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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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    -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -      September 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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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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FREE Public Walking Tour Schedule Thru September

 

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

Sunday, August 28 - 7:00 p.m.
Fairgrounds Walking Tour
Meet at Lot 13 of Mid South Coliseum (North Side)

Tuesday, September 6 - 11:45 a.m.
TUESDAY TOUR: Jefferson Avenue & Piggly Wiggly Tour
Meet at Front Street & Jefferson Avenue, Southwest Corner

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

Tuesday, September 20 - 11:45 a.m.
The Great Union Avenue Manhole Cover & History Tour
Meet at the Cotton Museum, Front & Union

Sunday, September 25 - 2:00 p.m.
BRIDGE WALK: Memphis & Arkansas Bridge
Meet at Crump Park, Exit 12C on Metal Museum Drive

October 20
D'Army Bailey Courthouse Tour
Meet at Southwest Steps, Adams Avenue & Second Street

November 17
D'Army Bailey Courthouse Tour
Meet at Southwest Steps, Adams Avenue & Second Street

December 15
D'Army Bailey Courthouse Tour
Meet at Southwest Steps, Adams Avenue & Second Street


 



On a separate tour note, Jimmy O will be participating in two "open-to-the-public" programs at Historic Elmwood Cemetery in September and the 11th Annual Costume Twilight Tour in October - call 774-3212 for information or to register:

The Voices of Yellow Fever
A Very Special Luncheon &a:Tuesday, September 13

Yellow fever (also known as Yellow Jack, the American Plague and the Saffron Knight) decimated the city of Memphis for much of the 1870's. So many died of the fever or fled that the city lost its charter, becoming a taxing district under Nashville. This plague would claim thousands of lives. Many of the individuals who tried to help stop the scourge of yellow fever rest at Elmwood.
Join the Elmwood Players as they present a first-person narrative account of what life was like during the yellow fever. You'll meet costumed characters with stories of triumph and tragedy that will leave you breathless. Lunch is served with this event, which begins at noon in the Chapel. The cost is $18 per person. Advance registration is required.

Jimmy Ogle's Elmwood
A Very Personalized Walking Tour - 10:30 a.m., Saturday, September 17


Historian Jimmy Ogle has delivered many hundreds of presentations on the history of the city of Memphis. His work has focused on the Gayoso Bayou, The Commercial Appeal, the wreck of the Sultana, and the story of the Civil War. This tour will illuminate Jimmy's favorite sites at Elmwood Cemetery. Jimmy is a beloved storyteller and public speaker; advance registration is highly recommended. This tour will begin at 10:30 am. Cost is $15.

11th Annual Costume Twilight Tour
A rain or shine event! History comes alive! - 3:30 p.m., Saturday, October 22

If you have never visited Elmwood, this tour is the best way to get to know the cemetery and the individuals who rest here. Costumed characters portraying Elmwood residents will introduce you to the history of Memphis' oldest active cemetery. This all-walking tour will begin at 3:30 p.m. Tour groups will depart from the Cottage every ten minutes. The final tour group will begin their tour at 5:00 p.m.

Special Note: The grounds of the cemetery will be CLOSED beginning at noon on Saturday, October 22nd. The gates will re-open at 3:30PM for the Costume Twilight Tour. Tickets are $15 for adults in advance, $20 at the gate. Children under 12 will be admitted free. This event takes place rain or shine. For our mobility-impaired visitors, we recommend that you call ahead and speak with Bob Barnett or Kimberly McCollum regarding tour route information. Call 901-774-3212. Elmwood is grateful to the Crawford-Howard Private Foundation for their generous support of the Costume Twilight Tour.

 

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Summer Is Here, And I Am Not!

(With all apologies to Chevy Chase from the news on Saturday Night Live back in the 1970s). The sun is straight up and there is no shady side of the street to walk or talk on. I have already conducted 153 talks or tours this year, and need a little break from the outdoors. So, the TUESDAY TOURS and Bridge Walks hibernate until September. The monthly Courthouse Tour (indoors) will continue on Thursdays - July 14 and August 18. And, there are still two more Fairgrounds Walking Tour - IN THE EVENING - on Saturday, July 30 and Sunday, August 28 - stepping off at 7:00 p.m. At 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 30, the Coliseum Coalition will erect a big screen in the Grove of former Libertyland to show the fabulous Memphis made movie "Memphis Heat" (all about Wrestling history in Memphis, with the Mid-South Coliseum being the mecca for all that action!).



The first TUESDAY TOUR on the Autumn Calendar will be Tuesday, September 6 at Main & Jefferson. That day will mark the 100th anniversary of "how Memphis changed the way the world shopped for groceries!" On September 6, 1916, Clarence Saunders open the first Piggly Wiggly at 79 Jefferson Avenue. Also, please mark a spot on your calendar for the annual November 6, 1934 Tour, which will be on Sunday, November 6 at 2:06 p.m. beginning at the Elvis Presley Plaza on Beale Street (between Main & Second) and finishing at Westy's (Main & Jackson in The Pinch).

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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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FAIRGROUNDS WALKING TOUR AS PRESENTED BY THE COLISEUM COALITION
Presented by Jimmy Ogle

 

The Fairgrounds Walking Tour date for July is Saturday, July 30 (7:00 p.m.). The Coliseum Coalition boys are going to show an outdoor movie ("Memphis Heat" about Memphis wrestling) that evening at dark over on the green grass of former Libertyland - how cool!! Also, another twilight Fairgrounds Walking Tour will be at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 28. FREE, and come share some of your memories . .

  In Memphis, the "Fairgrounds" has been around for a long, long time. In fact there is no one alive that refers to it as its previous name - Montgomery Park. Even with the Mid-South Fair removed for several years now, the cumulative 160+ acre site (with no Fair) and other major tenants still very prominent (Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium & Tiger Lane, the Kroc Center, Children's Museum of Memphis) - is still called "The Fairgrounds" and there has got to be a reason why?!

  Obviously, for the past 100+ years, between the Mid-South Fair, Mid-South Coliseum, Libertyland, Tim McCarver Stadium, seven baseball & softball fields (including the "sunken diamond"), rental buildings such as the Shelby County, Youth, Merchants, Horticulture and Arena Building, National Guard Armory, Memphis Belle B-17, Swimming Pool, Children's Theatre (Quonset hut), Grand Carousel, Zippin Pippin, Tennessee Derby and on and on and on.

  It's big chunk of property in the geographic center of Memphis and carries millions of memories and an infinite load of hope for the future development and use. So, for FREE on one Sunday afternoon per month at 2:00 p.m., beginning on Sunday, January 17, we will assemble at the parking lot of the Mid-South Coliseum and "step off" heading northward up Early Maxwell Boulevard to walk and talk about the former sites and sounds of "The Fairgrounds" and then also begin looking into the future as a community. Come enjoy and share . . .

  Mark your calendar for Sundays - January 17, February 21, March 20, April 17 and May 22 to join a group of Memphians that want to see the best for the Fairgrounds. These Fairgrounds walks are inspired by the Coliseum Coalition, Livable Memphis, Orange Mound Parade and Action Committee, and Friends For The Fairgrounds.


Memphis Fairgrounds circa 1960


Municipal Swimming Pool

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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

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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Beale Street Landing Update

 
***UPDATED***

 

  *** Update 7/1/16 ***   Beale Street Landing was recently presented an international award for its design by Architizer’s 4th Annual A+Awards! The A+Awards is the largest international awards program focused on promoting and celebrating the best in architecture and products. From 171 design entries from 20 nations and 24 states, the implemented design from was acclaimed as "The Best Marina/Port in the World for 2016"!! Congratulations to all. The design is by RTN Architects of Buenos Aires, Argentina. And, speaking of using this port, three companies have four vessels coming to Memphis this year for 88 disembarkations and embarkation this year, setting a record for Memphis activity. Joining the AMERICAN QUEEN, QUEEN OF THE MISSISSIPPI and the AMERICA will be the LOUISIANE this Autumn. Bloomberg Reports states that there are 55,000 passengers cruising the interior rivers in America this year. In Memphis, we are handling about 20,000 passengers annually now, or about 36% of that industry in America. The popular Twilight Tuesdays have begun at BSL with outdoor movies every Tuesday at sunset (about 8:30 p.m.) on the South Lawn. About 500 people will bring blankets and lawn chairs for FREE movies. Fireworks will again launch over the riverfront on Monday, July 4 at about 9:15 p.m. with the best vantage point being at Beale Street Landing.   ***

 

  The fifth year of the AMERICAN QUEEN docking in Memphis again began on March 7 & 21. To come view the largest riverboat ever to cruise the Mississippi River, come down to Beale Street Landing, go up on the roof or over the Playground - and bring your camera. This Spring, the AMERICAN QUEEN will be in Memphis on Mondays (April 4 & 18, May 2 (at Greenbelt Park Ramp) & May 23, June 6 & 20, and July 4...

  The recently completed overnight passenger vessel season in 2015 was the biggest and best in n n n BSL history, as almost 14,000 visitors "ported" through the Memphis riverfront this year. The economic impact to the community was nearly $40 million! To coordinate the "land side" of the visits is quite a challenge with motor coaches, taxis, delivery trucks and vans of all kinds entering the service drive and needing immediate attention from sunrise to sunset. Of course, the best cart drivers in Memphis are provided by A & W Maintenance throughout the course of each visit as they some times move over 800 passengers, 1,200 pieces of luggage and up to 2,000 boxes of food & beverage products and dry good supplies (in rain or shine). 2016 is already on line now as being even bigger and better than 2015! The first visit if from the AMERICAN QUEEN on Monday, March 7.

  The Summer of 2015 was the first full Summer for all facets of Beale Street Landing to be totally in operation. The hit of the Summer had to be the Movies on the Lawn every Tuesday night which weekly drew over 500+ visitors. I have turned my attention to something that overlooks Beale Street Landing and began taking care of the Historic Bulletin Board (U.S. army Corps of Engineers) that has proudly stood on the top of the Memphis bluffs for almost 80 years (since 1929, now in Vance Park) informing river pilots and landlubbers alike of the river gauge in Memphis. Now, it is not the depth of the river that is displayed, but simply the relation to river to 184' sea level (a standard determined in 1872). The "R" and the "F" by the number indicates whether the river is Rising or Falling, and the number is changed (on a daily basis) every time the reading changes. Sadly, with all of the modern GPS and computer systems in today's pilot houses, the Bulletin Board is now seldom depended upon. However, other Bulletin Boards still exist and are still in operation along the Mississippi River (Cairo, Illinois, Caruthersville, Missouri and Helena, Arkansas).

  Everything is wide open now! Daily riverboat excursions and weekends of overnight cruise vessels landings; lunch and dinners at Riverfront Bar & Grill (closed Mondays) with special promotions as Daily Happy Hour, Wine Wednesdays, Thursday Night Trivia Challenge and Fridays “Live On The Riverfront” Memphis Music! The south lawn of the green roof top is the site of the “Twilight Tuesday” featuring favorite FREE movies on a 24-foot inflatable screen (8:00 p.m.) like Pirate of The Caribbean (July 7), Star Trek – The Future Begins (July 14), Frozen (July 21) and The Princess Bride (July 28). Island Play with its water features is keeping the kids of the riverfront cool and wet. And, above Island Play under the Magnolia tree is a sample display of the surface and railings of the future Big River Crossing which will open on the Harahan Bridge in late 2016. The Grizzles Riverfit stations and volleyball court have been re-installed in our neighbor to the south, Tom Lee Park. Riverside Drive is now back open to four lanes of vehicles with the bicycle test completed, and there is easy access to the Beale Street Landing parking lot.

 

  March is the beginning of a new season for Beale Street Landing, the first full season!  Riverfront Bar & Grill will roll out a new menu in March and begin its "long" hours for lunch and dinner; call 901-524-0817 for information.  With Daylight Saving Time returning on March 8, sunsets will return as a feature to the dining experience, along with the Spring temperatures that are right around the corner.  Memphis Riverboats begins its 2015 season on March 1 with the daily 2:30 p.m. Public Sightseeing Cruise aboard the ISLAND QUEEN (memphisriverboats.net).  The AMERICAN QUEEN first visits Memphis on Saturday, March 21 (aqsc.com).  The Riverfront Development Corporation rolls out a new web site in March that will cover all activities of the Memphis riverfront (memphisriverfront.com).

 

  Riverfront Bar & Grill is now open Tuesdays-Fridays, 11am-9pm with Appetizers, Salads, Sandwiches, Desserts and with the best covered patio in Memphis and most fabulous sunset views. The best views of the July 4th Fireworks were on the terraces and slopes of Beale Street Landing. Island Play with various play and water features has delighted the kids all Summer long. Free Friday Flicks are shown on a 24-foot inflatable screen at the south slope beginning at dusk on Fridays. A recent visit of the NINA and PINTA replicas brought thousands to the docks to view the floating museums. Our neighbors to the east and to the south have been busy this Summer with the additional of the Cycle Track on the southbound lanes of Riverside Drive, slowly down the vehicular speeds along the riverfront, and the Grizzlies RiverFIT Course in Tom Lee Park adding a small soccer field, two sand volleyball courts and six exercise station along the west bank of the park.

 

 Plans to open Riverfront Bar & Grill in the fourth week of June, have been announced with Beth Bomarito (Napa Cafe, Pete & Sam's) being the restaurant's General Manager. Come visit the 30-foot-long catfish on the Play Area Island with the water features being turned on in June. Expect a big Independence day celebration and fireworks blow-out on Friday, July 4. May highlights included a double rainbow, three boats docked at one time for the first time and parent paparazzi involving the playground catfish! In another development that impacts Beale Street Landing will be the introduction in June of a dedicated Bike Lane on southbound Riverside Drive - stay tuned!

 

  Phase 4B is Open! Beale Street Landing now connects Tom Lee Park to the famous intersection of the Riverside Drive & Beale Street with some very nice walkways, viewing areas, terraces and a children's play area (come climb the 8-foot-tall and 30-foot-long Catfish). In fact now, one may walk, jog, stroll or bike from Martyrs Park near the lower bridges all the way to The Pyramid along the river's edge, about a four-mile trek. Plans will be announced soon for a June opening of an eatery at BSL and a grand Independence Day Celebration & Riverfront Fireworks Show.

 

  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 The American Queen 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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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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