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

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

Thank you for helping to keep Memphis history alive.

Jimmy Ogle Tours

 

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

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

Thank you for helping to keep Memphis history alive.
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Welcome to the online home of
Jimmy Ogle

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

Jimmy Ogle Tours

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    -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -      June News      -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -   

 

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** NOTICE **
June 1, 2020

The four Jimmy Ogle Walking Tours at Elmwood Cemetery scheduled for Saturday, April 25 have been postponed to a future date in the September, or once conditions in the City of Memphis improve to where gatherings such as these may continue. If you purchased a ticket for an April 25 Tour (thank you), please contact Elmwood Cemetery (901-774-3212) for a refund at this time.

   Please keep in mind that these are difficult times for bereaved families who do not have the ability or freedom at this time for assembly to grieve, respect and celebrate the passing of a loved one. Staffs at cemeteries all over country are working under restraints and pressure, all in the name of public health and safety. Elmwood is coordinating funeral arrangements under very strict guidelines during these times. Below is the published COVID 19 policy for Elmwood Cemetery (elmwoodcemetery.org). Be safe, and we will see you soon . . . Jimmy O

  From Elmwood Cemetery:
CHANGES DUE TO CORONA VIRUS: In an effort to protect our staff, customers, and families, Elmwood Cemetery has had to make the following temporary changes to our business practices:
1) Our office in the Cottage is closed to the public. The grounds remain open daily from 8 am - 4:30 pm.
2) Funeral arrangements may only be made by phone, by calling 901-774-3212.
3) Elmwood is unable to provide set-ups (tents and chairs) at the grave site for burial at this time. We will continue to provide lowering devices for burials not using vaults.
4) Families should abide by all CDC guidelines regarding social distancing:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/large-events/index.html.

5) The Chapel is not available for use at this time.
6) All scheduled events through April 24 have been canceled or postponed. We will update as more information becomes available. We are sorry for any inconvenience, but our primary goal is to reduce transmission of the virus and to keep Elmwood operational for burials during this difficult time.

 

Four Distinct Tours at Elmwood Cemetery
Saturday, April 25

 From www.elmwoodcemtery.org . . .
A Walking Tour of Elmwood Cemetery
“Historian Jimmy Ogle has delivered hundreds of presentations on the history of the city of Memphis and he's always a hit! His work has focused on the Gayoso Bayou, the Commercial Appeal, the wreck of the Sultana, and Memphis history. Jimmy is a beloved storyteller and public speaker, and advance registration is highly recommended“.
All tours are expected to sell out. Cost is $20 per person for each tour.

For more information, call 901-774-3212. Ticket sales begin March 15th.

Saturday, April 25

Jimmy Ogle's Center-of-the-Cemetery Tour
* Starts at 9:00 am sharp!*
This walking tour of Elmwood will illuminate Jimmy's favorite sites at the cemetery in the CENTER of the cemetery grounds. Highlights include stories of Edward Pembroke, Ernest Withers, E.H.Crump, Benjamin Hooks, Berry Brooks, A.B. Carruthers, Dr. Willis Campbell, Lloyd Binford, Grace Toof, Napoleon Hill, Henry Montgomery, Grosvenor Monument, the Lee Family, Colonel John Smith, Geraldus Buntyn, and more.

Jimmy Ogle's East-Side Tour of Elmwood
* Starts promptly at 11:00 am!*
This walking tour of Elmwood will illuminate Jimmy's favorite sites at the cemetery on the EAST side of the cemetery grounds. Highlights include Howard Association, Masons and Woodmen of the World, Yellow Fever martyrs and victims, Kenneth McKellar, John Reid McClanahan, Civil War section, Sultana Memorial, Wayne Jackson, Shelby Foote, Dr. John Frayser, Andrew Jackson Donelson, Tennessee Children’s Home victims, and even Jimmy Ogle’s favorite fire hydrant in Memphis!

Jimmy Ogle's West-Side Tour of Elmwood
* Starts promptly at 1:00 pm!*
This walking tour of Elmwood will illuminate Jimmy's favorite sites at the cemetery on the WEST side of the cemetery grounds. Highlights include Jack Tucker, Vasco & Maxine Smith, Russell Sugarmon, John Overton, Lillie Mae Glover, Noland Fontaine, Dr. D.T. Porter, James Falls, Herman Frank Arnold, Nash Buckingham, L.C. Humes, “Vance Avenue” Alma Theede, D.P. Hadden, and more.

Jimmy Ogle's South-Side Tour of Elmwood
* Starts promptly at 2:30 pm!*
This walking tour of Elmwood will illuminate Jimmy's favorite sites at the cemetery on the SOUTH side of the cemetery grounds. Beginning at the Church Mausoleum in the southern section of the cemetery, highlights include the Church family, Marion Scudder Griffin, Jimmie Lunceford, Chinese Section and Jiu Monument, A.W. Willis, Slave Monument, Sister Thea Bowman, A. Maceo Walker, Harold Smith, the Dr. Miller brothers, Lt. George W. Lee, and more.

All tours include the general history of the founding of Elmwood Cemetery, historical structures such as the Morgan Bridge and Phillips Cottage, Carlisle Page Arboretum, and the Lord’s Chapel.
 

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WELCOME TO VIRTUAL JIMMY OGLE, PART 2

 

During the Spring and Summer of 2019, the Downtown Memphis Commission sponsored the video recording of about 25 hours of Jimmy Ogle walking through the streets and alleys, parks and plazas, rooftops and riverboats of the Downtown Memphis and Riverfront environs. Once again, it was the “most cultural, sophisticated man-about-town, Willy Bearden” who was tasked with the audio and video recording – this time on the move (www.williambearden.com).

In all, there will be about 15 hours of walking and talking (and pointing) about all of the features, highlights and lowlights of Memphis history - tall buildings, historic homes an churches, manhole covers, historical markers, bridges, streetscapes, scenic vistas and even the Corps of Engineers river gauge bulletin board!
Willy Bearden has decided to start populating the JO Vimeo Site with the short videos he has been working on, with the first episode being about the Mallory Neely House. He is calling it: Jimmy Ogle Knows...Mallory Neely House. Go to https://vimeo.com/393705325.

Currently, the Downtown Memphis Commission is re-branding its web site, with a link coming soon to individual one-hour segments covering Union Avenue, Beale Street, Madison Avenue, Cotton Row, Dr. MLK, Jr. Heritage Corridor, South Main Street, Riverbluff Walk, Southernmost Parks of the Riverbluff, Mud Island Walk Bridge & River Walk, Civic Center Plaza, Court Square & Surroundings, The Edge District, Views from The Pyramid Balconies, Madison Avenue, Judge D’Army Bailey Courthouse, Pinch District and ISLAND QUEEN public Sightseeing Cruise.

In the meantime, just Google these four words “You Tube Jimmy Ogle” to view many of the walking tours – all for free – courtesy of the Downtown Memphis Commission and as the “Bicentennial Gift to Memphis” from Jimmy and Willy! Many thanks to Penelope Huston and Jennifer Oswalt of the Downtown Memphis Commission for recognizing the value of this type of documentation of Downtown in its 200th year of existence.

** NOTICE **
June 1, 2020

During the phases of physical distancing in the community due to the COVID virus situation, the Downtown Memphis Commission has made a tremendous effort to bring many aspects of the Downtown scene from musical performances to chefs to artists to yoga, etc. to the fingertips all viewers in the virtual world. In June, Robert Montgomery of the Blue Suede Brigade will be giving free livestream walking tours for the public on Wednesdays at 11:45 a.m. via the Downtown Memphis Commission Facebook page.

June 3 – “Superlative”” Tour (Firsts and Highlights about Downtown)

June 17 - Beale Street

July 1 – Madison Avenue

Hopefully, as new phases of the re-opening in the City occur this Summer, Robert will be able to lead tours the “old fashion” way – in person. Until then, many thanks to Jennifer Oswalt and Penelope Huston of the Downtown Memphis Commission for the support and seeing the importance of free walking tours, whether in person or by virtual means. Contact information for Robert’s tours: Email: Montgomery@downtownmemphis.com Office: 901-575-0540 / Cell: 901-497-2080 www.downtownmemphiscommission.com

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WELCOME TO VIRTUAL JIMMY OGLE, PART 1


Now available on the internet for FREE, forever, for everyone - enjoy twelve lectures of various historic Memphis topics from Jimmy Ogle, entitled
Making Memphis - Storytelling By Jimmy Ogle.

The series helped kick off the museum's Bicentennial Series saluting Memphis and Shelby County on their 200th anniversary, entitled Making Memphis: 200 Years Of Community.

The Memphis Pink Palace Museum received sponsorship to promote the filming ("in front of a live studio audience") in the Mansion Theatre on Mondays and Thursdays during February and March earlier this year. Many thanks to Steve Pike, Jestein Gibson, Luke Ramsey and dozens of volunteers of Memphis Museums.Inc. that made this possible, as well as these sponsors:

Vincent Astor
Phyllis Petersen
Greg Ericson - Ericson Group Inc.
University Of Memphis Libraries
Communities In Conversation Series at Rhodes College

 

These lectures are easy to find. Go to the web site of Pink Palace Family of Museums - Memphis Museums at
www.memphismuseums.org/pink-palace-museum/exhibits and click on the Jimmy Ogle icon in that section, Use the Pink Palace YouTube channel, or simply Google these four words "JIMMY OGLE PINK PALACE". All twelve lectures will be available in that one site and easy to download.

These videos are available for education, enjoyment and for viewing for any group at any time - for free.
To quote Jimmy O "it's my Bicentennial Gift to Memphis!"

Stayed tuned for another announcement later this Winter about more Virtual Jimmy Ogle with bout 30 hours of walking tours (filmed and produced by Willy Bearden) in Downtown Memphis and the Riverfront - coming from the Downtown Memphis Commission.

 

*** UPDATE ***

I am proud and honored to be a part of such a wonderful group of individuals.
Without them, none of this would have been possible.


This has been, and will continue to be, a challenging time for many of us. We were all devastated when we knew we had to cancel the conference this year. But we also were determined to celebrate and recognize the hard work you all have done. So with that, we are here, presenting your awards virtually. We’re pushing through with the TAM spirit and sense of family to make sure you get the recognition you so deserve.

· Each year TN Assoc of Museums recognizes the projects and accomplishments achieved at TN museums during the previous year. As you will see, regardless of staff size or budget, our museums, all of YOU, are doing wonderful things that need to be recognized and applauded. This year had many entries that showed an underlying theme of diversity, inclusion and community – all so very important right now.

· The awards committee was once again impressed over and over with the creativity, resourcefulness and commitment shown in all of the nominations. We think you’ll agree, TN Museums are doing some amazing things! We encourage you to reach out to the winners, congratulate them, ask about their winning entry, and be inspired by their ideas! We also will be featuring winners over the coming weeks on the TAM website and on social media. We hope this will not only encourage and inspire you, but be a helpful way of sharing your achievements with many others, near and far. Your awards committee is pleased to present to you the outstanding achievements of you and your colleagues.

All of the nominations were looked over and then scored by each committee member on a 1-5 scale, with 5 being the highest and 1 being the lowest. When we all met, we discussed each and every nomination, then shared our scores and why we gave a nomination that score. The scores were then totaled and averaged. If the average score was between 5.0 and 4.5, it received an award of Excellence. If the average score was between 4.49 and 3.75, it received an award of Commendation.

 

Category 5 - $1-5M

~ Memphis Pink Palace Museum, Memphis ~

Temporary Exhibit – Making Memphis: 200 Years of Community – EX
Traveling Exhibit – Memphis’ Bicentennial Goes To Poland! – EX
Permanent Exhibit – Audience Engagement Components (AEC’s) – EX
Digital Media, Blog – Equator Trek / Viaje al Ecuador – COMM
Educational Programming – Memorable Memphians – EX
Special Event – Making Memphis: Storytelling With Jimmy Ogle – EX
Special Recognition – Superpower Pup Pageant – COMM



So, again many thanks to the staff (Jestein Gibson and Luke Yancey) and volunteers at the
Memphis Pink Palace Museum for their efforts in February and March of 2019.

And, a super special THANK YOU to Willy Bearden for his creativity and production talents for getting the series
on video for free viewing and use to everyone forever, and his perseverance in working with Jimmy Ogle!

Catch more of Jimmy Ogle “walking and talking” about Memphis in 2019 on You Tube (Downtown Memphis Commission),
Newman To Now (Memphis Heritage) and Bicentennial Moments ( WKNO).

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Newman To Now Exhibit – A Virtual Opportunity For All

 

Newman's Memphis Website

Memphis Heritage is excited to announce the launch of the new Newman's Memphis website! Don Newman took some of the most iconic photographs of Memphis during the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. Explore the collection of historic Memphis photographs, search for photos, and order prints at: https://www.memphisheritage.pastperfectonline.com/
Memphis Heritage will be adding new photos frequently, so check back often!

Newman's Memphis Quiz

Test your knowledge of Memphis history with our Newman's Memphis quiz! It's an open book quiz - use the new website to help you find the correct answers. We're giving away five Newman Main Street prints, so be sure to enter your email address at the end of the quiz for a chance to win!

    In 2018-19, I was fortunate to participate in a fabulous program through Memphis Heritage and led by Emily Cohen, that brought its Don Newman Collection to life, entitled Newman To Now, and now virtual online to all. Participants were: Gary Walpole – Photographer, Jimmy Ogle – Virtual Walking Tour Leader and Consultant, Nicki Newburger – Videographer, Drue Diehl – Digital Archivist, Kelly Hatton – Shelby County School Liaison, Margot Payne – Architectural Consultant, June West – Director of Memphis Heritage and Interns Tiara Campbell, George Fenton, and Lillian Spell.

  It was a real pleasure to meet with, work with, go out on site to video and photograph with these folks throughout Memphis from March, 2018 through April 2019, and appreciate the work of Don Newman more than ever. Keep in mind, that back in the middle of the 1900s, Don Newman carried an 80-pound tripod, a 25-pound camera with a veil, and using 8” X 10’’ negative, all while probably wearing a coat and tie in sweltering heat. The quality of his images is to perfection and many are used as large photo murals in many public places around town such as The Arcade Restaurant, Lincoln-American Tower, various coffee shops and, of course, at Memphis Heritage, 2282 Madison Avenue at Edgewood.

So, many thanks to Emily Cohen for coordinating all of this effort and making these resources meaningful and available to all online, too. See the recent update from Memphis Heritage below.

Newman to Now website information: https://www.viseyes.org/visualeyes/?gid=2559

 

Update from Memphis Heritage

Dear Members and Friends,

Our Board of Directors, June and I hope you and your family is staying safe and well. We want to update you on what’s going on with Memphis Heritage. In accordance with federal and local guidelines, all of our events through May will be postponed. This includes our Annual Membership Meeting, the Adapt-A-Door Door Dash, and the Memphis Mercantile Market. We look forward to rescheduling these events as soon as we can.

With so many having to follow the official request to "stay at home", we are developing additional educational digital content that will be available soon. In the meantime, check out our virtual exhibit, "Newman to Now.”

We want to stay connected until we can gather together again. Please keep in touch through social media, email and by phone. And stay tuned for more exciting digital content in the weeks ahead!

Take care everyone,
Holly

Holly Jansen Fulkerson
Executive Director
Memphis Heritage, Inc.
901-272-2727

"Newman to Now" Virtual Exhibit

"Newman to Now" uses the historic photographs taken by Don Newman between the 1940s and 60s and contemporary photographs of the same sites taken by photographer Gary Walpole to explore continuity and change in Memphis' built environment.

Explore Memphis’ history through photographs, newspaper articles, interviews, and a virtual walking tour with everyone’s favorite guide, Jimmy Ogle! There are also teacher plans that have been created for this project on the site.

The Newman to Now Project is designed by Memphis Heritage and partially funded by Humanities Tennessee, an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
 

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2020 Women of Achievement Awards Ceremonyognize and celebrate these women.

On Sunday, March 29, in celebration of National Women’s History Month, an elegant reception will be held and awards will be presented to local and stories of their work told in seven categories: Courage, Determination, Heritage, Heroism, Initiative, Steadfastness, Vision.

For Ticket Information ($35 each), go to www.womenofachievement.org. Ticket sales end March 26.
For any other information, contact Deborah Clubb of the Memphis Area Women’s Council (memphiswomen.org) at 901-378-3866, dclubb@memphiswomen.org.

The Memphis Women’s Legacy Trail is a project to document, remember, and celebrate the women of Memphis, Tennessee that have made a lasting impact on the city through their work and lives. Compiled by Dr. Beverly Bond, Dt. Mrgaret Caffrey, Judy Card, Deborah Clubb, Dr. Gail Murray, Jimmy Ogle, and Laura Todd, the brochure and information is the first of its kind in Memphis. The goal is to raise funds to expand the project in hopes to share the stories, history, and vision of these remarkable Memphis women.
A special, first-edition brochure was unveilied at the 35th Women of Achievement Award Ceremony on Sunday, March 24, 2019. Brochures are available by contacting the Memphis Area Women’s Council. Go to www.womenofachievement.org to view a copy of selected parts of the brochure as well as the corresponding map.

        
 

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Shriners Hospitals for Children
US 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization
Provide the highest quality care to children with neuromusculoskeletal conditions, burn injuries and other special healthcare needs within a compassionate, family-centered and collaborative care environment.
Provide for the education of physicians and other healthcare professionals.
Conduct research to discover new knowledge that improves the quality of care and quality of life of children and families.
This mission is carried out without regard to race, color, creed, sex or sect, disability, national origin or ability of a patient or family to pay.
As a 501(c)3 organization, Shriners hospitals for Children relies on generous donations from Shriners, corporations and the general public. Individuals can help support or work in many different ways. To learn more about how you can make a difference in the life of a child, visit https://donate.lovetotherescue.org.
The Memphis temple of the Al Chymia Shrine offices are located at 5770 Shelby Oaks Drive in East Memphis
(901-377-7336).

Al Chymia Shrine Circus
Thursday, February 20 – Sunday, February 23
Show Times Vary Each Day – See Poster Above
Agricenter Showplace Arena, 7777 Walnut Grove Road
Contact Information: alchymiashrine.org (901-377-7336 or 877-384-1874)
Al Chymia Shrine Offices - 5770 Shelby Oaks Drive, Memphis, TN 38134
To Purchase Tickets: 901tix.com or 901-377-7336

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WHER & Calvary Rescue Mission

   In my experiences over the years of walking the sidewalks, streets, alleys, parks, plazas and driving the neighborhoods of Memphis in search of history, I discovered that every block has a story. As many times that I have driven South Third Street (U.S. Hwy 61), south of Crump Blvd., either to view the Gaston Park or STAX and Soulsville, or even to drive on to Tunica and Helena, I have never really thought about what things happened on the stretch of street in the 1950s, prior to the development of the Interstate system in America, or even now in the 21st century. Back then, the U.S. and State highways were the primary roadways for all vehicular transportation across the country. So, Kemmons Wilson wanted to place a Holiday Newman's Memphis Website Memphis Heritage is excited to announce the launch of the new Newman's Memphis website! Don Newman took some of the most iconic photographs of Memphis during the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. Explore the collection of historic Memphis photographs, search for photos, and order prints at: https://memphisheritage.pastperfectonline.com/ . Memphis Heritage will be adding new photos frequently, so check back often! t the four major entries to Memphis:

From the east - U.S. 70 (Summer Avenue in East Memphis)
From the south - U.S. 51 (Bellevue, now Elvis Presley Blvd in South Memphis)
From the west - U.S. 61 (Third Street) at Crump Blvd. (U.S. 78) just after crossing over
the Memphis & Arkansas Bridge
From the north - U.S. 51 (Thomas Street and N. Watkins Street in Frayser)

 

   67 years ago in 1953, Kemmons Wilson opened the third Holiday Inn (in Memphis and the world) on South Third Street. In 1955, inside that Holiday Inn, Sam Phillips, Sun Studio founder, joined with Kemmons Wilson to open and staff the Nation's First "All Girl Radio Station" as WHER - 1,000 Beautiful Watts, with eight women the as first pioneers - Dotty Abbott, Fay Bussel, Dot Fisher, Barbara Gurley, Donna Rae Jackson, Marion Keisker, Becky Phillips, Phyllis Stimbert, and Bobbie Stout as the first set of on-air personalities. At WHER 1430 AM, the Studio was the “Doll Den,” the Control Room was the “Playroom,” and the Manager’s Office was marked “Boss Ma’am.” Becky Phillips said the format was “better music, the kind that lives on through the years to bring back pleasant memories.”

   On that site near the rear of the property was located the Assembly of God Church building that the Presley family attended and where Elvis had sung on stage as a teenager, and it stills stands today as a chapel for Calvary Rescue Mission. How about that?!

                   

   Calvary Rescue Mission was opened in 1967 at 863 Jackson Avenue by Milton Hatcher, and was relocated to several other locations over the next fifty years. On June 19, 2018, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for the new facility with at 960 S. Third Street. Calvary Rescue Mission is a non-profit, independent, faith-based shelter for homeless men in Memphis. It serves two meals per day, offers clothes to homeless, has a nightly chapel service and provides counseling, a disciple program and lodging (110 beds) - all in a debt-free building now..

   Just south of the Calvary Rescue Mission is the City of Memphis Traffic Signal Maintenance & Construction Division of Engineering office which happens to occupy a portion of the Holiday Inn building that still remains to this day! Between the two properties is a perfect patch of green grass along the sidewalk – perfect for a historical marker location, too.

   Betty Hatcher and Director Bob Freudiger of Calvary Rescue Mission were very receptive to the proposal of having a historical marker for WHER and Marion Keisker “in their front yard”, and the rest is history, as they say at the Shelby Count Historical Commission. The WHER marker was dedicated on August 9, 2019. Also attending that day were Dave Brown (who worked with Marion Keisker for a while, and Jerry Williams (who worked at this Holiday Inn and whose father built some of the early Holiday Inns in Memphis). The WHER marker is also listed on the Women’s Legacy Trail recently developed by Women Of Achievement in Memphis (www.womenofachievement.org).

   In closing, please think of the year round services offered at the Calvary Rescue Mission at 960 S. Third Street, just two blocks south of Crump Blvd. As mentioned in the monthly newsletter below, the monthly Chicken Luncheon may be the best fried chicken in Memphis. Please drop by the Calvary Rescue Mission the next time that you are in the area. To contribute to Calvary Rescue Mission, contact calvarymission@att.net or call 901-775-2570 (www.calvaryrescuemission.org).

 

CLICK HERE
To download or read the January newsletter from the Calvary Rescue Mission

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Forever Young
A Wish Organization for WWII, Korea & Vietnam Veterans



December is the month of the year when most memories awaken, whether they are about the annual holiday season events or year-end reflections. Both of those ideas share the words "tax deductions" but more importantly the word "giving".

One organization that I would like to mentioned in the Memphis area is Forever Young - a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which seeks to bring honor, healing and hope to military veterans 65-years and older by granting their unfulfilled dreams, sharing the stories of their sacrifice with others, and returning them with Trips of Honor to the places where they fought (Normandy, Belgium, Italy and Pearl Harbor) and even Washington, D.C.

Returning senior veterans to the places where they fought is a powerful and healing experience. What was once fear and death in their minds from the war, is now replaced with peace and gratitude. For the first time in decades, many of the vets find closure. Hundreds of veterans have been granted the trip of a lifetime.

The local monthly Veterans' Meeting is every third Thursday of each month at 10:30 a.m., with lunch to follow at 11:30 a.m. in the Faith Building at Germantown Baptist Church, 9450 Poplar Avenue, Germantown, TN, 38139.

So, please consider giving a tax-deductible gift to Forever Young. Go to FOREVERYOUNGVETS.ORG for more information.

Forever Young Senior Veterans
185 S. Center Street # 110
Collierville, TN, 38017
901-299-7516
diane@foreveryoungvets.org

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Key To Downtown

On Friday, October 26 at the annual Downtown Memphis Commission Vision Awards, Jimmy O received a Key To Downtown for his "body of work and play of the past 40 years in Downtown. The Key was forged at the National Ornamental Mental Museum for the occasion, which opened in Downtown the same year that Jimmy came Downtown (1979)!

Many thanks to the folks over the years at the Downtown Memphis Commission (formerly Center City Commission) that have allowed and supported the many free public walking tours over the years, highlighted by The Great Union Avenue Manhole Cover & History Tour; The 10-Hour Tour (at 10:10 a.m. on 10/10/15) and the annual November 6th, 1934 Street Tour.

Hopefully this tradition and service will be continued by The Downtown Memphis Commission - maybe there is a Blue Suede Shoe Brigade member that will pick up the torch of talking about the amazing history (and present) of the alleys, sidewalk, streets, parks, plazas, rooftops and storm drains of Downtown Memphis and the Riverfront!

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Beale Street has exciting news to share!

On Friday, November 2nd, the Beale Street Brass Note Walk of Fame Committee awarded
Jimmy Ogle his very own brass note on Beale Street!

“It’s 180 names from all walks of life about Memphis. And me being a guy that doesn't sing or anything. But me being the guy that talks and tells the stories and encourages our history to keep on being told, we're a circle of history here. We're not supposed to take sides and Beale Street is just a place where everyone comes together. So I'm happy to be here on Beale Street, forever.”

(Webmaster's personal note: Congratulations, Jimmy. It truly couldn't have happened to a more deserving soul in and of our city.)

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A "Thank You" from Jimmy O

Many, many thanks are in store to many people over the past 40 years in my life in Downtown for the grandest of all Memphis honors - a Beale Street Brass Note that was unveiled on November 2, 2018 in the legendary Band Box at Blues City Cafe.

The actual Brass Note will be installed on the sidewalk at W.C. Handy Park, 200 Beale Street between Al James and The Blues Brothers!

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Alley Stories & The Last Round-Up

On November 6th, 2018, Jimmy O gave his last of a scheduled series of free public walking tours (November 6th, 1934 Street Tour) in Downtown Memphis that began in 2008 with the 1st Annual Great Union Avenue Manhole Cover & History Tour on May 9, 2008. Individual tours were developed over the years with the framework being about 45-minutes and 4 blocks in length - all on the sidewalk surfaces (handicapped accessible) and FREE! On some weekends, three tours were melded together to make a 3-hour tour.

The 26 custom tours are/were: The Great Union Avenue Manhole Cover & History Tour, Cotton Row, Mississippi - The River, Mississippi River - The Land, River Bluff Walk, The Bridge Walk (Memphis & Arkansas Bridge), Chickasaw Heritage Park to Crump Park; Martyrs Park to Ashburn-Coppock Park to Tom Lee Park, Mississippi Greenbelt Park, Mud Island Walk Bridge, Mud Island River Walk, Cobblestones & Sultana, Beale Street, South Main Street, South Front Street, Civic Center Plaza, The Trolley Loop Tour, Adams Avenue, Jefferson Avenue, Madison Avenue, Monroe Avenue, The Peabody Rooftop 360-Tour, The Moving Appeal (performance), Pinch District, Court Square & Surroundings, and The 10-Hour Tour (the next 10-Hour Tour will be at 10:00 a.m. on 10/10/2020!).

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***   Below is a story from The Commercial Appeal, written by John Beifuss, which captures and characterizes the atmosphere in which Jimmy O approached walking and talking about Downtown Memphis. It was a fun ride, and thank you for all of the faithful participants over the years that made this a fun time.   ***

 

The Beifuss File:

Downtown Memphis' alleys — historic, funky and strange

Alleys, in the public imagination, are places of menace and danger, romance and seduction, illicit trade and fugitive art. Yes, that's a pretty broad description for a narrow passageway. But you know what I mean. Alleys seem authentic, outlaw — cool.

A sports bar is in a strip mall. A speakeasy is in an alley.
The upper crust resides on Park Avenue. The working class inhabits Gasoline Alley.


  When Turner Classic Movies decided to dedicate a weekly program to the sinister crime genre known as film noir, what did the cable channel name it? "Noir Alley." Lee Dorsey sang "Sneakin' Sally Through the Alley." "Sneakin' Jane Down the Lane" just wouldn't have had the same disreputable ring. But what was once déclassé is now fashionable. Eager to embrace so-called authenticity, cities now promote their back streets — what Downtown Memphis Commission president Jennifer Oswalt calls the "alternative paths" that branch off familiar corridors. That can be a metaphor, of course. (You've been to the Meditation Garden at Graceland? Next, why not visit Furry Lewis' grave in South Memphis?) But in the case of Downtown Memphis' network of historic alleys, the "alternative paths" are literal.

  Recently, the DMC announced a plan to beautify several of Downtown's alleys, with public art, decoratively repaved surfaces and other improvements. Specifically, the project — dubbed "The Artery: Stereo to Escape" — will focus on the corridors of Stereo Alley, Maggie H. Isabel Street (actually an alley), Rendezvous Alley and General Washburn's Escape Alley, which connect to form the shape of an unused staple that mostly runs parallel to Second Street.
But those pathways are only four of about a dozen alleys that crisscross Downtown Memphis. So The Commercial Appeal (i.e., me and photographer Joe Rondone) decided to take a walking tour of all of them, with official Shelby County historian, sometime Peabody Duckmaster and top alley cat Jimmy Ogle as our knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide.

  Ogle, of course, never met a vintage street sign, cornice or cobblestone he didn't want to, well, ogle. He is to Memphis knowledge what water is to wet: Inseparable. You might ask about alleys, but his answers will cover much more: Manhole covers (Downtown Memphis has 3,000 of them). Elvis (young master Presley lost his job as a movie usher at the old Loew's State Theater on Main Street after getting into a fight in adjacent Barboro Alley).

  Although most people now experience alleys as pedestrian shortcuts, historically they were a necessity, Ogle said. They provided crucial access to buildings for firefighters and other services, including power and telephone companies. In what is now called Jack Tucker Alley, for example, the sloping cobblestoned surface is interrupted at intervals by deep chutes (now covered with metal grills) that originally were coal chutes, so coal could be dropped down into a building's basement.

When the city was first laid out in 1819, it basically stretched from where the Pyramid is now located to Union Avenue. Consequently, most purposeful Downtown alleys are north of Union, and pretty much end by Court Square.
Here's a rundown of our tour:

• We met Ogle — toting a heavy tin sign embossed with the legend "November 6th, 1934" — at one of the oldest original alleys, now known as Jack Tucker Alley, which stretches down toward the Mississippi from 77 S. Front. The alleyway is named in honor of the late architect (he died in 2009) now known as "The Father of Downtown Living," for working to bring residents back to the historic city center at a time when more people were incarcerated in the Downtown jail than were renting Downtown apartments. According to Ogle, this alley is paved with cobblestones handmade from "nine different kinds of igneous rock."

• Next, we ambled across Front to Barboro Alley, paved with machine-cut cobblestones of decorative concrete known as "bomanite." One of the longest (it connects Wagner Place and Second Street) and liveliest alleys (it has hosted Goner Records concerts), Barboro is home to the neo-speakeasy, Belle Tavern, and the walls of some of its building serve as open air gallery space for impressive murals by such artists as Marcellous Lovelace (whose painting includes a portrait of genius music producer Willie Mitchell) and the team of Birdcap and Ninjacat (who specialize in the expressively cartoonish). Ogle says that, at one point, a stretch of Barbaro near Second was known as "Dead Man's Alley" because it housed two funeral homes. Those were the days!

• Running south from Barbaro to form the bottom half of a T is a small alley known as Center Lane, which reappears north of Union. But Center Lane is just a rumor of a thoroughfare compared to its parallel neighbor, November 6th, 1934 Street, an alley that runs from Beale to just past Jefferson in a frequently interrupted dotted-line pattern with 26 turns. Described by Ogle as "the spine of Downtown," the alley once was home to what Ogle calls the "house of commercial affection" (i.e. brothel) that was run by the "Heroic Hooker," Annie Cook, who lost her life in 1878 caring for the sick during the Yellow Fever epidemic. But what especially interests Ogle is the fact that the alley is named for an event that hasn't exactly imprinted itself into the city's collective memory: Nov. 6, 1934, marks the day that Memphis voted to join the TVA power grid. It's this quirkiness that appeals to Ogle, who thinks "November 6th, 1934" might be America's coolest street name and the only street in the country named after a full date: "There's no 'July 4th, 1776' alley in Philadelphia. There's no 'July 11th, 1969' alley anywhere." For this reason, Ogle is irked that street signs now read simply "November 6th," without the year; that's why he carried his vintage street sign with the complete name, which he held aloft near various street corners with the promise of what ought to be.

• Walking north across Union one comes to Charlie Vergos Rendezvous Alley, named, of course, for the late restaurateur and his famous barbecue restaurant. Crossing the Vergos street like a discarded rib bone is one of Memphis' more interesting paths, General Washburn's Escape Alley, which gives Ogle a chance to put on a one-man show as he re-enacts the comical tale of Union General Cadwallader C. Washburn. Washburn reportedly hightailed it down the alley in his nightshirt when he received word that Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest had recaptured Memphis and was marching his way.

• Head back north on Charlie Vergos alley and it becomes Maggie H. Isabel Street, an alley-by-any-other-name that has received a DMC-coordinated makeover with the addition of decorative lights overhead and newly stamped cobblestone patterns on the asphalt underfoot. Maggie H. Isabel runs alongside Madison Avenue Park, the relatively new "pocket park" occupying a small lot where the alley meets Madison Avenue. A particularly intriguing element of this design is the Tops Gallery space embedded beneath the park, which is higher than the alley for much of its length, thanks to the slope of the street, which rises to meet Madison. A complement to the traditional indoors Tops Gallery at 400 S. Front, the space is essentially a large trapezoidal "vatrine" (glass showcase) for art, like a highfalutin window display in a commercial shop. Curated by Tops owner Matt Ducklo, the gallery currently houses a selection of "totemic modernist forms" by the man who may be Memphis' most significant sculptor, John McIntire. Many days, a homeless drifter slumps near the glass, adding an unplanned performance element to the show.

• Just North of Madison Park off Maggie H. Isabel is Stereo Alley, marked at its entrance on Second by an impressive overhead "Stereo Alley" metal sign, plus the call letters of station KLYX, which once broadcast from headquarters in an alley building (hence the "Stereo" name). The significant Memphis alleys more or less culminate with Park Lane (previously known as Whiskey Alley for its prevalence of bars), and Floyd Alley, which as an unusual claim to fame: You can still see, on a South-facing wall of the Metro 67 apartment building that flanks the alley near Front, the window through which Tom Cruise threw a chair and leaped to freedom while eluding his pursuers in director Sydney Pollack's "The Firm." The 1993 made-in-Memphis film was a John Grisham adaptation. Actually, "It wasn't Tom Cruise, it was Tom Cruise's stunt double," revealed Ogle, shattering the illusions of those "Mission: Impossible" fans who expect the star to hang off jet airplanes and scale sheer cliffs.
Oswalt said the DMC's alley beautification plans are focusing on some of the busiest throughways first. "We believe the investment in these spaces, in these alleys and underpasses and pathways, will return greatly as we connect all of Downtown and the riverfront," she said.
As for Ogle, “I would like to see us put these signs back on there," he said, again brandishing his "November 6th, 1934" sign, with the determination of a true believer.

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Remember Libertyland by John Stevenson

Seven years ago while I giving a presentation at The University Of Memphis, I met a student. John Stevenson, that had an interest in Roller Coasters and Libertyland. Well, he decided to publish a book about Libertyland's history. Arcadia Publishing has published the book, Remember Libertyland, through its Images of Modern America series. Remember Libertyland is now in three Memphis book stores:

Novel, 387 Perkins Extd.
Burke's Bookstore, 936 South Cooper
The Book Juggler, 548 South Main

While sitting in as guest host on the Earle Farrell 4 Memphis radio show (KWAM AM990) on October 2, I was also able interview John about his experiences with roller coasters (I believe that he said that he has rode 173 coasters in America) and writing his first book. John will be in Memphis last this Autumn for book signings, so stay tuned (RememberLibertyland.com). Congratulations to John...

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More Books . . .

Recently, three books of a different Memphis topic have been published that are interesting to read, or would make good "stocking stuffers" this holiday season . . .

 

The Memphis Belle - Dispelling the Myths

by Graham Simmons and Dr. Harry Friedman

  I have known Dr. Harry Friedman for over thirty years and he is has been very dedicated to the legacy of the Memphis Belle B-17, the crew and Memphian Margaret Polk, the namesake. The book covers a long history of the Memphis Belle, and on page 439 there is a photo of Margaret Polk and me sitting on the stage at the dedication, where I was allowed to speak that day and welcome the eyes of world to Memphis.

  When I was General Manager of Mud Island River Park in the 1980s, one of my happiest memories is the involvement with the Memphis Belle Memorial Association (MBMA) and the relocation of the Memphis Belle B-17 bomber from the 91st Bomb Squadron Restaurant near the Memphis airport to the north field of Mud Island, or risk losing it to the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio that year. Credits should also go to Ward Archer, Jr. for leading the fund raising efforts to Save the "Memphis Belle - Home At Last"!

  The staff of Mud Island did a marvelous job coordinating with MBMA and the living crew members of the Memphis Belle, which was the first B-17 to successfully complete 25 missions over Europe in 1942-43 without a loss of a crew member. Margaret Polk, a Memphian and girlfriend of the pilot, Col. Robert Morgan, was also present for the dedication of the Memphis Belle Pavilion on May 17, 1987, as well as eight of the nine living crew members (of the original ten). Over 10,000 spectators filled the banks of the Memphis riverfront and Mud Island for a spectacular air show of seven of the eleven flyable B-17s in the world.

  Eventually the Memphis Belle did move to Dayton. On May 17, 2018, (75th anniversary of the Memphis Belle's last mission over Europe) the Memphis Belle was unveiled at the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio after a multi-year, multi-million dollar restoration. Last year, when I was visiting the abandoned structure on Mud Island, I saw this memo that I had taped to the electrical closet on August 5, 1987 - 30 years later, still there! Many other of my memories of the Memphis Belle will be shared in 2019 in the DETOURS section of this web site.

 

Memphis:200 Years Of Heart & Soul

by Kevin Kane with Samantha Crespo

  The back cover jacket reads: Memphis: 200 Years of Heart & Soul is a celebration of an amenity-rich, sustainable city beloved worldwide. Beginning with a brief history, the book paints the picture of a city that, despite its challenges, became a magnet for dreamers and doers, a place forged by vision and generosity. The book goes on to reveal how these unique conditions created the amenities that make the Memphis we know today. The narrative, told through the eyes of frontline observer Kevin Kane and interviews with community stakeholders, closes on a hopeful note: With such a foundation in place, what might Memphis look forward to in the next 200 years?

  Kevin Kane (President and CEO of Memphis Tourism) and I have known each other since the early 1970s. Samantha Crespo has been covering Memphis in many ways over the past few years (and has been on many Jimmy Ogle Tours), and in Samantha's first edition of "100 Things To Do In Memphis Before You Die", Jimmy O's walking tours were included as one of those things you must do. I was glad to assist Samantha with details and fact-checking on this book. But, the real story is the photography, as the book is dominated with wonderful photos of Memphis scenes and Memphians of all kinds. Check out page 45 for this mug shot of Jimmy O.

 

Overton Park: A People's History

by Brooks Lamb

  Overton Park has been Memphis' "Central Park" for over 100 years, and we all have many memories and stories to tell about Overton Park. I was interviewed by Brooks earlier this year, but now that I have read the book, I marvel at the experiences of the folks that he includes, like Mike Cody, Charles Newman, Willie Bearden, Blanchard Tual, Johnnie Turner, Steve Cohen and even a Zookeeper, Richard Meek.

  The back cover jacket reads: This delightfully informative book, filled with historic photos, offers a history of the park from the perspective of those who lived it. Brooks Lamb interviewed nearly a score of Memphians to learn what the park has meant to them and to discover the transformations they have witnessed. The stories they tell reveal dynamic place that remains, despite changes and challenges, a people's park and, in the words of one resident, "the heartbeat of Memphis".

  Brooks Lamb is currently the conservation projects manager for rural lands at The Land Trust for Tennessee. A graduate of Rhodes College in Memphis and a 2016 Truman Scholar, he wrote Overton Park with the assistance of the Bonner Scholarship and a fellowship from the Rhodes Institute for Regional Studies.
 

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Web Site Tops 100,000 Hits!

  On July 20, 2017, the jimmyogle.com web site received its 100,000 visit. At 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 19, I visited the site and the number was 99,997. At 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 20, I visited the site at the count was 100,002. When giving the public tour of the Judge D'Army Bailey Courthouse at 12:00 non on Thursday, July 20, I was talking about that milestone and one of the couples on the tour chirped up with the remark that they had been on the web site several times overnight. The couple is Paul & Joanne Jeckln from Brisbane, Australia visiting Memphis and looking for something to do - and they found the Courthouse Tour!

  One of the last stops on the tour is in the Law Library and one of my favorite things to do is visit the landing the has bound monthly volumes of The Commercial Appeal from the years 1966-1971. Of course, we turned to a page in the Sports section and see the headline of "Little Owl Tames A Spartan" from the 54-43 victory of MUS over White Station (12/20/69) in Spartan Palace - Jimmy O scored 21 points!

  Paul picked out the July, 1969 volume and turned to the July 20 page where there was a large photo of man landing on the moon. His memory was that he was 14 years old that day in Australia and it was July 21 in that hemisphere at that time. The students were "turned out" of school to watch the moon landing. What a small world.

  Thank you to all of the people from all over the world (see below for the 2017 stats) that have visited jimmyogle.com, and great BIG THANK YOU to Martin Norris for making it happen!!

# Country Pageviews %
1. United States 8,733 66.22%
2. Other 3,414 25.89%
3. United Kingdom 513 3.89%
4. Canada 206 1.56%
5. Australia 39 0.30%
6. Netherlands 25 0.19%
7. Germany 24 0.18%
8. France 21 0.16%
9. Spain 19 0.14%
10. China 18 0.14%
11. Ireland 14 0.11%
12. Philippines 14 0.11%
13. Brazil 10 0.08%
14. Switzerland 9 0.07%
15. Sweden 9 0.07%
16. India 8 0.06%
17. Russian Federation 7 0.05%
18. Singapore 6 0.05%
19. Italy 6 0.05%
20. Japan 5 0.04%
21. Denmark 4 0.03%
22. Belgium 4 0.03%
23. Norway 4 0.03%
24. New Zealand 4 0.03%
25. Malaysia 4 0.03%
26. Taiwan 4 0.03%
27. Turkey 3 0.02%
28. Slovak Republic 3 0.02%
29. Thailand 3 0.02%
30. Colombia 3 0.02%
31. Finland 3 0.02%
32. Croatia (Hrvatska) 2 0.02%
33. Hungary 2 0.02%
34. Kenya 2 0.02%
35. Moldova 2 0.02%
36. Macedonia 2 0.02%
37. Mexico 2 0.02%
38. Costa Rica 2 0.02%
39. Chile 2 0.02%
40. Austria 2 0.02%
41. Czech Republic 2 0.02%
42. Bulgaria 2 0.02%
43. Bahamas 2 0.02%
44. Vietnam 2 0.02%
45. Uganda 2 0.02%
46. Poland 2 0.02%
47. Portugal 1 0.01%
48. Slovenia 1 0.01%
49. New Caledonia 1 0.01%
50. Tanzania 1 0.01%
51. Ukraine 1 0.01%
52. Tunisia 1 0.01%
53. South Africa 1 0.01%
54. Scotland 1 0.01%
55. Bosnia and Herzegovina 1 0.01%
56. United Arab Emirates 1 0.01%
57. Argentina 1 0.01%
58. Serbia Montenegro 1 0.01%
59. Israel 1 0.01%
60. Korea (South) 1 0.01%
61. Morocco 1 0.01%
62. Monaco 1 0.01%
63. Indonesia 1 0.01%
64. Hong Kong 1 0.01%
65. Estonia

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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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TOURS

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