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Jimmy Ogle Tours


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If you would care to make a donation to help offset the costs of the free tours, please use the PayPal button below.

Private or custom tours vary in cost and are subject to availability.

Thank you for helping to keep Memphis history alive.

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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
asking for additional information.

Jimmy Ogle Tours


    -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -      April News      -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   



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Baseball Memphis At West Tennessee Historical Society

Monday, May 5, 2014 7:00 p.m.
Wunderlich Auditorium * Memphis University School * 6191 Park Avenue


  Longtime friend and fellow Metro Stats Crew operative, John "JJ" Guinozzo is opening the vaults of his more than fifty-year collection of Memphis Baseball memorabilia. JJ has been the Official Scorer for the Memphis Redbirds and previous professional baseball teams here since 1971, and one of the only eight scorers in Memphis professional baseball history since 1877! JJ has been compiling and annually updates his "Memphis Baseball Encyclopedia" with all sorts of facts & figures, classic photos & trivia, and the general history of Memphis' legacy and continuing presence in the Great American Pastime.

Two performances were held at the Memphis & Shelby County Room of the Benjamin Hooks Central Library on July 7 and August 22. The programs were about 45 minutes long and full of photographs accompanied by JJ's insightful and witty remarks. We are very grateful to the folks that "packed the house" on "Opening Night" on Thursday, July 7. Three exhibit cases will display (through Labor Day), all sorts of "JJ Baseball memorabilia" including pennants, score books, caps, classic photographs of ballparks and many former players, autographed baseballs, championship rings, promotional items like bobble heads, cups & t-shirts, and on and on - a real treasure trove from a very treasured scorer and collector, JJ Guinozzo (2-2-2 - DING!).

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2014 Shelby County History Festival Vendor List
APTA, Bolivar Fort Wright Historical Society
Arlington Chapter of the APTA Gen. N.B. Forrest Historical Society, Inc.
Bartlett Historical Society Historic Archives of Rosemark and Environs, Inc.
Big Black Creek Historical Association Jewish Historical Society of Memphis and Mid-South
C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa Jimmy Ogle's Talks & Tours
Casey Jones Home & Railroad Museum Memphis Explorations
Cordova Museum Morton Museum of Collierville History
Davies Manor Association, Inc.  Mud Island River Park
Descendants of Early Settlers  Runningwind Creations
Descendants of Early Settlers of Shelby County Shelby County Archives
Dyersburg Army Air Base Memorial Assoc, Inc. "Veterans' Museum" Shelby County Historian
Elmwood Cemetery Shelby County Historical Commission
Faraway Cherokee The Tennessee Genealogical Society
Forrest, N. B.  Camp 215, SCV Watauga Chapter, DAR
Forrest's Raiders (Memphis Raid) West Tennessee Historical Society
  Woodruff-Fontaine House 


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Jimmy Ogle Appointed Shelby County Historian

November 6, 2011 - Jimmy Ogle, a walking encyclopedia of Memphis history and lore, stands in a flower pot on Main Street while giving a tour along November 6th Street through downtown Memphis. Roughly 120 people strolled with him on the free, three-hour, walking tour that traveled from Beale Street to Shadyac Avenue in the Pinch District.
Photo by Mike Brown


Memphis Commercial Appeal-Mar 24, 2014 - Shelby County Commissioners on Monday selected Jimmy Ogle, chairman of the Shelby County Historical Commission, to serve as the county historian for the next six years.
Ogle, 61, was among three nominated and was head-to-head with 31-year-old Lauren Beaupre, whose youth some commissioners thought would bring a fresh perspective on the position, in the second round of voting.
Beaupre received four votes on the first round, and Ogle received five votes. Charles Crawford, 82, received two votes in the first round. On the second round of voting, Ogle received nine votes and Beaupre received four votes.

Memphis Daily News-Mar 24, 2014 - The Shelby County Commission has appointed Jimmy Ogle, chairman of the Shelby County Historical Commission, as the new county historian. Ogle, who is also general manager of Beale Street Landing and the Riverfront Development Corp., serves a six-year term in the unpaid position.
Ogle was selected Monday, March 24, in a process in which University of Memphis history professor Charles Crawford and Faith Christian Academy teacher Lauren Beaupre, who has also been a fellow at the Tennessee Center for Historic Preservation, were nominated. Ogle, who succeeds the late Ed Williams, is only the third person to hold the position of county historian and the first to serve with a specific term of office.


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Composite Calendar For FREE Public Tours
Spring, 2014


Tuesday, April 1 – 11:45 a.m.
TUESDAY TOUR: Union Avenue Manhole Cover & History Tour
Meet at Front & Union (Cotton Museum)

Tuesday, April 8 – 11:45 a.m.
TUESDAY TOUR: Beale Street Landing
Meet at 251 Riverside Drive

Sunday, April 13 – 2:00 p.m.
Bridge Walk (Memphis & Arkansas Bridge)
Meet at Crump Park (Exit 12C on Crump Blvd. Westbound or I-55 North)

Tuesday, April 15 – 11:45 a.m.
TUESDAY TOUR: South Main Street
Meet at Hotel Chisca, South Main Street & Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue

Tuesday, April 22 – 11:45 a.m.
TUESDAY TOUR: Pinch District
Meet at Westy’s, 346 North Main Street

Sunday, April 27 – 12:00-5:00 p.m.
Shelby County History Festival
Hillwood Hall @ Davies Manor Plantation

Tuesday, April 29 – 11:45 a.m.
TUESDAY TOUR: Cobblestone Wharf
Meet at Foot of Monroe & Riverside Drive

Monday, May 5 – 7:00 p.m.
BASEBALL MEMPHIS Presentation with J.J. Guinozzo
West Tennessee Historical Society
Wunderlich Auditorium, Memphis University School
6191 Park Avenue (wths-tn.org)

Tuesday, May 6 – 11:45 a.m.
TUESDAY TOUR: Adams Avenue
Meet at Quiltsurround, Adams & Front Street

Tuesday, May 13 – 11:45 a.m.
TUESDAY TOUR: Madison Avenue
Meet at University of Memphis Law School, Madison & Front Street

Thursday, May 15 - 12:00 noon
Shelby County Courthouse Tour (cameras allowed!)
Meet at the Southwest Steps, Adams & Second

Sunday, May 18 – 2:00 p.m.
Bridge Walk (Memphis & Arkansas Bridge)
Meet at Crump Park (Exit 12C on Crump Blvd. Westbound or I-55 North)

Tuesday, May 20 – 11:45 a.m.
TUESDAY TOUR: Monroe Avenue
Meet at Cossitt Library, Monroe & Front Street

Tuesday, May 27 – 11:45 a.m.
TUESDAY TOUR: Court Square & Surroundings
Meet at Court Square, Hebe Fountain

Tuesday, June 3 – 11:45 a.m.
TUESDAY TOUR: South November 6th Street
Meet at Beale Street, Elvis Presley Plaza
Between Main Street & Second Street

Tuesday, June 10 – 11:45 a.m.
TUESDAY TOUR: Union Avenue Manhole Cover & History Tour
Meet at Cotton Museum, Union Avenue & Front Street

Thursday, June 19 - 12:00 noon
Shelby County Courthouse Tour (cameras allowed!)
Meet at the Southwest Steps, Adams & Second

Thursday, July 17 - 12:00 noon
Shelby County Courthouse Tour (cameras allowed!)
Meet at the Southwest Steps, Adams & Second


Save The Date!
Shelby County History Awards Dinner
7:00 p.m. – Wednesday, August 6
Hillwood Hall @ Davies Manor Plantation
3570 Davieshire Drive, Bartlett
Tickets: $25 – daviesmanorplantation.org (386-0715)

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While studies and funding sources continue to be developed for the Harahan Greenline, walks continue on the Memphis & Arkansas Bridge (I-55) - the only legal sidewalk over the Mississippi River within 500 miles of Memphis - an exhilarating view and experience. The assembly point is Crump Park, which is reached by traveling west on Crump Avenue (or I-55 North) to Exit 12C (Metal Museum Drive). Crump Park abuts the Super 8 Motel near Chickasaw Heritage Park and the National Ornamental Metal Museum. Parking is free and cars will be attended during the walk and talk. We assemble in the middle of Crump Park under the prettiest tree in Downtown - a large magnolia.

The sidewalk has been a part of the Memphis & Arkansas Bridge since its opening in 1949, with the M & A Bridge being the southernmost of the three brides on the south bluffs, along with the Frisco Bridge (center, 1892) and the Harahan Bridge (northernmost, 1916-17). The commentary includes information about the south bluffs, river economy, the bridges, steamboats, Metal Museum, former Marine Hospital, railroads and, of course, the Mississippi River.

The distance to the land of the State of Arkansas is 5,222 feet, or about a mile, but the walk to middle of the bridge above the Mississippi River channel is about 1,000 feet, being 100 feet over the water and rights nest to the whirring traffic of I-55. The opening commentary lasts abouts 20 minutes, with the walk across the bridge (and back) being variable due each individual's desire (and stamina), curiosity and endurance.
Bring a camera!

Sundays @ 2:00 p.m. - March 30, April 13 and May 18.

Need a little incentive?
Here is Bridge Walk veteran Gale Reeves'

perspective from Studio1014photo.com

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  Ah - April Fools Day - Tuesday, April 1, 2014. Who would have thought that on on May 7 (2008), when the inaugural Great Union Avenue Manhole Cover & History Tour stepped off (on a dare and a bet), that a "tradition" would begin that would honor the unsung elements of the infrastructure of Downtown Memphis - streets, sidewalks and storm drains, parks and plazas, alleys, rooftops and utilities - over 200 tours and counting! Well, TUESDAY TOURS does just that, and more providing all sorts of history and tidbits about the past, present and future of Downtown Memphis.

  The basics of the tours are the same - the assembly time (11:45 a.m.), length of tour (time, 45 minutes during the lunch hour), length of tour (distance, about four blocks), accessibility (on the sidewalks and street surfaces of Downtown Memphis), the phone number (901-604-5002), the cost - FREE and all tours are camera friendly! The only variables each week would be the weather (and it is usually only a strong rain that cancels the tour,) tour name and the assembly point (so see below) . . .


April 1 - Union Avenue Manhole Cover & History Tour (Cotton Museum, Union & Front)
April 8 - Beale Street Landing (251 Riverside Drive)
April 15 - South Main Street (Hotel Chisca, at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue)
April 22 - Pinch District (Westy's, 346 North Main)
April 29 - Cobblestones (Foot of Monroe, at Riverside Drive)

May 6 - Adams Avenue (Front & Adams, Quiltsurround))
May 13 - Madison Avenue (Front & Madison, University of Memphis Law School)
May 20 - Monroe Avenue (Front & Monroe, Cossitt Library)
May 27 - Court Square & Surroundings (Court Square, Hebe Fountain)

June 3 - South November 6th Street (Beale Street, between Second & Third)
June 10.- Union Avenue Manhole Cover & History Tour (Front Street Deli, Union & Front)
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Memphis History: "Centuries Of Adventure & Development"
Meeman Center For Lifelong Learning at Rhodes College - Spring Semester

*** The fourth installment of the Meeman Center course at Rhodes ***

On four evenings, Jimmy Ogle will present various aspects of his studies and life's experiences with Memphis, Tennessee.
From the early explorers and settlers to modern day citizens; from imposing natural landscapes that made Memphis one of the earliest settlements in the nation to the largest metropolis of the Mid-South to the Mississippi River, Cotton, Civil War, Disasters, Beale Street, Memphis Music, Civil Rights, Medicine and the city's modern day impact as the "Nation's Distribution Center" will be covered, including many anecdotes, fun facts, figures and historical achievements of many citizens along the way.

Monday nights in April, 2014  from 5:30-7:30 p.m.


April 7: Before There Was "Memphis" (1541 - 1826)
Historic Memphis To Modern Memphis (1819-2012)

April 14: Memphis Memorials, Statues & Sculptures
The Memphis Music Story

April 21: Cotton Men of Elmwood; Civil War; "The Moving Appeal"
Memphis & The Civil Rights Movement

April 28: Potpourri Night featuring Overton Park; Gayoso Bayou: Then & Now;
Origins & Oddities of the Streets & Bridges of Memphis;
Mississippi River Stories . . . and more . . .


For  registration and/or more information,
go to http://meeman.rhodes.edu or call (901) 843-3965.

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2013 - The Past Year In Review
























Beale Street Landing

  2013 was a year of challenge with the ultimate test being the partial opening of Beale Street Landing. Actually, it was the "understanding" of what a new riverfront facility was expected to be. Phase 4A includes the main building with it nice eyebrow and grass roof, the new home for Memphis Riverboats passenger vessel excursions in Memphis (having docked on the cobblestone wharf since 1955), the landing for several passenger vessel companies that cruise the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers (AMERICAN QUEEN, QUEEN OF THE MISSISSIPPI, GRAND CARIBE) and a restaurant facility with wonderful sweeping views of the Mississippi River, the Delta sunsets and the City skyline. Well, all that came to be except for the daily restaurant, so about about twenty special events and party rentals occurred making memories in these spaces for hundreds of Memphians. Over 500 cruises departed from Beale Street Landing in its first year. Other challenges at BSL were the "get-to-know-you" time (six weeks) of the Memphis In May set-ups and events in Tom Lee Park, 4A construction fences remaining for more than 3/4 of the year and the continuing construction of the area north of 4A known as 4B, and learning to adapt to the ever-changing nature and usage of Riverside Drive (speeding vehicular traffic and road races). BSL now almost complete, we are looking for a Grand Opening this Spring (to be announced), a wonderful play area and a restaurant tenant this Summer. Stay tuned . . .

Talks & Tours

  I am just amazed about how much people appreciate and enjoy history. From the list below, you will see the various groups that I was able to make "Talks & Tours" to in 2013. The four-block-long, 45-minute TUESDAY TOURS are still my favorite, as there is a mix of "regulars" (locals) with a few one-timers from out-of-town - which makes for a nice collection of people to walk and talk with in Downtown, where each block presents a treasure trove of information and unique things to point out and talk about. The BRIDGE WALKS grew in popularity, and people are beginning to see the beauty of the parks on the south bluffs of the City and the great views in anticipation of the Harahan Greenline project. The monthly tour of the Shelby County Courthouse is simply a great tour since it is simply a GREAT building! Several churches and school groups have also requisitioned me to conduct early evening walking tours of the Downtown and Riverfront area, and these 90-minute jaunts cover a cross section of the core and fringes. Having the laptop and projector makes it easy to hit the road locally to senior citizen centers and retirement homes, as well as schools, but in 2013 it was the "Garden Clubs" of Memphis that was the surprise that provided me with an unusual opportunity to talk about Memphis.

Special Programs

  Historical Marker dedications are always unique. This year the Piomingo Chapter of the United Daughters of 1812 raised over $3,000 to cover the cost of fabrication and installation of two plaques in the Shelby County Courthouse - one commemorating the 32 veterans that fought in the War of 1812 who are interred in Shelby County and the other to our county's namesake, Isaac Shelby, a general in the War of 1812. Four descendants of 1812 veterans were on hand to read the names from the plaque, pledges were recited, songs were sung and we cut the (Isaac Shelby) cake. It was a very inspiring afternoon. Of course, the Piomingo Chapter has additionally revived (from 1963) a ceremony in the Shelby County Courthouse that commemorates Andrew Jackson's birthday each March 15. We gather around the historic bust and pedestal of Gen. Jackson (hero of the War of 1812 - Battle of New Orleans, co-founder of Memphis and seventh President of the United States) for the placing of a wreath, patriotic pledges, songs, talks and, of course, cutting the (Andrew Jackson) cake.


  For the past two years, the City of Marion, Arkansas has sponsored an exhibition about the largest maritime disaster in the history of our country - the sinking of the Sultana. Most of the objects on display have been from the collections at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. On April 26, 1865, the Sultana (overcrowded with over 2,300 passengers, most of whom were released Union POW's from the Civil War) departed from the cobblestone wharf in Memphis headed upriver. About eight miles upstream the boilers blew and over 1,700 passengers became victims in the deeps of the Mississippi River and delta. Several years ago, the Tennessee Historical Commission installed a historical marker in Jefferson Davis Park dedicated to the story of the Sultana. It wasn't long before the marker was stolen. In 2009, author Andrew Carroll was in Memphis conducting research for a chapter in his book about lost history in America. (You can read further about this below on this site). On June 8, Andrew and local attorney and Sultana author (Jerry Potter) sponsored the replacement marker in the park. A very nice afternoon on the river banks . . .

Humes High School

  Doing anything with George Klein is a treat, whether it is a book signing or being on his Elvis Show on Sirius radio from Graceland or even years ago working on his annual Christmas Charity Show. But, to be on the stage in the Humes Auditorium with GK (the Class of 1953 president at Humes) and having GK show us the exact spot that Elvis sang on the stage in the talent show that year was spine tingling! And, then having other Humes graduates like Red West and John Bramlett appear, with quite a few Humes alumni in the audience along with hundreds of Elvis fans - this marker dedication proved to be one of the best. Even Mark James, who wrote the lyrics and score for "Suspicious Minds", was there. Gestalt Community Schools is to be commended for opening its doors to the world for this day and giving us the privilege of being on the original stage in the original auditorium of Humes, which was most special. We are also looking to provide some support for Gestalt with the Elvis Room that it inherited and to having a program again on stage this year during Elvis Week 2014 (August 10-17). Stay tuned . . .

Special Recognition

  Mentioned above in the special programs paragraph, at the end of a wonderful 1812 ceremony, I was surprised with a medal from the National Society of the United States Daughters of 1812 - the "Spirit of 1812" medal for contributions to the cause (one of thirty awarded in the country). Quite a honor! Earlier in the Summer at the annual Shelby County History Awards Dinner, the late Ed Williams, our second Shelby County Historian, bestowed upon me the Ellen Davies Rodgers Award, named after our first County Historian, for contributions to further the cause and interest in Memphis and Shelby County history. I was elected to be President of the Davies Manor Association, which oversees the operation and care of the historic structures and grounds Davies Manor Plantation, as well as the event rentals at Hillwood Hall. Mental Floss, the web site and magazine, made me one of the "Ten Obviously Insane Things We Will Never Do Again" in its June issue - a story by Andrew Carroll (that Sultana Andrew Carroll), based on his adventure with me in Gayoso Bayou in 2009. And then, every once in a while, I guest host in-studio that Earle Farrell For Memphis Show on KWAM 990. Back on January 8 (Elvis' birthday), I was filling in for Earle, and producer Cam Williams had lined a Humes high School graduate who had attended Humes when Elvis was there. We just talked. You never know who might be listening, as the next day, national talk show host Doug Stephan of the early morning nationally syndicated radio show "Good Day" spent an entire segment about his automobile journey through Arkansas on the previous day and listening to two "unpolished" guys just talking "like radio is supposed to be". What a compliment.

2014 Outlook

  One thing for sure, there will be a lot of Talks & Tours! With 2014 being the 60th Anniversary year of the Birth of Rock 'n' Roll, music may again take the lead. It was July 5 (1954) when Elvis recorded "That's All Right, Mama" at Sun Studio and July 8 (1954) when that acetate was played over fifteen times by Dewey Phillips on his "Red, Hot & Blue" program at WHBQ in Hotel Chisca (now undergoing a $23 million renovation).

  So, it is only fitting to announced that the Shelby County Historical Commission is working with groups to dedicate two musically significant locations - American Studios (827 Thomas at Chelsea, set for May) and Poplar Tunes (308 Poplar Avenue, set for August). Another historical marker already approved and fabricated is Astor Park (and Memphis Boat Supply), awaiting a location after construction completion in Phase 4B of Beale Street Landing, for its dedication.

  From February 1-May 4, the Memphis Pink Palace Museum will offer a new exhibit entitled RACE. Looking through the eyes of history, science and lived experience, the RACE exhibit presents the reality - and unreality - of race. The RACE exhibit will engage visitors in hands-on activities designed to explore race and human variation. Included in the exhibit will be the display of an original "I AM A MAN" placard that I own which is currently displayed at the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum. A new Tennessee Historical Commission marker will be dedicated in the Sea isle neighborhood that will commemorate the memory of the sanitation workers killed on-the-job in the Winter, 1968.

  The Grand Opening celebration of Beale Street Landing in April will mark a time when the banks of the Mississippi River become more accessible and friendlier to the daily users of the riverfront and the long walkways that stretch between the lower bridges and The Pyramid.

  Humes High School Auditorium Celebration. Gestalt Community Schools has allowed us to use the historic auditorium and we will do just that as a fund raiser for the school during 2014 Elvis Week in August. As a part of the plan, we will oversee the renovation and use of the existing Elvis Room at the school. Just like the historic marker dedication last August, look for a program of entertainment on stage featuring some "friends" of Jimmy O (music, memorabilia, stories and Elvis Room visits) that will make it an Elvis Day to Remember at Humes.

  The "10-Hour Tour"! What?! The 45-minute TUESDAY TOUR once morphed a 3-Hour SATURDAY SUPER TOUR (combined from a variety of TUESDAY TOURS), which will now morph into three, 3-hour tours all combined into one route (with an hour for lunch, equals ten hours) on a select Saturday in Autumn (to be announced later). The first-ever 10-Hour Tour of Downtown and the Riverfront will begin at Court Square, then proceed to the Shelby County Courthouse, and The Pinch District - LUNCH BREAK. Catching the trolley in The Pinch and getting off at Civic Center Plaza, and then heading on over to the middle of the Mud Island Monorail Walk Bridge, back to Confederate Park, down Cotton Row to Union Avenue, the east to Fourth Street, west on Beale Street to the Orpheum Theatre and concluding in the Lobby of The Peabody Hotel.

  And, of course, on November 6 (Thursday), there will be a November 6th, 1934 Street beginning Elvis Presley Plaza on Beale Street.

And now for the list of 2013 groups (below) . . . thank you!

















Achievement School District
Arawata Garden Club
AutoZone Liberty Bowl Media Guide records update
AutoZone Liberty Bowl Statistics Crew (Spotter)
Bartlett Senior Citizen Center (2)
Bartlett United Methodist Church Senior group
Beale Street Landing Hard Hat Tours
Bellevue Baptist Church group
Belle Meade Garden Club
Benjamin Hooks Central Library Experience Series
BOP Club Riverboat Cruise
Breakfast Rotary Club
BRIDGE WALKS (Memphis & Arkansas Bridge) (11)
Cherry Road Baptist Church Senior group
Chickasaw Gardens Garden Club
Christian Brothers University Urban Studies Class
Circle K Kiwanis Club (Kirby Pines)
Citizens’ University for Mayor Luttrell (2)
City of Memphis Parks Renaming Committee (4)
Civil War Show in Southaven Arena
Civil War Trust
Colonial Dames XVII Century – Chucaqua Chapter
Compass Club
Cultivated Friends Garden Club
Davies Manor Teachers In-Service
Daughters of the American Revolution – Hermitage Chapter
Daughters of the American Revolution – George Washington Luncheon
Delta Everything Southern Conference
Downtown Elementary School
Downtown Memphis Commission Howl-iday Pet Parade
Downtown Memphis Commission Realtors Tour (5)
Downtown Museum Day
Downtown Neighborhood Association Riverboat Cruise
Elmwood Cemetery Costume Twilight Tour
Elmwood Cemetery Lunch & Lecture
Elvis Sirius Radio (2)
Executive Women International
Fairview College Preparatory School
Father Don “Talk It Out” (WHBQ Radio) (5)
FedEx St. Jude Classic Media Guide edits
FOX 13 (4)
Gayoso Bayou Tour (4)
George Kessler Society
Germantown Exchange Club
Germantown Kiwanis Club
Horn Lake Library Summer group
Insurors of Memphis
International Children’s Heart Foundation
Kirby Woods Pine Cone Club
KWAM Earle Farrell For Memphis Show (8)
KWAM Inside Memphis with Chris Wade (169)
Kroc Center Senior group
Lakeland Home School
Maria Montesorri School
Marion (AR) Rotary Club
McWherter Senior Citizen Center group
Memphis Area Association of Realtors
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art (Mayor Crump voice for Cloar Exhibit Audio Guide)
Memphis City Schools
Memphis Map For Elvis Fans Unveiling (A. Schwab’s)
Memphis Teachers Residency (2)
Memphis University School Emerging Leaders
Memphis University School – Jerry Peters Portrait Unveiling
Midtown Kiwanis Club
Millington Book Club (2)
Morton Museum of Collierville
National Garden Clubs
New Neighbors
Northwestern Mutual Insurance Company
November 6th Street Tour
Orgill Brothers National Sales Meeting
Our Lady Of Perpetual Help Catholic Church Senior group
Overton High School
Overton Park Conservancy Volunteers Meeting
Paige Robbins Adult Day Care (2)
PEO Chapter AB
Propeller Club
Rhodes College Men & Women’s Scoreboard & Scorebook
Rotary East Club
Sashay Society of Memphis
Second Presbyterian Church Fellow program
Second Presbyterian Church Women’s Club (2)
Segway Tours of Memphis
Shelby County Courthouse Tours (17)
Shelby County History Awards Dinner
Shelby County History Festival
Southern College of Optometry
Southern Democratic Leadership Council
St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral (5)SULTANA Exhibition in Marion, AR
Tauck Tours
Tennessee Forestry Association
Tennessee Genealogical Society Spring Lecture Series
Tennessee Historical Commission – Humes High School Historical Marker Dedication
Tennessee Historical Commission – Sultana Historical Marker Re-Dedication
The Village At Germantown Seniors group
Trezevant Manor Men’s Club
Trinity Baptist Church Seniors program
Trinity Broadcasting Network – “Joy In Our Town”
Tuesday Study Club
United Daughters of 1812, Piomingo Chapter – Andrew Jackson Birthday Commemoration
United Daughters of 1812, Piomingo Chapter – Isaac Shelby Marker Dedication
United Daughters of 1812, Piomingo Chapter – War of 1812 Veterans Marker Dedication
United Daughters of the Confederacy – Forrest 448 Chapter (Olive Branch, MS)
United Daughters of the Confederacy – General Forrest Chapter
University Of Memphis History Class
University Of Memphis History Department Annual Riverboat Cruise
University Of Memphis – Meiji University Exchange program
University Of Memphis Hospitality Class (2) University Of Memphis Baseball Scoreboard
University Of Memphis Men’s Basketball Scoreboard
University Of Memphis Women’s Basketball Scoreboard
University Of Memphis Men & Women’s Golf Score Sheets
University Of Memphis Planning Department
Wesley Terrace Senior group (2)
Williams & Gillentine Legacy Planning Progressive Dinner
Woodland Presbyterian School – Pre K Class
Young Professionals Organization

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JJ Guinozzo Inducted Into Memphis Amateur Sports Hall Of Fame


  On December 2, the Memphis Amateur Sports Hall Of Fame will induct John Joseph Guinozzo ("JJ") into its hallowed halls at a banquet held at the Hilton Hotel.  JJ has been a 50+ year supporter from the sidelines for professional, amateur and prep sports in Memphis and Shelby County.  He is one of the originators of the "Best of Preps" program of The Commercial Appeal in 1969, official scorer for the Memphis Blues, Memphis Chicks and Memphis Redbirds since 1971, on various University of Memphis Stat Crews since the early 1970s, Memphis Grizzlies official scorer, and has served in the stat crews of numerous professional football and basketball teams over the years, including the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.  JJ has also worked in the Media Room of the FedEx St. Jude Memphis Classic for many years.

  In the Summer of 2011 for the Memphis & Shelby County Room of the Hooks Central Library, JJ and I produced "Baseball Memphis", which was a Powerpoint presentation and Summer long exhibit of some of JJ's many artifacts and objects related to the subject (Baseball Memphis will be presented to the West Tennessee Historical Society at its May 5, 2014 meeting at MUS).   JJ is the author and annual updater of the Memphis Baseball Encyclopedia.  JJ has also served as the official scorer for the American Legion World Series each year for three decades and supervised scoring at over 600 games.

  JJ has done research projects for Memphis University School Football (as well as fifteen other Shelby County schools), published "On Whitehaven" about his alma mater and is well known at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.  He scanned over 12,000 photos and researched over 6,000 individuals for the University of Memphis Sports Hall of Fame.

James Owen, JJ, Jimmy Hayslip, Jimmy Ogle

Congratulations to my friend - JJ Guinozzo!  2-2-2, Ding!

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Shelby County Courthouse Tours Resume


  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 Shelby County 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.

January 16 - 12:00 noon

February 20 - 12:00 noon

March 20 - 12:00 noon

April 17 - 12:00 noon

May 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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10 Obviously Insane Things We’ll Never Do Again
(and the Valuable Life Lessons We Learned Along the Way)


Someone Found Me in Mental Floss!


  Well, this actually happened on the May 12 BRIDGE WALK across the Memphis & Arkansas Bridge. As I finished the opening talk in Crump Park and headed up to the sidewalk of the bridge, a gentleman lagged and introduced himself to me. He was (two weeks) new to Memphis and a new employee of the Memphis Grizzlies - Greg Sowell. Now, Greg had a big ol' camera around his neck and said that he enjoyed taking photos of objects and people, as I recall. He had "googled" my name and read that the Bridge Walk was occurring that Sunday. Needless to say, he had a good time, he came to the Union Avenue Tuesday Tour on May 14 and then then Grizzlies got into the "Final Four" of the NBA. I guess he got busy with that; and I went to the The Booksellers at Laurelwood and bought a copy of Mental Floss magazine.

  Now the story stems from a time back in 2010 when Andrew Carroll (the contributor) was doing doing research for a book ("Here Is Where") that he was writing about lost history in all fifty states of America. He googled "yellow fever" in Memphis and George Waring's sanitary sewer experiment in the 1880s, and what would pop up but the "Gayoso Bayou and Jimmy Ogle". So, he called the City Mayor's office (Myron Lowery at the time), and the Mayor's office gave him my cell number. He wanted to venture through the Gayoso Bayou, and I said sure. Fortunately, he came a day early, as the original date was filled with a huge thunderstorm and the bayou was overflowing, even flooding the intersection of Lauderdale & Exchange. Andrew and I had a great adventure that day, and he even helped me "throw rocks" from the third retention pond in the Greenlaw section (a stress reliever for me and another story) later that day.

  So, I feel that the Gayoso Bayou is basically safe, but any wrong person's actions can make any place dangerous. I have never seen a rat or snake or recluse spider, and I guess that I do not know what odorless methane gas smells like! I still carry the same 1819 map with me, the original layout for the town of Memphis, which shows the Gayoso Bayou as being the restrictive eastern boundary - no bridge until 1824 (the article mentioned a 1919 map erroneously). I feel that I will always have courage and always have "adventure" in my sights . . .

  On Saturday, June 10 (2013), I re-connected with Andrew Carroll in Jefferson Davis Park for the re-dedication of a new Sultana historical marker, replacing the original that had been stolen. Three years ago, Andrew "hooked up" with Jerry Potter, local attorney and author of "The Sultana Tragedy" while researching for "Here Is Where" and the friendship developed into a co-sponsorship of the replacement marker. Good will in the name of History can go a long way. Thank you, Andrew and Jerry!



Illustration by Wesley Allsbrook

LESSON 2: Don’t let knowledge stop adventure.

  During a trip to all 50 states in search of little-known historic sites, I took an invitation from a tour guide named Jimmy Ogle in Memphis to explore the storm drains beneath the city. In 1880, Memphis became the first major municipality to create “a separated sewer system,” which entailed two pipe systems—one for storm water runoff and the other for the nasty stuff. The designer was George Waring Jr., the same engineer who transformed an 800-acre section of Manhattan wetlands into what became Central Park.

  Jimmy had trekked through the massive drains only a few times before, using a map from 1919 to guide his way. Before embarking on his first foray, which he did alone, he left a copy of his intended route on his desk with a note saying “Open This Monday”—meaning “If I’m not back by now, here’s where you might find my body.”

  By the time Jimmy took me, he had a little more experience. He led me to an opening into one of the main tunnels and then flicked on his small flashlight. We began sloshing through the ankle-deep water, passing architecturally stunning “chambers” with stone arches and gushing waterfalls flowing over exquisite brickwork. The trickling of water and the occasional boom of a truck’s wheels overhead were the only noises that broke the silence. The experience was exhilarating, and we covered several miles in one afternoon.

  The next day, during a meeting with one of the city’s sewage maintenance employees, I told him proudly of my excursion. He was aghast. “You did what?” He went on to list the things that could have killed me: pockets of odorless methane, poisonous snakes, flash floods, infestations of lethal brown recluse spiders. I had no idea how close to certain death I’d come. When I mentioned all of this to Jimmy, he laughed it off. I admired his courage and am happy that there are people willing to venture into these dark and obscure places. I’m happier still that I’m not one of them.


By Andrew Carroll, author of
Here Is Where: Discovering America’s Great Forgotten History

This article originally appeared in mental_floss magazine. You can get a free issue here.

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Ellen Davies Rodgers Award


  At the 3rd Annual Shelby County History Awards Dinner, Shelby County Historian Ed Williams bestowed the Ellen Davies Rodgers Award to Jimmy Ogle as the leading advocate for history over the past year in the Memphis and Shelby County area. Shelby County has had only two Historians and Mrs. Rodgers was the first (1965-1994) and Ed Williams being the second (1994 to present).

Over 140 folks attended the History Dinner at Hillwood Hall at historic Davies Manor Plantation on August 7. Tennessee's Secretary of State gave a very interesting and informative keynote speech, and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell capped off the evening with some of his closing thoughts about "history".

In between the speeches, recognition was given by several local history organizations to members or individuals for achievements over the past year, and thirteen students that had won categories at the West Tennessee Regional Competition of Tennessee History Day received plaques from the Shelby County Historical Commission.

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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.

A BIG MEMPHIS THANK YOU to Andrea and Alan!!

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Beale Street Landing Update



Update: 03/01/14 - Memphis Riverboats opens the 2014 "Riverboating Season" in Memphis on Saturday, March 1 with a 2:30 p.m. Public Sightseeing Cruise and a 7:30 p.m. Dinner Cruise. Sightseeing Cruises run daily at 2:30 p.m. on the ISLAND QUEEN until October 31, with an additional 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays & Sunday, May 3 thru August 31. There is a Dinner Cruise each Saturday night in March (thru October 25) with additional Friday Dinner Cruises (May 2 to August 29). Go to www.memphisriverboats.net or call 901-527-BOAT (2628) for schedule, tickets, charter information and reservations. Also, the AMERICAN QUEEN returns on Saturday, March 22 and the QUEEN OF THE MISSISSIPPI returns on Friday, March 28. Both vessels, along with the GRANDE MARINER will make 25 visits to Memphis in 2014. Also, "Save The Date" for a grand celebration of the completion of the final phase of Beale Street Landing - Saturday, April 12. ***

  The January 2014 update shows a new year, the river rising and all riverboats "laid up" for the Winter months. The final touches are being put on Phase 4B, which are the northern terraces and islands (including a fabulous Play Area for children), and front door to the intersection of Beale Street and Riverside Drive. Two UrbanArt Commission projects on the premises will be competed this Spring - the Art Walk (600-foot, multi-colored paver walkway almost complete) by Gary Moore and the Evan Lewis "Beale Street Landing" structure (which I can not adequately describe this 54-foot tall work of art, so see the attached photo for the scale model). Memphis Riverboats opens its 2014 season on Saturday, March 1 and the AMERICAN QUEEN will return on March 22.

  The construction fencing finally came down on Tuesday, September 24 with the Service Drive gates being added on Wednesday, September 25. The grounds and grass roof will be open from sunrise to sunset during the Autumn months, with visitors being able to walk right up from Tom Lee Park onto the roof deck until dark. Overnight security (Black Lion) has been added the grounds and soon the parking lot will add gates, landscaping and a parking fee machine. Playground infrastructure is being installed in Phase 4B. The AMERICAN QUEEN returns on Monday, October 28.

  Making it through the first Spring and Summer here has been unusual to say the least! Opening on March 1st with snow flurries is not exactly the friendliest way to greet a new riverboat landing. Having a restaurant operator come and go, without actually opening was a major surprise and disappointment. Learning how to work around and with Memphis In May in Tom Lee Park and its domination of the intersection of Beale Street and Riverside Drive was eye-opening, for sure. What a job some of those Memphis In May volunteers and staff do to coordinate all that has to happen in those six weeks, from start to finish. The Summer weather has been mild and there is a new RFP on the streets for a restaurant operator. Phase 4B (terraces, walkways, and play area) is rolling along. The Mississippi River has been behaving for the most part (like the weather), but the driftwood continues to be a nuisance.

  For the Autumn months, look for quite a few rental events at Beale Street Landing, including the Cochon Heritage BBQ on August 30. The QUEEN OF THE MISSISSIPPI returns on September 6-7 and the AMERICAN QUEEN returns on September 13, after both spending the past two months on the Upper Mississippi River and Ohio River; and then several more times later in the year before laying up in January for Winter maintenance. Look for a Grand Opening of all Beale Street Landing facilities in the Spring of 2014!!

  It is another chapter in The Book of Jimmy Ogle, as the phase 1 portion of Beale Street Landing opens on March 1. A new title - General Manager - replaces the old title of Community Engagement Manager, but it is all still Riverfront Development Corporation. The Phase 1 portion includes the grounds, parking lot, grass roof, plazas, dock, helical ramp and the south side of the main building - all open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. The building will house the offices, ticket counter and gift shop of Memphis Riverboats, the local passenger vessel excursion operator in Memphis since 1955. So, March 1 will be a historic, not only for the facility opening, but also for the first time in 58 years, local excursions will not originate from the historic cobblestone wharf.

  In March, Memphis Riverboats will have a daily 90-minute Sightseeing Cruise at 2:30 p.m. and a 2-hour BBQ Dinner Cruise each Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. (www.memphisriverboats.nets), as well as a few charters during the month. The AMERICAN QUEEN will dock on March 9 and March 24, and the QUEEN OF THE MISSISSIPPI will dock on March 30. Riverboating is back, and Spring Break will be here before you know it!

  Phase 2 will be the opening of the restaurant in the north side of the main building (name to be announced) and will feature a "Memphis Food" menu of BBQ, catfish, shrimp, burgers and more - very popular with locals and tourists alike. Catering functions will also begin in April (Athens Distributing and AutoZone are two booked all ready) in some of the areas of the facility. Then comes Memphis In May, the largest festival of its king in America, in neighboring Tom Lee Park. Ticketed admission will still be continued for Memphis In May events, but Beale Street Landing will continue to be open and free during the month.

  The third phase of 2013 will be considered the Grand Opening once the additional four acres of slopes, terraces, islands and playground on the north side of the building are completed later this year. Safe access to the river's edge will be available in the side of the project. Getting to opening(s) in 2013 has not been easy, and I would like to thank Geoff Wyonzek (Hnedak Bobo Group) for his role as project manager is coordinating all the numerous aspects of construction. Geoff is much appreciated in "Ogle Nation"!

  02/01/13: Phase 4B of Beale Street Landing (BSL) is in the "punch list phase", which means that opening is just around the corner. The Riverfront Development Corporation anticipates that Memphis Riverboats will open its 58th season of sightseeing cruises on the Mississippi River on Friday, March 1 - marking the first time since 1955, the local excursion company will not be boarding from the Historic Cobblestone Wharf. Memphis Riverboats will continue to "fleet" and service its operation at the cobblestone address, but boarding for all cruises (sightseeing, dinner, charters and school groups) will be from Beale Street Landing. The first docking of an out-of-town vessel will be on Saturday, March 9 when the AMERICAN QUEEN will make its first 2013 appearance in Memphis.

  And then, by the middle of April, Riverside Grille and Dockside Bar will open daily restaurant service, lunch and dinner, special events and catered functions - an opportunity for the first time in Memphis history on the banks of the Mississippi River and Memphis riverfront. The grass roof slope and deck will be an instant hit for Memphians and tourists to gather to enjoy the views and vistas of the Delta, sunsets, river traffic, Bridge of Lights and city skyline. Then its April and Spring weather, Memphis In May, the July 4th Celebration and eventually the AutoZone Powerboat Racing Championships in October, and more . . . stay tuned!

  Fast forward to December, 2012 . . . and what a difference a year makes! In a span of 18 months from May, 2011 (+48 feet) to August, 2012 (-9.8 feet), the Memphis riverfront experience nearly a 58-foot fluctuation in level. Construction of the main building in Phase 4A reached about 98% completion by year's end (2012) and the RDC already hosted two AMERICAN QUEEN landings (and a christening ceremony in April), the AutoZone Powerboat Racing Championship in October, two big public parties (Monogram Foods Loves Kids and ArtAFactor in November) and four functions during the holiday season in December. In between there was almost one hundred Hard Hat Tours given of the facility. With the extended record low water this Summer and Autumn, Phase 4B (the additional four acres of land on the north side of the project to Beale Street) was able to give off to a fast start with the lower portion of the terraces and walkway receiving most of the attention.

  As we look to the Spring of 2013, we anticipate the daily dockings for Memphis Riverboats at Beale Street Landing, a milestone marking the first time in 58 years that the local passenger vessel excursions will not embark at the Cobblestone Wharf (which will be receiving a long-needed restoration in 2013) and ushering in a new era of "Riverboating" in Memphis; and we look forward to the opening of the daily restaurant on the river - Riverside Grille & Dockside Bar; and the unparalleled views and vistas from the deck of the grass slope and roof. Hello 2013 . . .

  With Phase 4A construction winding up and over 50 Hard Hat Tours given, with the AutoZone Powerboat Racing Championship run in October, with two successful parties (Monogram Foods Loves Kids "Meat Me In Memphis" and ArtsMemphis "ArtAFactor" on the first weekend in November, with the Corps Dredge Weeks Venture completing its annual low water dredging in the Wolf Harbor - it all adds up to 2013 being an exciting "opening year" for Beale Street Landing. New Year hopes are that the water will return to the Mississippi River and the four overnight vessels - AMERICAN QUEEN, QUEEN OF THE MISSISSIPPI, YORKTOWN & GRAND CARIBE - will enjoy their landings on the new dock at the Foot of Beale & Riverside. Memphis In May (honoring Sweden) will be here before you know it . . .

  New in 2013 and for the first time in its 58-year history of providing local cruises of all kinds, MEMPHIS RIVERBOATS (formerly known as MEMPHIS QUEEN LINE) will begin boarding passengers at Beale Street Landing, rather the historic cobblestone wharf. By the way, a large restoration and interpretive project will begin in 2013 on the Cobblestones, only one year after it received its own recognition on the National Register of Historic Places (thank you Judith Johnson). Riverside Grille & Dockside Bar will open in the Spring, 2013 in the north section and breezeway of Beale Street Landing (BBQ & Catfish and more, casual & comfortable for both tourists & locals). We look forward to greeting many visitors on the Green Grass Roof in 2013 . . .

  Along the riverfront neighborhood in the five-mile stretch between Wolf River and the lower three bridges, Phase 4B construction in Beale Street Landing continues on the additional four acres of park land added into the Foot of Beale/Riverside with sloped terraces and two large island pods for activities and (safe) access to the river's edge for the first time in the City's history. Bass Pro will be completing its retrofit of The Pyramid, and the softening of the city side shore line of the Wolf Harbor from Jefferson Davis Park to the north cove of Island Drive, known as Uptown West, will add greenways, landscaping and better access on former industrial areas. Engineering studies continue in preparation for the opening of the Harahan Greenline over the Mississippi River, connecting West Memphis & Arkansas with Memphis and South Main Street, thus creating a long network of pedestrian and bicycle pathways from the west to the east side of Shelby County (from South Main to Overton Park via Madison or North Parkway, Broad Street, the Greenline, Shelby Farms, Wolf River Greenway through Germantown & Collierville) - what a connection!! The 700+ people participating in the Memphis & Arkansas Bridge Walks of 2012, 100-feet high over the river channel experienced the great views of the river, delta, barge traffic and city skyline - all came away fired up about the opportunity and uniqueness of the future Harahan Greenline. So, stay tuned for 2013 on the Memphis riverfront . . .

  Construction is closing in on Beale Street Landing with the dock anticipated to arrive from Presidents Island in the second week of April. The Steamer AMERICAN QUEEN of the Memphis-based Great American Steamboat Company will arrive on April 26 in her inaugural voyage upriver for the Spring, 2012 season. Jimmy O will be aboard the AMERICAN QUEEN, on April 25-26 giving lectures about his favorite topic - Memphis! A series of celebrations, including the christening by Godmother Priscilla Presley, will be scheduled on April 26-27 prior to her departure for Louisville and the Kentucky Derby.

  Three other overnight passenger vessel excursion operators have scheduled for Beale Street Landing this year - the QUEEN OF THE MISSISSIPPI, GRAND CARIBE and the YORKTOWN. "Riverboating" is alive and well on the Mississippi River again after a four year hiatus.

  The restaurant at Beale Street Landing has been selected - Riverside Grille & Dockside Bar - and it is scheduled to open during the first week of July. The other major daily tenant, local excursion operator of 57 years, Memphis Riverboats (www.memphisriverboats.net), will begin daily docking for all passengers in the month of July, as well. Phase IV-B of the project (the terraces and islands of the northern shore line, from the main building to Beale Street & Riverside Drive, will be bid this Spring with hope of completion in the Autumn, 2013 after two low water seasons on the Mississippi River.

  Over twenty Hard Hat Tours for local community focus groups were conducted in April. Then the annual occupation of Tom Lee Park for the Memphis In May International Festival (www.memphisinmay.org) began with the Beale Street Music Festival (May 4-6), International Barbecue Cooking Contest (May 17-19) and the Sunset Symphony (May 26). Seven days of music, food, sun and tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world - all enjoying the fabulous backdrop of the Mississippi River, river traffic and barge tows, Arkansas Delta and world class sunsets.

  Phase 4-A construction is almost complete. The shell of the building will be completed by October 31, and two large parties will be held on the first weekend of November (Monogram Loves Kids Foundation & the ArtsMemphis "ArtAFACTOR"). Under the green grass roof portion, The restaurant portion will be completed during the Winter months in time for a March 1, 2013 opening of the Riverside Grille & Dockside Bar, and the terminal portion will welcome the 2013 season of the locally owned and operation excursion company - MEMPHIS RIVERBOATS.

  The AutoZone Powerboat Racing Championship will return to the riverfront, after a one-year hiatus, on October 13-14 with viewing areas in Tom Lee Park as well as Beale Street landing (Noon to 5:00 p.m., both days) - with the best views from the green grass roof on top! All activities of the Powerboat Races are FREE.

  During this historic low water phase (second all-time low in recorded history at -9.8 feet) that the Memphis riverfront has experienced in the Summer of 2012, the overnight passenger vessels will continue to dock at the Greenbelt Park Ramp, 1555 Island Drive, until further notice.

Special thanks to Aerial Innovations of Tennessee

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*** War of 1812 Update ***

Plaques Attached; Ogle Awarded!

  On February 28, 2011, I received an email from Dottie McCallen, my contact with the Memphis Bar Association for the Shelby County Courthouse Tours. Dottie had been contacted by Bettie Gustafson about a historical War of 1812 marker at the Courthouse and the Andrew Jackson Bust & Pedestal in the South Hallway. She was wanting to host events to commemorate Andrew Jackson's birthday annually (with the return of a wreath laying tradition at the pedestal) and the War of 1812 participants from the "Memphis" area. (I put Memphis in quotation marks, as there was not a Memphis at that time, but many of these War of 1812 participants played a pivotal role later on that decade in the procurement of the lands of West Tennessee and the eventual founding of the town of Memphis in 1819).

  The War of 1812 "Bicentennial Season" began last year and will continue through to 2015.  Two years of planning and fund raising by the local Piomingo Chapter of the United Daughters of 1812 hit a peak on Saturday, October 5 at the Shelby County Courthouse when two plaques were dedicated at a ceremony in the southeast corridor (see program photos).  Flags were presented, pledges and/or salutes to each flag were spoken, speeches were given, songs were sung (including "Yankee Doodle" and "Eight Thousand Redcoats"), and the cake was cut!   Descendants of War of 1812 veterans were chosen to cut the cake - (left to right in photo) Martha Tibbs (Clement McDaniel), Elise George (Isaac Shelby), Becky Muska (George Washington Oldham), and John Walt (Samuel David Walt).

  Andrew Forbess, Boy Scout Troop 66 and William Prince, Boy Scout Troop 60 marched and held the flags into the corridor.  Thirza Sloan led the gathering in the singing of the National Anthem (inspired during the War of 1812 and written by Frances Scott Key). Aline Roberts of the Honorary Tennessee State President, U.S.D. 1812 extended a greeting, Anne, and  Holzemer (Honorary Regent of the River City Chapter of the DAR) led in the recitation of The American's Creed, and Olivia Chandler spoke of  the Purposes of the National Society of U.S.D 1812.

  The unveiling of the Isaac Shelby plaque was made by Elise George (descendant of Isaac Shelby) and Martha Tibbs (descendant of Clement McDaniel).  [By the way Clement McDaniel's name is also on a plaque in the southwest corridor of the Shelby County Courthouse recognizing Veterans of the Revolutionary War that are Interred in Shelby County, place by the Watauga Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1997.  McDaniel's name is the only name on both plaques in the building].

  The unveiling of the War of 1812 Veterans Interred in Shelby County plaque was made by John Walt (Samuel David Walt), Becky Muska (George Washington Oldham) and Martha Tibbs (Clement McDaniel).  Names of all 32 veterans were read as a part of the unveiling.

  Carla Maitland brought an upbeat lilt to the ceremony in a talk about "war songs" like "Yankee Doodle" (which we sang a version of  "1812" lyrics provided by Bettie Gustafson), "Over There" (WW1), Johnny Horton's pop tune of the "Battle of New Orleans", and even placed sheet music on the chairs for "The Way To Avoid War".  Most importantly, we sang our National Anthem, the "Star Spangled Banner" which was inspired by a battle at Ft. McHenry (1813) in the early part of the War of 1812.

  At the close of the ceremony, Olivia Chandler and Bettie Gustafson made a surprise announcement of the Spirit of 1812 Award presentation to Jimmy Ogle for his efforts in supporting the Piomingo Chapter.  The Certificate and Medal is a nationwide recognition given by the National Society of the United Daughters of 1812.  According to Bettie, only thirty such recognitions have been made throughout the country to date, and this was the second in the State of Tennessee.  It was quite an honor to receive such recognition . . . thank you!


In closing, to the tune of Three Blind Mice, please sing along with me . . .

Eight Thousand Redcoats, Eight Thousand Redcoats
ee how they run, See how they run.
They all ran away from the Tennessee guns,
Old Hickory had the battle won!
did you ever see such a sight in your life?
As the Tennessee volunteers, the Tennessee Volunteers!



War of 1812 Veterans & Gen. Isaac Shelby To Be Honored in Historic Shelby County Courthouse
Saturday, October 5 at 2:00 p.m.


  After successfully promoting birthday/anniversary events (on March 15) for Gen. Andrew Jackson over the past two years, the Piomingo Chapter of the United Daughters of 1812 will not host another event at the Shelby County Courthouse on October 5. Chapter member Bettie Gustafson has led a local fund raising effort for the installation of plagues honoring the Veterans of the War of 1812 Interred in Shelby County and for Isaac Shelby (our county's namesake and War of 1812 General).

  As with a plaque placed by the Watauga Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in the southwest corridor of the Courthouse honoring Revolutionary War Veterans Interred in Shelby County (19), these "1812" plaques will be installed in the southeast corridor. The Piomingo Chapter and the Shelby County Historical Commission have identified 32 veterans buried in various cemeteries in Shelby County.

  Gen. Isaac Shelby, also Governor of Kentucky, was instrumental, along with Gen. Andrew Jackson, in the negotiations with the Chickasaw Nation of all the lands (6.8 million acres) of "West Tennessee" (west of the Tennessee River to the Mississippi River) - now 21 counties of the State of Tennessee in 1818 (Chickasaw Cession). Tennessee became the third state after the original thirteen states to join the Union and the first territory to become a state in 1796. The first 22 years Tennessee was a state, all the land west of the Tennessee River was owned by the Chickasaw Nation. Immediately, Memphis was founded in 1819 on the fourth Chickasaw Bluff in West Tennessee by James Winchester, John Overton and Andrew Jackson. The first Mayor of Memphis, Marcus Winchester, is a War of 1812 veteran interred in Shelby County. These were indeed very formative years for our nation, for the Memphis area and in the careers of Andrew Jackson and Isaac Shelby.

  Gen. Andrew Jackson (co-founder of Memphis in 1819, seventh President of the United States from 1829-1837) rose to national prominence during the War of 1812 period, as well. His marble bust and pedestal already are located in the south hallway "courthouse museum" since 1921 and it commemorates his achievements. The bust is the oldest known bust cast on a sitting President in our nation's history (1835) and was used in the image of the first 4-cent postage stamp in our country!

The dedication ceremony will be 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 5 in the South Hallway of the Shelby County Courthouse, 150 Adams Avenue in Downtown Memphis. Stay tuned...

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Bridge Walk Photos from Marc Schwartz!

If you really want to see what some else sees on the BRIDGE WALK, then look at these wonderful photos submitted by a young photographer with a marvelous eye for "seeing" other things that some of do not "see". Marc has come on quite a few tours due to his enjoyment for Memphis History and is now sharing some of his photos with us through this web site. Thank you, Marc.

So, the next (and last of 2013) BRIDGE WALK is Sunday, November 10 at 2:00 p.m. Meet us under the beautiful Magnolia tree in Crump Park. Crump Park may be reached by driving west on Crump towards the bridges or north on I-55. The last exit in Tennessee before you cross the Mississippi River is Exit 12C (Metal Museum Drive). Attendants will be in the drive and parking lot to direct you to secure parking. Bring a camera!

And, while you are in the French Fort neighborhood, visit the National Ornamental Metal Museum and Chickasaw Heritage park, just south of Crump Park.

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Bill Downie & The PROUD MARY Restoration Effort


  A good thing about writing a story on a part of our nation’s history, such as the PROUD MARY, is that someone “out there” might actually read the story, or be touched by it, or even better respond with “the rest of the story” (as Paul Harvey used to say).

  The original PROUD MARY “Detour” appeared on this site on August 25, 2010 and more than two years later, I receive the following email from Jean Downie:

“My name is Jean Downie and my late husband Bill WAS the Proud Mary Restoration. He put a lot of love, labor and money into her restoration and was devastated when she sank into the the Loosachatchie River in December 1988. I would love to see my husbands name associated with your article on the Proud Mary along side of the Restoration Name. He loved that boat. He spend his life as a tug boat captain on the Eastern Seaboard and it was his life's dream to one day find the Proud Mary and restore her. We came from NY State and her history as she started out; taking prisoners to Sing Sing was part of our culture....” Mrs. Jean Downie...


  So, I went back to my file from the Mud Island days on the 1980s, and sure enough, it contained photocopies of letters and newspaper stories – all attributed to the efforts of Bill Downie trying to save and restore the PROUD MARY,

even a copy of a letter than I had sent, as General Manager of Mud Island, to Jean Downie on May 18, 1987 – small world, huh?.

  The Memphis Press-Scimitar in a December 1, 1967 edition displayed a photo of the MARY ELIZABETH on fire within sight of downtown office workers in the Wolf River Harbor. She was shoving an empty grain back up the harbor to Cargill, Inc. when the smoke and fire was noticed coming from the engine room area. Sam Drain, who had been “deckhanding on the Mississippi River for 45 years”, was tying the barge to the dock when he first noticed the flames. The Memphis Fire Department responded with nine pieces of equipment and took almost thirty minutes to dowse the fire. A 10-car Illinois Central train was held up for about an hour as the fire hose was stretch more than 200 feet across the tracks to reach the fire. Capt. John Murphy said that the “major damage was to the cabin and engine room, and that she would be rebuilt for being placed back into service as soon as possible”.

  Another photocopy is a February 14, 1978 story from The Commercial Appeal, the tugboat PROUD MARY was tied to a dock at Murphy Marine Service at President’s Island. John L. Murphy was the owner (since 1973).Murphy said that he believed a deckhand wrote the song in 1961 or 1962, but he could not remember his name. Larry Barber of Murphy Marine said “It can’t push a barge the way a towboat can. The only way to move a barge is to come along side and tie left to it.” The boat was used mostly as a harbor boat in Memphis. Unlike towboats, the MARY ELIZABETH had no tow knees – the large push rods on towboats used to push barges.

  In the file there is a photocopy of a story from an unidentified New Orleans newspaper with a picture of Bill Downie and his stepson, Henry Kenealy. The story covers the plans to make the PROUD MARY “seaworthy” and visit major ports along the Mississippi River, Lake Pontchartrain and the eastern seaboard, using the vessel for a concert stage playing to audiences on beaches and parks. A culminating event would be set for July 4, 1987 in the New York harbor and the PROUD MARY then returning to Memphis to be donated to the Mississippi River Museum on Mud Island for display.

  t that time, making the PROUD MARY, a 74-foot-long & 63-gross-ton vessel, seaworthy again was estimated to be $42,000, which included items such as extensive welding and patching, purchase of a diesel engine, generator, propeller, shaft and other preparations.

  Jean and Bill lived in Punta Gorda, Florida and in 1995, the Charlotte Sun wrote a story about Bill’s dedication, perseverance and efforts on behalf of the PROUD MARY. In the newspaper article, there is a photo of Bill holding the life board from the PROUD MARY. Bill Downie passed away in 2010 at the age of 75.

  Thank you, Jean Downie . . .

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And, on another update, the Butcher Shop restaurant in Downtown Memphis that had the MARY ELIZABETH painting on display, has closed, to be converted to condos. The Butcher Shop at 107 S. Germantown Parkway in East Memphis near Shelby Farms remains open (901-757-4244, www.thebutchershop.com). Hopefully the portrait will re-surface there or maybe in a nearby museum. Stay tuned . . .

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November 6th Street Tour Update


  On every tour of November 6th Street or Union Avenue that I given since I started the walking tour program in 2008, when talking about the origin of this unusual name, I tell that I have heard of streets named for months (like, May, June, August) or for holidays (like Easter, Christmas, Memorial), but never a street with the combination of month/day/year as the title for this one.

  I have always asked the folks walking on the tour this question: "Has anybody ever heard of another street anywhere named for a month/date/year like NOVEMBER 6th 1934 Street"? To date, there have been no responses with this combination.

  Well, while skimming the "Memphis Memories" section of The Commercial Appeal on January 11 (this year), look what appears in the "50 Years Ago: 1963" but a story about the possibility of naming a stretch of Washington Avenue between Main Street and Second Street to JANUARY 10, 1963 PLAZA!

  Well, that area became "Civic Center Plaza" and in the 1960s, four large buildings were constructed to house governmental offices for Federal (1963), City (1966), State (1967) and County (1969). On July 4, 1976, Pres. Gerald Ford dedicated the "Mid-America Mall", a mile-long pedestrian makeover of Main Street between Exchange Avenue and McCall Avenue (now Peabody Place), a failed effort to recapture the glory years of Main Street from the middle of the century. A large fountain was installed in the (former) intersection of Main & Washington, and now there is a magnificent clock tower structure at this location (although seldom does any of the four clocks tell correct time!). West of the Clock Tower in the former Washington Avenue right-of-way, fly the flags of the foreign countries honored by the Memphis In May International Festival, which began in 1977.

  By the 1990s, a new effort resulted in the Main Street Trolley replacing the Mid-America Mall - in 1993 from The Pinch on the north side of Downtown to Central Station on the south end. The Riverfront Loop addition came on line in 1997 taking over one of the north/south bound railroad tracks along the riverfront, and the Madison Avenue Trolley line was installed in 2004.

Did You Know??? - The first home in Memphis to be connected to TVA power was that of Mr. & Mrs. Nat Jones at 1438 Willett on June 4, 1938!

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"Inside Memphis" With Jimmy Ogle

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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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, just discolors!).

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

Saturday  –   January 11, February 8, March 8

Sunday  – 
 January 26, February 23, March 23

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 . . .



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.

Click To Enlarge

Click To Enlarge

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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For Your Future Calendar


More information is available on the TOURS page.




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