If you would care to make a donation to help offset the costs
of the free tours, please use the PayPal button below.
custom tours vary in cost and are subject to availability.
Thank you for helping to keep Memphis history alive.
If you would care to make a donation to help offset the costs
of the free tours, please use the PayPal button below.
custom tours vary in cost and are subject to availability.
Thank you for helping to keep Memphis history alive.
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
for additional information.
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History: "Centuries Of Adventure
Meeman Center For Lifelong
Learning at Rhodes College - Spring Semester
*** The fourth installment
of the Meeman Center course at Rhodes ***
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.
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,
http://meeman.rhodes.edu or call (901) 843-3965.
Calendar For FREE Public Tours
Friday, March 14 – 10:00 a.m.
Andrew Jackson 247th Birthday Celebration
Piomingo Chapter of United Daughters of 1812
Southeast Corridor (2nd Floor) – Shelby County Courthouse
Enter at Southeast Corner, Adams Avenue & Third Street
Thursday, March 20 – 12:00 noon
Shelby County Courthouse Tour (Adams & Second)
Sunday, March 30 – 2:00 p.m.
Bridge Walk (Memphis & Arkansas Bridge)
Meet at Crump Park (Exit 12C on Crump Blvd. Westbound or
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
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
Sunday, May 18 – 2:00 p.m.
Bridge Walk (Memphis & Arkansas Bridge)
Meet at Crump Park (Exit 12C on Crump Blvd. Westbound or
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
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)
BRIDGE WALKS RESUME ON SUNDAY, MARCH 30 - 2:00 p.m. @ CRUMP PARK
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
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.
TUESDAY TOURS KICKS OFF 7th SEASON ON APRIL 1
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
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 &
April 8 - Beale Street Landing (251 Riverside
April 15 - South Main Street (Hotel Chisca, at
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue)
April 22 - Pinch District (Westy's, 346 North
April 29 - Cobblestones (Foot of Monroe, at
May 6 - Adams Avenue (Front & Adams,
May 13 - Madison Avenue (Front & Madison,
University of Memphis Law School)
May 20 - Monroe Avenue (Front & Monroe, Cossitt
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)
2013 - The Past
Year In Review
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 . . .
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
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 . . .
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).
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
Cultivated Friends Garden Club
Davies Manor Teachers In-Service
Daughters of the American Revolution – Hermitage Chapter
Daughters of the American Revolution – George Washington
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
Memphis University School Emerging Leaders
Memphis University School – Jerry Peters Portrait Unveiling
Midtown Kiwanis Club
Millington Book Club (2)
Morton Museum of Collierville
M/V GEORGE M. GRUGETT Christening
National Garden Clubs
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
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
Tennessee Forestry Association
Tennessee Genealogical Society Spring Lecture Series
Tennessee Historical Commission – Humes High School
Historical Marker Dedication
Tennessee Historical Commission – Sultana Historical Marker
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
TUESDAY TOURS (21)
United Daughters of 1812, Piomingo Chapter – Andrew Jackson
United Daughters of 1812, Piomingo Chapter – Isaac Shelby
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
University Of Memphis History Class
University Of Memphis History Department Annual Riverboat
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
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
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 -
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
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
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
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
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
James Owen, JJ, Jimmy Hayslip,
Congratulations to my friend -
JJ Guinozzo! 2-2-2,
Shelby County Courthouse Tours Resume
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 22 - 12:00 noon
Created by John Blount,
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.
Obviously Insane Things We’ll Never Do Again
(and the Valuable Life Lessons We Learned Along the Way)
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
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!
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.
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".
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.
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).
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 . . .
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.
MEMPHIS THANK YOU to Andrea and Alan!!
Beale Street Landing 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!!
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
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!
2012 . . .
and what a
In a span of
of the main
and the RDC
Kids and ArtAFactor
given of the
of land on
side of the
able to give
off to a
most of the
As we look
in 58 years
in 2013) and
a new era of
and we look
of the daily
on the river
Bar; and the
the deck of
2013 . . .
and over 50
on the first
Harbor - it
all adds up
are that the
- will enjoy
the new dock
at the Foot
of Beale &
know it . .
in 2013 and
the way, a
2013 on the
will open in
2013 in the
in 2013 . .
of park land
the Foot of
edge for the
line of the
to the north
the Harahan Greenline
west to the
east side of
- what a
views of the
- all came
up about the
2013 on the
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
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
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
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.
The shell of
be held on
time for a
Bar, and the
The AutoZone Powerboat Racing Championship will return to the riverfront,
areas in Tom
Lee Park as
both days) -
roof on top!
During this historic low water phase (second all-time low in recorded
dock at the
*** War of 1812
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
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
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 . . .
In closing, to the tune of Three
Blind Mice, please sing along with me . . .
Eight Thousand Redcoats, Eight
See 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
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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...
Bridge Walk Photos from Marc Schwartz!
If you really want to see what some else sees on the BRIDGE WALK, then
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.
Bill Downie & The PROUD MARY
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).
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
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,
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,
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 . . .
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - -
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 . . .
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.
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,
"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 ***
Doug Stephan refers to Jimmy Ogle during his
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
– January 11,
February 8, March 8
February 23, March 23
Assemble at the Lick Creek Bridge, just
south of the Rainbow Lake parking lot
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
We will mail you this
fabulous shirt as a
thank-you gift when you
donate $15 or more to
Citizens to Preserve Overton
You can fill out the
handy form on our website
to donate securely online
with your credit card or
If you would rather pick up
your shirt in person and/or
pay by check,
please email us at
to make arrangements.
Many thanks to citizens
George Cates and Gary Shorb,
Senator Beverly Marrero,
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
Speak Up for Overton Park, visit
information is available on the
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