FC: A Virtual Tour of | Historic Downtown Memphis
1: Compiled by Christopher Stewart
3: People often forget the history of their hometown. Memphis, Tennessee has a rich history and all one has to do is take a walk. The following pages detail my walk through downtown Memphis.
5: Slavehaven | The Burkle Estate, now known as "Slavehaven", is a property located in the uptown area of Memphis. It was owned by Jacob Burkle who operated the Memphis Stockyards from this site. The location was convenient for housing livestock and supplies. Allegedly, Burkle's property was used as a station in the Underground Railroad to house fugitive slaves. The property contained hidden passageways and a hidden basement.
6: The Memphis Queen was built in 1955 and was the first all-steel passenger ship docked on the Mississippi River. The boat is outfitted with two decks and two smokestacks and is 83 by 43 feet. The boat is still docked on the river and is now on the National Register of Historic Places. | The Memphis Queen
7: Memphis, since its founding, has been a hub city due to its location on the river. This landing was home to many merchants and trade posts and is the last one remaining in the United States. | Cobblestone Landing
9: This park is located on Front street overlooking the bluff. In the United States Civil War, this spot was occupied by Confederate troops, where they scouted the area. The vantage point over the Mississippi River made it ideal for Confederate troops to fire cannons on Union ships when they approached the landing. | Confederate Park
10: The Orpheum Theatre
11: Church Park | The Orpheum Theatre is one of the few remaining movie palaces constructed in the 1920s. Once home to Vaudeville shows and movies, the theatre now plays Broadway shows, concerts, and classic films. Allegedly, the theater is haunted. | Church Park was erected in 1899 along with an auditorium and served as a cultural center for African American blues singers. It is in part of this park, located at South Fourth and Beale Street, that Beale Street is known as "The Home of the Blues."
12: Handy Park is an outdoor pavilion on Historic Beale Street and has been there since the late 1800s. The park gets its name from W.C. Handy, "The Father of the Blues", who was purportedly discovered here. | W.C. Handy Park
13: Beale Street | Beale Street was founded in 1841 and served as a trade post for merchants of the Mississippi River. By the mid-to-late 1800s., Beale became a location where African American Blues musicians congregated. Even though many of the shops closed--excluding A. Schwab's-- and Beale was revitalized as a tourist destination, many aspiring performers still congregate here and Beale remains a cultural center.
15: The National Civil Rights Museum | Formerly the Lorraine Motel, this location where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. After King's assassination, the hotel's business dropped trememdously and was foreclosed. To avert demolition, the hotel was bought and transformed into the National Civil Rights Museum.
16: Founded in 1920 by Speros Zepatos, a Greek immigrant, the Arcade has the distinction of being Memphis' oldest diner. It has remained at the same location for nearly 100 years and has withstood depression and downtown Memphis' decline. It remains one of the United States more popular eateries. | The Arcade
18: And That Concludes My Walk.