered to open the first exhibit on display from the Historic Archives of Rosemark & Environs (HARE) – and what an exhibit it was! Many thanks to Judge Jon McCalla, Penny Glover and Molly Hampton of HARE for assembling the items for display and setting the standard for all future exhibits to follow. And, on December 21, the Morton Museum of Collierville and Main Street Collierville opened the second exhibit under the supervision of Ashley Carver and Laura Todd, and many thanks to Collierville Mayor Stan Joyner for his kind words at the Opening.

 


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Shelby County History Awards Dinner

The 5th Annual Shelby County History Awards Dinner was held at Hillwood Hall in Davies Manor on August 5. Despite a fierce, driving rainstorm that afternoon and evening, over 130 folks from a dozen local history organizations attended, along with the First Place students from the Tennessee History Day competition. “50 Years of the Shelby County Historical Commission” was the theme and former Chairmen of the SCHC - Dr. Charles Crawford, Dr. Douglas Cupples, Paul Matthews, Lee Millar, Dr. Curt Fields (current) and myself were the guest speakers. SCHC member, Graydon Swisher, received the Ellen Davies-Rodgers Award for his service to Memphis and Shelby County history during the year, specifically his efforts with the Trails Of Tears Association. Mark Janzsen of First Assembly Christian School received the Ed Williams History Teacher of the Year Award.

 


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The 10 Hour Tour!

On the 10th Minute of the 10th Hour of the 10th Day of the 10th Month, 62 folks stepped off from
the roof of Beale Street Landing and winded their way through the alleys and bluff, streets and
sidewalks, parks and plazas, and walk bridge of Downtown Memphis and the Memphis
Riverfront on the first-ever “10 Hour Tour”. Fifteen folks joined in along the way, and 22 made
the entire 10 hours (without lunch) – thus receiving their Certificate Of Walking. Many thanks to the Ernest Withers Gallery and the Cotton Museum for providing “comfort stops” along the
way. The next 10 Hour Tour will be at 10:10 a.m. on Saturday, 10/10 in the year 2020! See you
there . . .

 


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Grizzlies Drive About

On October 9, I loaded up on a bus in the lowest level of FedExForum and provided some commentary for the “new” members of the 2015-16 Memphis Grizzlies. This was the second annual Welcome To Memphis Bus Tour for new Grizzlies team members. We visited the students of STAX and the Soulsville Academy (and were thoroughly entertained), the patients and staff at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, stopped by The Rendezvous where Percy brought some scrumptious goodies up to the bus and then completed the tour with a stop at the National Civil Rights Museum plaza. Eight students from Grizzlies Prep rode the bus and experienced very unusual and unique interaction with NBA players. Just another example as to why the Memphis Grizzlies won the “Beyond Sport” Award for the best community oriented professional sports franchise in the entire world.

 


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Historic New Daisy Theater Ribbon Cutting

Historic Beale Street welcomed a new tenant (Live Nation) to the Beale Street Entertainment District when a formal ribbon cutting was held on October 5 for the New Daisy Theater. The New Daisy is over 70 years old and has provided a variety of entertainment to millions over the years, the past thirty years being led by Mike Glenn. Mayor AC Wharton, entertainer Paul Thorn, JW Gipson and Steve Adelman of the East Beale Street Development Project participated. But the highlight that day for was being able to talk about Jody Stephens, CEO of Ardent Studios. Jody and I played Junior Baseball together for First Baptist Church. In 1962 at Cherokee Park, Jody was the catcher that caught the only no-hitter I ever pitched in my life (small world!). Jody later was a member of the legendary Memphis band, Big Star (along with two of my fellow MUS students – Andy Hummel and Chris Bell). The balcony at the New Daisy has undergone major renovations, changing the second-level seating area into a VIP experience known as the Big Star Room. Live Nation promotes over 23,000 concerts in 33 countries annually for about 60 million fans! Not bad.

 


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Beale Street Caravan 20th Anniversary Music Tour

On October 29, I was asked by the good folks at Beale Street Caravan (Kevin Cubbins, Kate Hackett and Ms. Pickles) to conduct a Memphis Music Walking Tour from the new headquarters of Beale Street Caravan at 49 Union Avenue throughout Downtown, Beale Street and ending up at Rum Boogie Café. About 30 folks stepped off at 5:30 p.m. and we talk about music and the Mississippi River and Cotton Row; the Orpheum Theatre; WHBQ at Hotel Chisca; Elvis Presley Plaza, Lansky Brothers; BB King’s Blues Club, Gibson Guitar Factory; made the intersection of “King and King” (BB King and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.), by the old Three Alarm Studio and to the Ernest Withers Gallery. Beale Street Caravan, formed by our late friend Sid Selvidge, is a one hour non-commercial radio series broadcasting live recordings of Memphis music and its derivative forms to an international audience of 2.4 million worldwide weekly listeners on over 400 stations around the globe. I really like the slogan on the new tee shirts for Beale Street Caravan: “I Listen To Memphis”!

 


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Summer Avenue Merchants Association

While giving a walking tour in Elmwood Cemetery on September 19, I mentioned at the grave site of a Mr. Graham that he was the person that Graham Street and Grahamwood School were named for and that his grave was originally on the school site at Summer & Graham (moved later to Elmwood). Well, Debra Meadows spoke up and said that was with a newly formed group named Summer Avenue Merchants Association ( SAMAMemphis.com) which had formed earlier in the year to protect Summer Avenue and promote its future. Well, I went to the next SAMA meeting, met Meghan Medford (SAMA President) and many others of like minds about Summer Avenue’s value and potential. I grew up in the 1950-60s equi-distant between Laurelwood Shopping Center, Poplar Plaza, High Point Terrace and Summer Center –riding my bicycle to my favorite spots like Poplar Tunes, the Peanut Shoppe, McDonald’s, TG&Y, Stamm’s, Parks Belk and Mark Twain Cafeteria – all on Summer Avenue in one area (basically the Summer Center Shopping Center at Summer & Waring). What memories! It will delight to share the awesome history of Summer Avenue in 2016 with you as we all bond together to make a brighter future in the six-mile stretch from East Parkway to the Wolf River.

 


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Memphis Music Hall of Fame Opening

On August 21, the Memphis Music Hall of Fame (MMHF) opened at 126 Beale Street on the second floor above the Hard Rock Café and Lansky Brothers. MMHF now has four classes of inductees of incredible names (too many to mention here), with about another 200 deserving Memphis legends waiting in the wings. The joy for me is that MMHF is spawned from the Smithsonian’s Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum (John Doyle, Pam Hetsel, Josh Swee), of where I was the opening director in the year 2000. Also, I have two objects on loan - WHBQ & Hotel Chisca Sidewalk “Sandwich Board” from the 1950s and a Carl Perkins sign from Three Alarm Studio (1986-87).

 


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Bonus:

The dedication of the Poplar Tunes Historical Marker during Elvis tribute Week, along with a Historical Marker for Lauderdale Courts (on the same day) with a “Walk In The Footsteps of Elvis Tour” guided by Sue Mack and Mike Freeman, proved to be another great day of Memphis Music Unity for fans all around the world. Most touching was the words spoken from many former employees in attendance at 308 Poplar Avenue, who share in a unique reunion and common bond that Poplar Tunes was a special place in worldwide music history that will never be duplicated!!

 


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"History is Made" at Westy's -- May 27, 2015!


JMO1, JBS3, JBS5, JBS4, JMO2, JMO3 (in arms)
That's about 250 years of Jimmy Ogles and Jake Schorrs!

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Old Forest Trail Hike in Overton Park

Believe it or not, one of the best times to visit the Old Forest is in the Winter, when all the leaves have fallen and one can actually see "through" the upper canopy for several hundred yards.  At this time, one can really see how tall some of the trees tower.  The forest floor become somewhat barren and a Winter stage of life takes place.  Even the poison ivy takes a nap (not really, it just discolors!).

10:00 a.m. Every Second Saturday & Last Sunday of Each Month

Saturday  –  September 10, October 8, November 12, December 10

Sunday  – September 25, October 30, November 27, December 25

Assemble at the Lick Creek Bridge, just south of the Rainbow Lake parking lot
or just east of the # 2 tee of the historic Overton Park Golf Course, on Old Forest Lane, of course!
This 90-minute hike is different every time it is taken, as the Old Forest has a new story to unveil every day . . .

 

!!!  T-SHIRTS AVAILABLE  !!!

In honor of the 40th anniversary of the Citizens to Preserve Overton Park v. Volpe
U.S. Supreme Court decision, we've reproduced a vintage CPOP shirt from the 1970s.

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Thanks to the great people at Bluff City Sports
for spiffing up the original design for us!

We will mail you this fabulous shirt as a thank-you gift when you donate $15 or more to Citizens to Preserve Overton Park.
You can fill out the
handy form on our website to donate securely online with your credit card or Paypal account.

If you would rather pick up your shirt in person and/or pay by check,
please email us at
overtonparkforever@gmail.com to make arrangements.

Many thanks to citizens George Cates and Gary Shorb, Senator Beverly Marrero, Representative Jeanne Richardson, Councilperson Jim Strickland and Governor Bill Haslam for The Old Forest of Overton Park the 82nd State Natural Area in the State of Tennessee this Summer. Also, stay tuned for updates about the formation of the Overton Park Conservancy to protect and upgrade Memphis' greatest park.

Speak Up for Overton Park, visit www.overtonparkforever.org.

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TOURS

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