This list is a sample of
various past and present tours and presentations.
View this year’s schedule under
Announcements on the MAIN
Public Walking Tours – Begun in 2008 as a part of the Center City
Commission’s Downtown Alive program of performing arts at lunch time in various
venues in Downtown, Jimmy created two types of walking tours in the Downtown
area that he has entitled "Tuesday Tours" and "Saturday Super Tours". These
Downtown Walking Tours (generally designed to last 45 minutes and be about
four-blocks-long) are FREE and handicapped accessible. Streets and public
areas include: Union Avenue, Court Square, Beale Street, Cotton Row, Pinch
District, Civic Center Plaza, Adams Avenue, Madison Avenue, Monroe Avenue, South
Main Street, Trolley Riverfront Loop, Shelby County Courthouse. Memphis
Riverboats, and the Mississippi River from Riverside Drive. The new addition
to the menu this Autumn will be the November 6th Street Tour inaugural tour on
In the Spring, 2012 (weekends in April & May), an entire new series of
Walking Tours will be offered entitled the Riverfront Parks Series, which will
include extensive walking tours of:  Chickasaw Heritage Park (formerly DeSoto
Park) & Crump Park;  Martyrs Park & Ashburn-Coppock Park;  River Bluff
Walkway & Tom Lee Park;  Confederate Park, Jefferson Davis Park & Cobblestone
Wharf; and,  Mississippi Greenbelt Park & Mud Island River Park. These, and
other tours, are also publicized on the
Memphis Flyer and
University of Memphis web sites.
Step-On Guide – Jimmy has served as a
Step-On Guide in the Downtown area and Memphis
riverfront for motorcoach and tour companies
visiting from out-of-town that request the
service. A standard-in-the-industry fee is
charged for this service.
Private Group Walking Tours – Several
school groups and affinity groups have
requesting walking tours of certain areas of
Downtown or the riverfront.
One-On-One" Tours – Many individuals have
requested private tour time. Private tours may
be arraigned by contacting
Jimmy by phone or email.
Custom Tours – Jimmy has even been given
as a "Christmas present" for someone’s parents
or grandparents. This tour normally involves a
ride around Downtown and the riverfront
culminating in a meal or dessert at a Downtown
Excursions – Jimmy has been known to take
a group of history fans on a field trip or meet
together to "group up" for an event. Last year,
an excursion (via caravan) to the mystical site
of the 1865 sinking of Civil War era vessel
Sultana, in Crittenden County, Arkansas. Several
other interesting stops within the county made
the adventure an unusual time for all. In the
Autumn of the year, a group assemble in Downtown
for lunch, and then walked the
Churches Open House (five churches within
five blocks), which is annually scheduled on a
Sunday afternoon in October. This year’s
excursions will be the Sultana, Downtown
Historic Churches Open House and Randolph,
Tennessee. Details will be on this web site, now
for the Sultana, and in August for the Autumn
outings (Downtown Churches and Randolph). Stay
Old Forest Trail in Overton Park –
Although Jimmy is not the leader of this
semi-monthly tour (second Saturday and last
Sunday of each month), he is glad to participate
as a "caboose" for the exquisite tour given by
the Citizens To
Preserve Overton Park (which he is one of
five members, along with Amy Stewart-Banbury,
Stacey Greenberg & Roy Barnes) and its leader,
Naomi Van Tol. The nature hike changes every
time that it is given, as the Old Forest is
forever changing on a daily basis. (See below).
Tours for Other Agencies – Whether it is
Museum at the Memphis Cotton Exchange, the
Center For Southern Folklore, Shelby County
Courthouse or the Memphis Riverboats company,
Jimmy quite often pitches in to be involved in
the programming, special events and tours for
these and other museums and attractions in
Memphis. You’ll never know where Jimmy might pop
up talking . . .
All tour are in .pdf format.
Jimmy has somewhat entered the cyber age, and
has learned to develop some Presentations in
which he "brings the tour to you" or your group.
Yes, by the miracle of a laptop, projector and
long extension cord, Jimmy is able to provide
any group with one of the following topics – or
- given adequate time for research and
development, a topic of personal preference of
You provide the screen (or blank wall), the
chairs, one electrical outlet and the audience!
Presentations may last from 30 minutes to two
hours depending on the nature of material being
covered and the parameters of the group’s
meeting. Prepared topics are:
"Before There Was ‘Memphis’: 1782-1826"
"Growing Up At The River, Part 1: Memphis in the
"Growing Up At The River, Part 2: Memphis in the
"Memphis & The Civil War"
"Shelby County Courthouse: Inside and Out"
"Historic Memphis To Modern Memphis"
"The Memphis Music Story"
"The Origins & Oddities of the Streets & Bridges
"Gayoso Bayou: Then & Now"
"The Story of the Zippin Pippin"
"Let’s Talk Architecture & Preservation in
"Statues & Sculptures, Lobbies & Plazas"
"University of Memphis: Know Your Neighborhood"
"Cotton & Crypts: Cotton Men Of Elmwood"
"Riverfront Development Corporation"
"Memphis & The Civil Rights Movement"
"The Moving Appeal"
"Memphis & The Great Depression"
"Catching The Big Fish: Memphis' 21st Century Riverfront"
In the past two years, Jimmy has made
Presentations to over one hundred different
groups, including civic clubs, alumni
gatherings, breakfast groups, dinner groups,
senior citizens residential facilities, church
groups and many affinity groups throughout the
Memphis community and the three-state area.
With all due respect to Paladin from the 1950s
western "Have Gun, Will Travel",
Jimmy's motto is "Have Mouth, Will Talk"!!
Jimmy Ogle Appointed Shelby County Historian
November 6, 2011 - Jimmy Ogle, a walking
encyclopedia of Memphis history and lore,
stands in a flower pot
on Main Street while giving a tour
along November 6th Street through downtown Memphis.
Roughly 120 people strolled
with him on the free,
three-hour, walking tour that traveled from Beale Street to Shadyac Avenue in the Pinch District.
Commercial Appeal-Mar 24, 2014 - Shelby County
Commissioners on Monday selected Jimmy Ogle, chairman of the
Shelby County Historical Commission, to serve as the county
historian for the next six years.
Ogle, 61, was among three nominated and was head-to-head
with 31-year-old Lauren Beaupre, whose youth some
commissioners thought would bring a fresh perspective on the
position, in the second round of voting.
Beaupre received four votes on the first round, and Ogle
received five votes. Charles Crawford, 82, received two
votes in the first round. On the second round of voting,
Ogle received nine votes and Beaupre received four votes.
Memphis Daily News-Mar 24, 2014 - The Shelby County
Commission has appointed Jimmy Ogle, chairman of the Shelby
County Historical Commission, as the new county historian.
Ogle, who is also general manager of Beale Street Landing
and the Riverfront Development Corp., serves a six-year term
in the unpaid position.
Ogle was selected Monday, March 24, in a process in which
University of Memphis history professor Charles Crawford and
Faith Christian Academy teacher Lauren Beaupre, who has also
been a fellow at the Tennessee Center for Historic
Preservation, were nominated. Ogle, who succeeds the late Ed
Williams, is only the third person to hold the position of
county historian and the first to serve with a specific term
*** 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...
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.
Jimmy O To Host Star Spangled Banner Dinner at Peabody Hotel
@ Chez Philippe, July 1, 7:00pm
Written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key as a
poem set to a well-known British drinking song, the Star
Banner was designated the national anthem in 1931 by an act
On the mezzanine level just outside the elevators, the
stands a piano once owned by Francis Scott Key!
Four courses, $85* per person, (wine pairing, add $35) valet
parking, take home treat. For more information:
Trail Of Tears "Water Route" Marker Unveiling
Memphis And The Trail Of Tears - They Passed This Way
Tuesday, October 7 * 4:00 p.m.
Beale Street Landing
Update: On Tuesday, October 7,
over 100 folks gathered on the banks of the Mississippi River to dedicate a
National Park Service, National Trails historical marker commemorating the
passage by Memphis of the "Water Route" of the Trail of Tears in 1830s. Troy Wayne Poteete, Justice of the Cherokee
Nation Supreme Court; Jack Baker President of the Trail of Tears Association;
Aaron Mahr, Director of Long Distance Trails of the National Park Service; and
Graydon Swisher, Director of Tennessee Trails Association - all provided
comments for the occasion. The NPS marker was also united with an Alexis de
Tocqueville marker placed in Tom Lee Park in 1998, which had been off display.
The ceremony was followed by a 90-minute cruise aboard the ISLAND QUEEN
riverboat. Many thanks to Graydon Swisher of the Shelby County Historical
Commission for his hard work in making this dedication happen, as well as the
addition of fourteen wayfarer signs along Stage Road for the "Bell Route" (land)
of the Trail of Tears.
The Trail Of Tears Association will be holding a convention in Memphis, October
6-9. On the program is the unveiling of a marker developed by the National Park
Service depicting the "Water Route" that passed along the Memphis riverfront in
1838 as a part of the Trail Of Tears National Historic Trail. Also at the
ceremony, the relocation of the Alexis de Tocqueville marker from Tom Lee Park
next to the Water Route marker will take place, on the river bank in the
southwest corner of the Beale Street Landing property, with a majestic view of
the Mississippi River, sunset and delta.
The ceremony will be followed by a cruise aboard the ISLAND QUEEN
(Tickets available - $15, Graydon Swisher,
email@example.com), departing at 5:00 p.m. Troy Poteete, Executive
Director of the Trail Of Tears Association and Graydon Swisher of the Tennessee
Parks & Greenways Foundation will do the honors for the unveiling and give
special commentary aboard the ISLAND QUEEN cruise.
At a later date, another marker will be unveiled on Front Street
near the site of the crossing of the river of the "Land Route" also know as the
"Bell Route". Waymarker signs marking the Bell Route along Stage Road through
Shelby County have been placed by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
Many thanks to the tireless, multi-year efforts by Shelby County Historical
who is also the "Shelby County Expert & Contact" for Randolph Bluff in Tipton
100 Things To Do In Memphis
Before You Die
by Samantha Crespo
I believe that I first met Samantha on the November 6th, 1934 Street
Tour on November 6, 2011. She had recently moved to Memphis and was a
regular contributor on tourism for the City of Memphis and State of
Tennessee. She has been on quite a few tour since, as well as many other
attractions and places in Memphis, and enjoys writing about the things
that she experiences.
And now a book!
"100 Things" is available in several book stores already - Burke's,
Bookseller at Laurelwood, South Main Book Juggler, Co-Motion on
Cleveland near Sears, St. Blues Guitars on Marshall in The Edge,Cotton
Museum with more locations to be added in the future.
June book signings
with Samantha are:
Thursday, June 5 @ 5:30pm at Burke's, 936 South Cooper (during
Cooper-Young Night Out!)
Saturday, June 7 from 10am-3pm in Overton Park during the "A Day For
Merrymaking: vent, which proceeds being donated to the Overton Park
!!! 60 Years Of Jimmy
As the year
2012 closes, it is time to take a look at the “60 Years Of Jimmy O” Report Card.
My comments will be sprinkled about this section in red . . .
With all of the centennials
(University of Memphis, UT Med), bicentennials (New Madrid Earthquake) and
Sesquicentennials (Civil War events over the next three years), why not have a
year-long "Sexdecennial Celebration" for Jimmy O. Now, in my best research, and
maybe I should have gone to "Ask Vance", I come up with no term for a 60-year
anniversary. So I have combined the six-year (sexennial) and the ten-year
(decennial) to come up with the hybrid "sexdecennial" (six times ten). In
"wedding" terms, it would be the "Diamond" anniversary.
Most of these commemorations begin the year ahead of the actual month/day/date
of the actual celebration and include numerous, well-planned events, milestones
and activities. On November 14, 2012, Jimmy O turns the big "60". So, beginning
one year in advance of that magic date, a series of special talks, tours and
activities will be promoted and provided all year long - beginning with the
Inaugural November 6th Street Tour on Sunday, November 6th (2011).
Here are the highlights, and
be sure to check this web site
for monthly Announcements and program detail
TUESDAY TOURS in November (2011) at 11:45 a.m. on the Downtown streets and
November 1 - Pinch District (Main/Overton Trolley Station)
November 8 - Civic Center Plaza & Hall of Mayors (Clock Tower @ Trolley Station)
November 15 - Madison Avenue (Madison/Front)
November 22 - Monroe Avenue (Monroe/Front)
November 29 - Union Avenue Manhole Cover & History Tour (Union/Front)
TUESDAY TOURS for both Autumn, Spring and Autumn again remain the
mainstay program and “my old favorite”. Attendance was strong and the weather
cooperated on every Tuesday (imagine that). A walking tour of any block of
Downtown or the Riverfront gives one hundred of stories to talk about or
features to point out. TUESDAY TOURS begin in 2013 on May 7 at the new Beale
Street Landing facility, 251 Riverside Drive (11:45 a.m.).
Sunday, November 6 @ 2:06 p.m. - The Inaugural November 6th Street Tour, 126
Beale Street (see story on this page).
The Inaugural November 6th Street Tour tripled
expectations. I expected about 35 folks to attend the 90-minute walk on a
pleasant November Sunday afternoon, and we started at Elvis Presley Plaza on
Beale Street with 114 folks on what was to end being the “Gilligan’s Island”
version – a three hour tour! The limited supply of t-shirts and commemorative
label bottled water did not last long, but 85 folks (lasted three hours) and
made it around tall buildings and extra blocks, around the Hebe Fountain in
Court Square, through the Marriott Hotel lobby and under I-40, through the
“Spine of Downtown” to the Pinch District (17 blocks, 27 twists & turns) to Red
Fish Gallery and Westy’s Restaurant.
SHELBY COUNTY COURTHOUSE TOURS
Fourth Thursday of Each Month @ 12:00 noon.
Meet on the Southwest Steps at Adams/Second.
2011 - November 17, December 22
2012 - May 24, June 28,
September 27, October 25 & November 15
The prettiest public building in Memphis is indeed the Shelby County
Courthouse, and basically the easiest tour to give, inside and out. The
building sells (and tells) itself. The marble and mahogany wood in the South
Hallway along with the six display cases, old benches, historic cuspidor and
Andrew Jackson bust & pedestal make the tour pop on its own. Then add the
Antique Court Room and the Law Library, and on good weather days, the exterior
statues and pediments – every tours is a home run. Many thanks to the Shelby
County Sheriff’s Department and the on-duty guards for their understanding and
cooperation with the tours and groups. The monthly tour still is the one time
that a person is allowed to bring a camera into the Courthouse.
During the Spring, 2012, be
* Spring Season TUESDAY TOURS on the Downtown streets and alleys, parks and
plazas beginning on April 3 and continuing through May 29.
* The RIVERFRONT PARK TOUR SERIES - All New !! On weekend afternoons, all of the
eleven riverfront parks under the jurisdiction of the Riverfront Development
Corporation will be "talked and toured" in April and May. All talks will cover
the extensive history and events of Memphis, the Lower Mississippi River Valley,
the Port of Memphis & Shelby County, Memphis' four bridges, the riverfront
parks, riverboat companies, barge traffic and the Delta afternoons in April and
May, with the following "groupings":
- Chickasaw Heritage Park, National Ornamental Metal Museum grounds, Marine
Hospital grounds & Crump Park
- Martyrs Park, Church Of The River, Channel 3 Drive, "Rivermont" Easement &
- Tom Lee Park, Vance Park, Butler Park & River Bluff Walk
- The Cobblestone Wharf, Jefferson Davis Park, Confederate Park & State of
Tennessee Welcome Center
- Mississippi Greenbelt Park on Mud Island & Mud Island River Park
It was 51 degrees at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 21 when 54 people gathered at
Chickasaw Heritage Park (formerly DeSoto Park; originally Jackson Mounds Park).
The dew was heavy and several of us slid down on the mounds (accidentally, that
is). The tour meandered through the grounds of the National Ornamental Metal
Museum (with Judy Davis of the Metal Museum staff giving excellent commentary)
to the grounds of the former Marine Hospital (owner Lauren Crews chipping in
very well here) to Crump Park, next to the Memphis & Arkansas Bridge. What a
great start to the Riverfront Park Series along the five-mile stretch to
Greenbelt Park on weekends over the next month. In October, we returned to
Chickasaw Heritage Park for the unveiling of the “Legacies” statue by artist
Vinnie Bagwell and the UrbanArt Commission.
* The MEMPHIS & ARKANSAS BRIDGE WALK - All New!! With all of the attention that
is being given to the future Harahan Greenline project, many citizens do not
realize that there is already an existing walkway across the Mississippi River
to Arkansas. The access is hard to find and the walk can be a little "scary" at
times, but it is absolutely safe and a thrill of an adventure. So, having a
knowledgeable "tour guide" will help alleviate some of the anxiety or unknown
factor. Saturday mornings in April and May, 2012.
Another big surprise this year, like the Inaugural November 6th
Street Tour. On a nice Sunday Afternoon (April 22), 146 folks appeared out of
nowhere in Crump Park. I am glad that I had purchased a megaphone, as the
expressway traffic is rather loud in the area. The prettiest tree in all of
Downtown (the big magnolia in the center of Crump Park) actually became the de
facto gathering point for all M&A Bridge Walks. Designed to be a precursor to
the future incredible Harahan Bridge Greenline, “mission accomplished” for the
M&A Bridge Walks. Over 500 people on eight walks enjoyed the history of the
most scenic portion of the Memphis riverfront and heard some good history about
the Mississippi River, riverboats, bridges, railroads, etc., and got to climb
the Best Tree in Downtown Memphis!
* BATTLE OF MEMPHIS SESQUICENTENNIAL COMMEMORATION (June 6, 2012) - The (naval)
Battle of Memphis during the Civil War was held on the morning of June 6, 1862.
From 2011 to 2015, many states will be holding commemorative events on the 150th
year recognizing the history and impact on our country. On Wednesday, June 6
(2012) a historical presentation will be given in Confederate Park detailing the
events of the Battle of Memphis. In 1862, the citizens of Memphis actually
anticipated the Battle of Memphis (which occurred approximately where Mud Island
River Park exists today) as if they were spectators at an NFL game!
Over 200 Civil War enthusiasts enjoyed a somewhat hot Summer day on
the bluffs, as the largest naval battle in the history of the world (the Naval
Battle of Memphis) was commemorated in Confederate Park on June 6, to the tune
of a lot of loud cannon and musket firing.
And, then on September 5, four cannons were placed on permanent
display in the park. Led by the local Sons of
Confederate Veterans, and including the Shelby County Historical Commission and
the Riverfront Development Corporation was financed with about $72,000 in
private donations, said Lee Millar. The cast iron carriages supporting the new
cannon reproductions were donated by Shiloh National Military Park.
a family-owned company in Ashland, Ky., made the new cannons and stays busy
supplying artillery representing a variety of wars to national parks, towns,
cemeteries and other customers. During the Civil War, carriages were wooden.
The cannon types at Confederate Park represent those used by two Confederate
artillery units — Bankhead's Battery, formed in 1861 by Memphis attorney Smith
P. Bankhead, and the Appeal Battery, sponsored in 1862 by The Appeal newspaper
(an ancestor of The Commercial Appeal).
* BATTLE OF MEMPHIS SESQUICENTENNIAL WEEKEND (June 8-9, 2012) at Mud Island
River Park & Mississippi River Museum - A weekend full of lectures in the Museum
Theatre, re-enactments, authentic encampments, cannon fire, Civil War era music,
costumed tour guides in the five Civil War galleries of the Mississippi River
Museum, costumed tour guides along the River Walk detailing the various
strategic battles on the "western rivers" - Ft. Henry, Ft. Donelson and Shiloh
on the Tennessee River; Island No. 10, Ft. Pillow, Ft. Wright & Randolph,
Memphis, Helena, Vicksburg, Natchez and New Orleans on the Mississippi River.
Many thanks to Alan Doyle, Ed Williams, Nell Dickerson, Elaine Turner, Jerry
Potter, Dr. James Gholson, Dr. Curt Fields, Dr. Douglas Cupples and Donald
Harrison for making the Sesquicentennial Lecture Series a remarkable and diverse
take on the Civil War and Memphis. Fred Scott made the Changing Exhibit Gallery
of the Mississippi River Museum come alive with the folk paintings of his
father, Fred Scott, depicting nineteen scenes of the Civil War across
Tennessee. The encampment by the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Nathan Bedford
Forrest Chapter, Morton’s Battery and the 52nd Regimental Band
the South Grove proved to be a popular spot, too.
* THE MOVING APPEAL - A new lecture has been created for the timeliness of the
Civil War Sesquicentennial activities entitled "The Moving Appeal" featuring the
editor John Reid McClanahan. On June 5, 1862, the Memphis Daily Appeal
(newspaper) departed the city on a bold mission to continue publication during a
three-year, 1000-mile, four-state odyssey - one step ahead of Federal forces.
Grenada, Jackson, Atlanta and
Montgomery were all cities that The Appeal was
published to become one of the most reliable and respected publications of the
Civil War, and only one of twenty publications (out of eighty) to survive the
ravages of the Civil War - later to become The Commercial Appeal. This lecture
will be available beginning this December, and will be one of the lectures at
the monthly Lunch & lectures Series at Elmwood Cemetery next Spring. John Reid
McClanahan is buried in Elmwood.
Moving Appeal and the portrayal of John Reid McClanahan made for a traveling
show on an unusual story to the Civil War & Memphis. The Mississippi River
Museum, Elmwood Cemetery “Read In peace” book club, University Of Memphis
Society of Professional Journalists and even the Center Lane Alley were all
backdrops for this presentation. Many thanks to Barry Lincoln of Mr. Lincoln’s
Costume Shop, too.
* RIVERBOAT CRUISES - In association with MEMPHIS RIVERBOATS, two of the most
popular excursions will be revived (dates to be announced) - the Helena Daylong
Excursion and the Sandbar Cruise:
- Helena Daylong Excursion: A seven-hour cruise of 72 miles of twists and turns
of the Mississippi River to Helena-West Helena, Arkansas. The cruise includes
breakfast and lunch, full service bar, Memphis musicians, informational
commentary, bingo!, and even a brief stop on a sandbar. A visit to the Delta
Cultural Center and then a one-hour motorcoach ride through the cotton lands of
the Mississippi delta for a return of a perfect daylong river adventure.
- Sandbar Cruises: Once the high waters of the Spring season leave, many
sandbars and beaches "open up" along the shores of the Mississippi River within
eyesight of the city skyline. This five-hour experience features lunch,
marshmallow roast, music, games (volleyball, horseshoe), frisbee tossing, "driftwooding"
and even a search for buried treasure!
Well, we did not get to Helena or on a nearby sandbar as hoped for, and a part
of that was due to the historic long period of low water in the Mississippi
River for the Summer and Autumn seasons. But, Jimmy O was able to have the
honor of cruising on the AMERICAN QUEEN from St. Louis, Paducah, Helena
Vicksburg (with some ports in between) giving lectures about Memphis on inbound
cruise to Memphis. What a fantastic time this was, and more AQ lectures are
booked for the 2013 season. Capt. William Lozier also allowed me to cruise the
ISLAND QUEEN on selected occasions giving commentary on sightseeing cruises
throughout the year.
* UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS: KNOW YOU NEIGHBORHOOD series continues throughout the
Centennial Celebration of the University of Memphis. The first presentation is
on Wednesday, January 25 at McWherter Library with the topic being the Churches
in the University neighborhoods. More topics about the six surrounding
neighborhoods and even walking tours will be given on a quarterly basis in 2012.
Friends For The Libraries at The University Of Memphis allowed me to
give Part 6 and Part 7 in the continuing series – “Know Your Neighborhood”. The
Centennial Celebration was a big year for The University. A highlight for me,
as Chairman of the Shelby County Historical Commission, was the approval and
dedication of the Memphis State Eight historical marker on the grounds of The
* COMMUNITY EDUCATION COURSES -
Schedules are being set now for Spring and Autumn seasons at Rhodes College Meeman Center For
Lifelong Learning ("Memphis History: Centuries Of Adventure & Development").
Stay tuned . . .
courses (four classes each in the Spring and Autumn) at the Meeman Center For
Lifelong Learning at Rhodes College received maximum registration for the room,
and a real diverse group of “students”. “Memphis History: Centuries Of
Adventure & Development” will return to Meeman on four Monday night in April,
2013 (April 8, 15, 22 & 29).
* CARAVANS - The popular "Dutch Treat" Caravans will return in 2012 with
excursions to Randolph, Halls, Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park,
C.H. Nash Museum Chucalissa and the Sultana site. These caravans and/or carpools
generally assemble in the convenient location in Memphis and usually are less
than a 45-minute drive to each destination. The charm of traveling in numbers,
with friends and on a pre-arranged schedule makes the caravan more enjoyable and
worry free. No fees are involved; participants may picnic or eat where they
choose, and are free to depart from the group at any time for other reasons or
preferences. The schedule will be announced in Spring, 2012 - stay tuned.
Well, there were no Caravans in 2012 as we simply ran out of time!
* BEALE STREET LANDING & the AMERICAN QUEEN - The largest steamboat ever built
for passenger excursions on the Mississippi River has claimed Memphis as it home
port this year as the Great American Steamboat Company opens its offices in One
Commerce Square. Beale Street Landing is under construction and upon completion
in several phases in 2012 there will be a modern, handicapped accessible docking
system for all riverboats, spectacular viewing spaces on the green grass roof of
the main building, a restaurant on the river channel (city side) with patio and
terrace dining opportunities, concession kiosks, special events and other
activities making the north end of Tom Lee Park (plus four additional acres) at
the confluence of Riverside Drive and Beale Street a new destination for
Memphians and tourists.
The local excursion company,
MEMPHIS RIVERBOATS, will also being boarding passengers from Beale Street
Landing in 2012. The first cruise of the AMERICAN QUEEN departs April 27 heading
for the Kentucky Derby - now that is cool. Go to
The Great American Steamboat Company for the 2012 schedule and pricing.
Beale Street Landing did not open in 2012, but received substantial completion
and still had numerous events during a full-blown construction site – the
Christening of the AMERICAN QUEEN, AutoZone Powerboat Racing Championship,
almost 100 hard hat tours, big events like Monogram Foods Loves Kids and
ArtAFactor (ArtsMemphis), and holiday parties in December. The anticipated
opening is March, 2013 when Memphis Riverboats will begin boarding passengers
from the helical ramp/dock and Riverside Grille & Dockside Bar will open on a
daily basis for lunch, dinner, happy hours and parties. Five overnight
passenger vessels will be visiting Beale Street Landing in 2013, including the
AMERICAN QUEEN, QUEEN OF THE MISSISSIPPI, YORKTOWN, GRAND CARIBE and the GRAND
MARINER. Phase 4B construction on the north four acres, terraces and islands
will be completed in the Autumn, 2012.
So, there you have it . . . a lot activities scheduled and even more to be
announced. Who knows what will find us in 2012. Jimmy O is always available to
present lectures (on twenty different "Memphis" topics) to groups at their
weekly and/or monthly meetings (services clubs, affinity groups, etc.) or senior
citizen homes or even school groups. Just contact me . . .
In summary – my highlights, in no particular order, were being
Chairman of the Shelby County Historical Commission and the work and dedication
of the Plastic Products Record Plant and Memphis State Eight historical markers;
the five cruises and lectures aboard the AMERICAN QUEEN; the conception and
implementation of the Coltharp / River Walk Model exhibit at the Mississippi
River Museum (thank you Alisa & Trey); the Sesquicentennial Lecture Series at
the Mississippi River Museum; being on site at Beale Street Landing and seeing
the project begin to take final shape; beginning the “Inside Memphis” segments
three-times-per-week on KWAM AM990 radio; participation in the “Old Forest Fairy
Tale” panel with Sunshine Snyder & Charlie Newman at Evergreen Theatre; the
Peabody Hotel’s Historic Dinner Series TITANIC night; and the season long
celebration of the career of MUS Basketball Coach Jerry Peters, culminating with
his attainment of 1,001 victories; and having a “surprise” birthday party in
November at Westy’s hosted by my grandchildren!
So, what will 2013 bring - the start of the next 60 Years Of Jimmy
O? I know that I will be busy at Beale Street Landing and that will limit most
of my availability to “hit the road” with Talks & Tours. All I can say, is
great big THANK YOU to the thousands of folks that participated and support the
efforts this year . . . and “stay tuned . . .”
Out With August, In With September Tours!
The dog days of August are
beyond, but it was a very busy month inside with Jimmy O being an emcee
at several affairs - Shelby County
Historical Commission's Annual History Awards Dinner, Tennessee
Historical Commission's Humes High School Historical Marker Dedication
and International Children's Heart Foundation Tour of the World Dinner;
and even rotated between stretch limos for a Progressive Dinner of the
Williams & Gillentine Legacy Planning group.
Add a few DriveArounds like with Meiji
University and talks to the Germantown & Kirby Kiwanis Clubs, the Bop
Club River Cruise, Rhodes College Fellows River Cruise, The Village in
Germantown, Memphis Map For Elvis Fans
Unveiling at A. Schwab's, Christened the M/V GEORGE C. GRUGETT, Paige
Robbins Adult Day Care Center,
made an appearance on "Joy In Our Town" on WBUY-TV and even took a
Segway Tour! Quite a fun month . .
Now with September here, it is time for some outdoor free, public tours
- TUESDAY TOURS, Bridge Walks and Courthouse Tours. Please view the next
few stories below and consult the Composite Calendar for more details,
dates, times and locations . . .
6th, 1934 Street Tour - 11:45 a.m. on Thursday, November 6!
During the lunch
hour this Thursday (11/06/14), we will assemble in Elvis Presley Plaza between
Main Street and Second Street to walk and talk about "South" November 6th, 1934
Street, between Beale Street and Court Square.
"November 6th Street - the Spine of Downtown History!". Plan ahead - on November
6, 2015, we will meet in the Pinch District and walk "North" November 6th, 1934
Street back to Court Square, and then in 2016 on Saturday, November 6, we will
meet at 11:06 a.m. at Elvis Presley Plaza and walk the full length again (17
blocks, 27 turns!) like we did on the Inaugural November 6th, 1934 Street Tour
in 2011. Mark your calendars!
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,
2012 Year-End Review List of Groups
A.L. Taylor / Phi Beta Sigma Historical Marker
AMERICAN QUEEN Christening (Beale Street Landing)
Andrew Jackson’s 245th Birthday Commemoration
ArtAFactor (Arts Memphis)
AutoZone Powerboat Racing Championship (Beale Street Landing)
Civil War History Festival (Marion, AR)
Coach Jerry Peters (MUS) Retirement Celebration
Cooper-Young Festival - Booth for Citizens To Preserve Overton Park
Delta Everything Southern Conference
Downtown Museum Day Walking Tours (3)
Elmwood Cemetery Costume Twilight Tour (Nathaniel Anderson)
Elmwood Cemetery Costume Twilight Tour (Lloyd T. Binford)
George Kessler 150th Birthday Celebration (Overton Park Golf Patio)
Harvest Party Horse Drawn Trolley Tour – Memphis Cotton Museum
Irish Festival – Pinch District
John Weatherall Historical Marker
Memphis Heritage 2013 Calendar Unveiling (A. Schwab’s)
Memphis State Eight Historical Marker
Mississippi River Museum Exhibit: “The Mud Island River Walk –
A Mississippi River Architectural Marvel”
Monogram Foods Loves Kids (Beale Street Landing Inaugural Event)
Mud Island Independence Day Celebration
Naval Battle of Memphis Sesquicentennial Commemoration (Confederate Park)
Naval Battle of Memphis Sesquicentennial Weekend (Mud Island)
Naval Battle of Memphis Sesquicentennial Lecture Series
(Mississippi River Museum)
“Old Forest Fairy Tale” (Evergreen Theatre) – Panel Discussion
with Sunshine Snyder & Charlie Newman
Old Forest Jamboree (Hi-Tone)
“Parking Day” (Downtown Memphis Commission)
Peabody Hotel Historic Dinner Series: Charles Lindbergh Dinner Menu
Peabody Hotel Historic Dinner Series: Titanic 100th Anniversary Menu
Plastic Products Record Plant Historical Marker
Saturday Night Jamboree Historical Marker
Shelby County History Dinner (Hillwood Hall, Davies Manor)
Shelby County History Festival (Hillwood Hall, Davies Manor)
Stan Bronson’s 84th Birthday Party (Wesley Highland Terrace)
St. Mary’s Cathedral Exceptionalism Series (3)
“Sultana” Exhibit in Marion (AR)
Titanic 100th Anniversary Dinner at Chez Philippe (Peabody Hotel)
UrbanArt Commission “Legacies” Statue Dedication – Chickasaw Heritage Park
West Tennessee Region, Tennessee History Day
Earle Farrell For Memphis - KWAM AM 990 (6)
FOX 13 w/ Darrell Green & Earle Farrell (3)
“Inside Memphis” – KWAM AM 990 (78)
Memphis Chamber “12-12-12 Luncheon” History Video with Larry Cox
“MEMPHIS” Magazine August issue feature
“SPOON” magazine – Spring issue feature
Sports 56 “Sportstime with George Lapides” (Coach Jerry Peters)
Talk It Out With Father Don Mowery – WHBQ (4)
The Peabody Hotel History Film
University Of Memphis Alumni magazine – Spring issue feature
WKNO-TV “Local Color” (1)
WMC-TV Sunday Morning Show (1)
WPTY-TV – TripAdvisor Story
WREG-TV “Live At 9” (2)
WYPL - Council Talk with Jim Strickland (1)
Davies Manor Association
Delta Everything Southern Planning Committee
Elmwood Cemetery – Elmwood University Class (2)
Greenways Alliance (3)
Memphis Area Maritime Security Committee (8)
U.S. Coast Guard
Mississippi River Corridor Tennessee Board Meetings (6)
Shelby County Historical Commission monthly meetings (as Chairman)
University Of Memphis Stat Crew Milkshake Club (Wiles-Smith Drugstore)
West Tennessee Historical Society Board Meetings
AutoZone Liberty Bowl Media Guide records update
AutoZone Liberty Bowl Statistics Crew (Spotter)
Conference USA Men’s Basketball Tournament Scoreboard
FedEx St. Jude Classic Media Guide edits
Rhodes College Men & Women’s Scoreboard & Scorebook
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 Volleyball P.A. Announcer
University Of Mississippi Men & Women’s Basketball Scorebook
Talks or Tours
20th Century Garden Club
American Orthodontists Association
AMERICAN QUEEN lectures (7)
American Road & Transportation Builders Association Downtown WalkAbout
Bank Travel Network FAM & Convention
Bartlett United Methodist Church
Beale Street Landing Hard Hat Tours (78)
Benjamin Hooks Public Library Experience Series
Berdeja Family Downtown WalkAbout
Biggs Family Downtown WalkAbout
Bixby Travel group
Blackburn Family Downtown DriveAround
Bolton High School Camera Club Downtown WalkAbout
Brooks Museum League
Campbell Clinic Spouses Downtown WalkAbout
Catmur Realtor group
CB Richard Ellis group
Central High School Class of 1970 Downtown WalkAbout
Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters Society
Chickasaw Gardens Garden Club
Christian Brothers University Urban Studies Downtown WalkAbout
Civil War Memphis DriveAround for AMERICAN QUEEN (2)
Collierville Contemporary Club
Collierville United Methodist Church Seniors Downtown DriveAround
Collierville Women’s Club
Coltharp Family Reception at Mud Island River Walk Model
Commercial Real Estate Women group
Crenshaw Family Downtown WalkAbout
Daughters of the American Revolution (We-Ah-Tah-Umba Chapter)
Dixon Gallery & Gardens Munch & Learn (2)
Downtown Memphis Commission Relocation Program Orientation (2)
Downtown Neighborhood Association Annual Sightseeing Cruise
East Memphis Exchange Club (2)
Elinor Crenshaw group
Elmwood Cemetery Lunch & Lecture: The Moving Appeal
Elmwood Cemetery “Read In Peace” Book Club (The Moving Appeal)
Evangelical Christian School (Courthouse Tour)
Evergreen Garden Club
FedEx Group Downtown WalkAbout
Fletcher Party Talk
Food For Thought (2)
Friends Of The Pink Palace
Gayoso Bayou (4)
Germantown Country Club Ladies Golf Luncheon
Germantown Iris Club
Germantown Kiwanis Club
Germantown United Methodist Church Brown Bag Luncheon
Girl Scout Troop Downtown WalkAbout
Goodlett Elementary School
Google Maps (for Memphis Riverfront Parks)
Grace-St. Luke’s School – 6th Grade (Memphis & The Civil Rights Movement)
Grace-St. Luke’s Middle School Speaker Series (Memphis Leaders)
Home School Education Association
Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (Mid-South Chapter)
Huguenot Society of Manakin In The Colony Of Virginia, Tennessee Branch
Hutchinson School (Turn-Of-The-Century Gathering Places)
Hutchinson School Perre Magness Series, Grades 1-8 (3)
Hyde Family Foundation
Illinois League of Financial Institution Downtown WalkAbout
ISLAND QUEEN Sightseeing Cruise Commentary (20)
John Ogle Group Downtown WalkAbout
Josephine Lewis Circle
Keane Group Downtown WalkAbout
Kirby Pines Kiwanis Club
Lunitects (American Institute of Architects-Memphis Chapter) (2)
Mansbauch Family Downtown WalkAbout
Matt Meador Family Downtown WalkAbout
Meandering The Mississippi Hog rally (Whispering Woods)
Meeting Planners International – Memphis Chapter
Memphis & Arkansas Bridge Walks (11)
Memphis Breakfast Rotary Club
Memphis College Preparatory School faculty (2)
Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau FAM Tour (BBQ Media)
Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau FAM Tour (Million Dollar Quartet)
Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau FAM Tour (Hanoi Media)
Memphis Fire department Administration staff
Memphis Light, Gas & Water Annual Meeting
Memphis Light, Gas & Water Customer Care meeting
Memphis University School
Mid-America Tours DriveAround Downtown
Military Order of World Wars
Military Order Wives Club
Missouri Blues Society (Stephanie Shonekan)
Monsanto Group Downtown DriveAround
National Ornamental Metal Museum Members Luncheon
National Young Farmers Education Association
Normal Station Trivia Night judge
November 6th Street Tour (2)
Overton Park Conservancy Volunteer Orientation
Overton Park Old Forest Hikes
Peabody Elementary School 3rd Grade
P.E.O. AA Chapter Meeting
P.E.O. American Chapter Riverboat Cruise
Powell Family Reunion WalkAbout Downtown
Professional Insurors Association of Memphis
Rhodes College Fellows Program
Rhodes College Meeman Center For Lifelong Learning (2 semesters)
Rhodes College Urban Parks Planning Class (Overton Park)
Richard Davenport group
Ridgeway Baptist Church Golden Agers
Ripley (TN) Rotary Club
Riverfront Parks Series Walking Tours (4)
Road Scholars DriveAround & Lecture (2)
Second Baptist Church
Second Presbyterian Church Fellows DriveAround
Second Presbyterian Church MMM Club
Second Presbyterian Church MMM Club DriveAround
See Memphis Orientation
Servicemaster (Courthouse Tour)
Shelby County Courthouse Monthly Walking Tour
Shelby County Mayor’s Office – Citizen’s University (2)
Society of Archaeologists Downtown WalkAbout
Sons of Confederate Veterans, Chalmers Chapter
Sons Of Confederate Veterans, Forrest Chapter # 215
Southern College Of Optometry Orientation Luncheon
St. George’s Independent School History Day Awards
St. John’s Episcopal Church Men’s Club
St. Luke’s United Methodist Church Young At Heart (2)
St. Luke’s United Methodist Church Young At Heart Downtown DriveAround (2)
South Main Association History Walk
Tauck Tours Downtown DriveAround
Teach For America (Frayser ASD) Downtown DriveAround
Tennessee Genealogical Society (Courthouse Tour)
Tennessee Planning Association Convention Downtown WalkAbout
The Village of Germantown
Town Village Seniors Program
Trezevant Manor Downtown DriveAround
TUESDAY TOURS (16)
United Daughters of the War of 1812 – Piomingo Chapter
University Of Memphis Center For Partnership in Geographical
University Of Memphis Friends Of The Libraries (2)
University Of Memphis Kemmons Wilson School Tourism Class (2)
University Of Memphis Legal Clinic (Courthouse Tour)
University Of Memphis Society of Professional Journalists (The Moving Appeal)
University Of Memphis Stormwater Class
University Of Memphis Study Abroad group (Meiji University)
University Of Tennessee Faculty Wives Club
Warr Family Downtown WalkAbout
Watoto De Afrika (2)
Wesley Highland Terrace (3)
White Station Optimist Club
Winnebago-Itasca Travelers Downtown DriveAround
Woodland Presbyterian School
Young Professionals Organization (FedEx)
you for being a supporter
and contributor to the
“Talks & Tours” in 2010
Besides being able to talk
to thousands of people about
Memphis History, my event
highlights of the year were
two dedications in Memphis –
Jack Tucker Alley in Cotton
Row on April 3 and the
historical marker at East
Parkway/Young Avenue on
November 1. My “top walking
tour” highlights were the
privilege of being asked by
the local chapter of the
American Institute of
Architects (AIA Memphis) to
lead a series of walking
tours for its September
Architecture Month program
and the Memphis Bar
Association’s tours of the
historic Shelby County
Courthouse. And, I continue
to be appreciative of the
opportunities that the folks
at Elmwood Cemetery give me
in various cool programs and
there. And, I even got to
speak to the West Tennessee
Historical Society this
I look forward to working in
the FedEx St. Jude Classic
at TPC Southwind again this
Spring (tournament week is
June 6-12); resuming the
Continuing Education course
in Memphis History (this
time at the new Nesin
Graduate School of the
Memphis College of Art at
477 South Main); to Tuesday
Tours and Saturday Super
Tours. I have already booked
quite a few PowerPoint
presentations to groups this
year and I have some new
On a more personal note,
here is a list of folks and
groups that I would like to
say ‘thank you” to - one
Big Boats & Big Stories In April
American Queen & Titanic On The Memphis Scene
On November 14, Jimmy O has the privilege of cruising on
the AMERICAN QUEEN on his 60th birthday.
is not often that a person gets to ride on the AQ much
less spend his 60th birthday on the Mississippi River
between St. Louis and Memphis, lecturing about his home
town - what an honor! He has lectured into Memphis about
Memphis from the ports of Paducah, Helena, New Madrid
and Vicksburg and gained about 20 pounds from all of the
good food everywhere on the vessel. He will be cruising
and lecturing again from November 29-December 2 coming
from Vicksburg, and has been booked on several occasions
in 2013 to "preach" the message of "Memphis" to incoming
April was a big month on the Memphis Riverfront. Although the new Beale Street
Landing facility (restaurant, gift shops and daily riverboat excursions by the
Memphis Riverboats) will not officially open by the Riverfront Development
Corporation to the public until July of this year, the
"one-of-a-kind-in-the-world" helical ramp and docking system was the site of
the inaugural visit on April 26-27 of the Steamer
Queen, operated by Memphis' newest tourism company, the Great American
Steamboat Company. Jimmy O was on board from Helena to Memphis on April
25-26 as a lecturer on topics about Memphis, one of several cruises in which he
will be featured on in 2012 aboard the
American Queen, with a capacity for 436 passengers, is the largest
riverboat (89-feet wide by 416-feet long by five-stories high) ever
built to cruise the Mississippi River and began visiting Memphis in
1995. She will offer multiple-day/night excursions from New Orleans to
St. Paul on the Mississippi River; all the way to Pittsburgh on the Ohio
River; all the way to Chattanooga on the Tennessee River. Godmother
Priscilla Presley will christen the vessel and the world famous Peabody
Ducks also inspected the accommodations from bow to stern on April 27
before cruising to Louisville and the Kentucky Derby...
On a recent cruise from Vicksburg, Jimmy enjoyed
listening to the talents of "Memphian" Andy
Now to the
Chez Phillipe and the 2012 Historic Dinner Series.
On April 15th & 16th, as a commemoration of the 100th
Anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic (April 15,
was a nine course event replicating the final on-board
dinner with wine, a Titanic book as a gift and other
surprises. Jimmy O was been asked to talk at the dinner
about any connections of Memphians to the Titanic, as
well as what was Memphis like in 1912.
dates for the Historic Dinner Series at The Peabody
21 - Lindbergh Dinner (85th anniversary). In 1927,
aviator Charles Lindbergh was actually feted at a dinner
at The Peabody Hotel two weeks after his famous
trans-Atlantic flight to Paris. The Spirit Of St. Louis
was actually returned aboard the United States Navy
cruiser USS Memphis to America (June 11, 1927) - that's
a neat Memphis connection, too.
14 - Bastille Day Dinner (223rd anniversary). On July
14, 1789, the storming of the Bastille prison, which
represented the royal authority in the center of Paris,
occurred and its fall was the flashpoint of the French
October 10 - Orient Express (130th anniversary). The
Orient Express name is synonymous with intrigue and
luxury travel between Vienna and Paris.
For more information about the
Historic Dinner Series, contact 901-529-4188 or
STATE EIGHT Historical Marker Dedicated
students, faculty, alumni and other
dignitaries gathered on the south
grounds of the Administration Building
on The University Of Memphis campus on
September 18 to dedicate the latest
historical marker approved by the Shelby
County Historical Commission - MEMPHIS
The event was commemorated on the 53rd
anniversary of the first eight black
students to be allowed entry on
September 18, 1959 into (then) Memphis
Plastic Products Record Plant - Hub Of Rock 'n' Roll
1746 Chelsea Avenue
The Shelby County Historical Commission dedicated another historical marker during the 2012 Elvis Week.
Last year, SCHC dedicated the Lansky Brothers - Clothier To The King
marker at 126 Beale Street to the delight on many Elvis fans. When
one talks or hears about the "Memphis Music Legacy", the most often
mentioned topics are the singers, then the songs, then the recording
studios, then concerts, then the museums and attractions - but
seldom the "industry behind the industry" that made it all happen
sixty years ago.
record shops such as Poplar Tunes, Home Of The Blues, Boss Ugly
Bob's; without the record distribution concept of a company called
Music Sales (packing records and distributing them nationwide from
Memphis - overnight by air, by Delta in the 1950s); without the
jukebox empires, controlled out of Memphis (over 24, 000 jukeboxes
in ten states by three companies; without the malt shops and soda
fountains that kids could assemble to listen to the "new music of
their generation" as so few had kids radios at home at that time;
and without the deejays such as Dewey Phillips, Nat Williams, Rufus
Thomas and George Klein, etc. - Rock 'n' Roll and Soul Music might
just have stayed at home in Memphis, whether than go worldwide . . .
someone had to make those records that could be played
in jukeboxes, on radio station air waves, and eventually
in home systems. And that is the incredible story of
Buster Williams and Plastic Products Record Plant in
those four forlorn Quonset huts at 1742-1744-1746-1748
Chelsea Avenue, one block west of McLean Boulevard.
from a practical standpoint, another source of the success of
Memphis record labels could be summed up in the magic word Mr.
McGuire shared with Ben Braddock in the movie
The Graduate; plastics. Memphis had a place you could go and
economically press up thousands of records. Buster Williams came to
town from Enterprise, Mississippi, where he had been a teenage
business wizard. Starting as a peanut salesman, then drug store
owner, he was fascinated by the money to be made from coin-operated
machines. Buster became a jukebox distributor, then opened a record
distribution company in the mid 40’s. In 1949, Williams’ next
endeavor was Plastic Products, the second independent record
pressing plant in the nation. Located in a Quonset hut on Chelsea
Avenue, Plastic Products opened just in time to satisfy the clamor
of the growing market of teenagers who desired to buy the records
Buster pressed. With the advent of the 45-rpm record, and the onset
of rock-and-roll, Fortune Magazine pegged Plastic Products sales at
six million records annually, with a profit of 2 to 3 cents each."
Many thanks to
Jim Cole, Mike Freeman, Jake Schorr, Robert Williams, Hal Lansky,
and George Klein for their part in making this marker
Voices of the South presented their newest original
musical, written by company member Virginia Ralph.
Travel with the Smallish Girl through a forest portal to
a Fairyland like you've never experienced before,
populated by outrageous characters--Jackie SnowBear,
Pluto the Planet, Wendy the Whale, Bobby Birdsong, and
Fairies! Inspired by the historic Citizens to Preserve
Overton Park v. Volpe Supreme Court case of 1971, we
learn from our forest friends how even the very smallest
among us can be a voice for our community. (This
45-minute performance is appropriate for PreK-8th
"Surely you have noticed that in our world, size does
not determine Importance. In our world, a planet is a
whale is a bear is a bird is a girl is a fairy when it
comes to importance. Nobody's role is more important
than anyone else's." ~ Bobby Birdsong
1705 Poplar Avenue
Memphis, TN 38104
Sunshine Snyder & Charlie Newman Highlight Panel
Jimmy O was asked (and honored) to participate in a
Panel Discussion following the September 28 performance
of An Old Forest Fairy Tale by Voices Of the South at
the Evergreen Theatre. Chris Davis of the Memphis Flyer
served as panel moderator of the discussion that also
included Virginia Ralph, writer of the play. Sunshine
was one of the "little old ladies in tennis shoes" for
the original Citizens To Preserve Overton Park in the
1960s that confronted all levels of government to
preserve Overton Park and the charm of Midtown Memphis.
Charlie Newman was the filing attorney for the Burch
Porter Johnson law firm in the Citizens To Preserve
Overton Park vs. Volpe, Secretary of Transportation - a
decision that announced on March 3, 1971 by the Supreme
Court of the United States which disallowed I-40 to go
through the Overton Park, a landmark =environmental
decision for our country. Friday, September 28 , 2012 at
the Evergreen Theatre was indeed a special evening . . .
Inaugural November 6th Street Tour A Rousing
The 2:06 p.m. start was at the Elvis Statue on Beale Street (of course) on an
overcast, cool, but polite Autumn afternoon (after "falling back" an hour in a
daylight saving time change on the previous night), and there was an electricity
in the air from the group's anticipation! The official count at Court Square
halfway point) was 116 participants - (11-6, that's amazing), and by the end of
the tour (at Shadyac Avenue in The Pinch) there were still 84 participants
-three hours later!
The "cast of characters" was
star-studded from 97-year-old walking tour veteran, Robert Wilder (actually in
his wheelchair) to the "birthday girl", Erin Aulfinger, who was born at
p.m. on November 6, 1996. [Each year, Erin's parents bring her to the November
6th Street sign at Union Avenue for a photo on her birthday, but this one was a
little different]. Both Robert and Erin were recipients of the first two of ten
commemorative Jimmy Ogle Inaugural November 6th Street Tour t-shirts that were
given away for various reasons during the tour.
"Team Ogle" was present
and well represented. From my wheelchair bound older (much older) sister Linda,
accompanied by her "pusher" husband Travis, and my niece, Elise, to my older
brother Curt and his wife Cheryl.
Kris Kourdouvelis and
Sharon Gray rode their segways from South Main. The biggest Buzzard of them all,
MUS Class of '70 class mate, Dr. Steve Bledsoe
represented well, as he always does - even on an NFL Sunday afternoon. Another
pleasant surprise was that Peggy McClure was able to join us after her
Concert at Idlewild
Presbyterian Church earlier in the day. Even Wade Stack of the
County Historical Commission brought his wife, Amy, on the tour. The age span of
the crowd totaled 87 years - from the age 10 to age 97!
We "fought" through
construction sites, a few rough smelling dumpsters and even got a visit from
Dan Holland of Nice As New Consignment Store (526-3277) at 23 South November
6th Street (in the basement of the Residence Inn, Main/Monroe). And, adding the
icing to the cake, was the warm reception of select finger foods and mimosas
prepared by Linda & Buck Thomas at the Red Fish Gallery, 356 North Main Street
(in The Pinch) - the end of the line . . .
For me, the highlight of
the tour (after the overwhelming attendance) was at the Hebe Fountain in Court
Square where I was the recipient of an original November 6th Street sign from
James Cochran. James found the old sign this year when cleaning out the basement
in an old building on Court Square. So, many thanks to James Cochran - not only
for the surprise, but for jumping on board the whole idea of this dedicated tour
at its inception in the Summer. James also did the art work (two separate
images) for the limited quantity of Jimmy Ogle November 6th Street Tour
commemorative bottled water and produced a map of the route, with all of its 27
turns over 17 streets (not to mention the alleys) along the way. What a
fantastic contribution - thank you, James!!
A big special thanks to
Martin Norris (webmaster for jimmyogle.com) for the design of the Jimmy Ogle
Inaugural November 6th Street Tour t-shirt and another thank you to
Bluff City Sports,
769 South Cooper Street
(274-2202) for their swift action in getting the shirts screen printed in short
order. I also want to express my appreciation to Scott Carroll and photographer
Mark Brown (of Zippin Pippin photo fame) from
The Commercial Appeal
who combined for a nice story and photo in the
November 7th edition.
From the Beale Street
start with Elvis, the Orpheum Theatre and the Lansky Brothers historical marker
to "Deadman's Alley", General Washburn's Escape Alley and Whiskey Chute, around
the Hebe Fountain in Court Square, through Civic Center Plaza where we got
applause from the Occupy Memphis group while passing by, past the sculpture of
Osiris, The Muse and The River, and through the lobby of the Marriott Hotel to
the Pinch - there was plenty of history and stories told, and shared . . .
In 2012, November 6th falls
on a Tuesday and the start time is set for 11:06 a.m.
at Beale Street/November 6th Street. Be there!
BRIDGE WALKS RETURN
2:00 P.M. ON SUNDAYS OCTOBER 21 & 28
Back by popular demand in the "second season" of Bridge Walks across the Memphis
& Arkansas Bridge. Last Spring, 318 people enjoyed the four organized Bridge
Walks across the only bridge with the only legal sidewalk across and above the
Mississippi River (since 1949). We assemble at Crump Park - going west on Crump
Blvd, take Exit 12 B Metal Museum Drive) and drive under I-55 and the first park
on the right is Crump Park, right next to the Super 8 Motel. Attendants will
direct you to a parking spot and then watch your car during the tours.
Crump Park itself is
a four acre setting atop the fourth Chickasaw Bluff on the historic site of the
former Fort Pickering. Views of the Mississippi River flowing south and
southwest (towards the Port of West Memphis) are wonderful, and get even better
when we get up on the M & A Bridge sidewalk. Now, the tour begins with a
20-minute orientation (and safety talk) from Jimmy Ogle under the canopy and
shade of the prettiest tree on all of the Memphis Riverfront parks - a
magnificent, multi-limbed magnolia! The history of the early inhabitants,
explorers, steamboat industry, bridge development, railroad industry, and future
development in the "French Fort" area, including the Harahan Greenline project,
I-55 flyover, National Ornamental Metal Museum (the next nearest Metal Museum is
in Japan) and Chickasaw Heritage Park (Legacies statue soon to be dedicated) is
All walks are FREE,
with some limited accessibility (but assistance on hand), reservations not
required and definitely a camera bugs' best day on the riverfront! The Memphis &
Arkansas Bridge itself is 5,222 feet long over into the Arkansas delta, and some
people actually walked all the way across (but remember you have to also walk
all the way back). Most went halfway to two-thirds-of-the-way across the bridge
to get the full effect of seeing the high bluffs of South Memphis below the
Museum, Marine Hospital, fuel docks, Economy Boat Store operations, Presidents
Island and the river traffic over eighty (80) feet below. The bridge also
"shakes, rattles and rolls" by design. The sidewalk is near the expressway
traffic and the noise from trucks whizzing by can be somewhat distracting at
The Mississippi River
at this location in Memphis is only a half-mile wide, which is why the three
early bridges were built in this area to begin with:
the middle bridge - The Great Bridge (1892) - now the Frisco Bridge; the
northernmost bridge - The Harahan Bridge in 1916-17) and the southernmost bridge
- Memphis & Arkansas Bridge (1949). Both the Frisco Bridge and Harahan Bridge
are "off limits" and protected by security (cameras and all) due to the volume
and importance of the freight rail traffic that crosses them on a daily basis.
2:00 p.m. on
Sundays - October 21 & 28.
Scheduled group walks at other times during the week are available upon request.
30th Anniversary Mud
Island River Walk:
A Mississippi River Architectural
Mud Island River
Park and the
Riverfront Development Corporation will recognize the most
unique architectural feature on the Memphis Riverfront by
celebrating the design, installation and 30 Years of Family Fun on
the Mud Island “RIVER WALK” model.
Mud Island is a river
oriented urban park, developed on a strip of land located between
the Mississippi River and the Wolf River Harbor, at the foot of
Downtown Memphis, Tennessee. One of the most popular features of the
park is a working (flowing) scale model of the lower Mississippi
River, including its flood plain, between Cairo, Illinois and the
Gulf of Mexico, known as the ‘RIVER WALK”. The walk is approximately
two thousand feet long. The scale used for the model is such that
each long step (thirty-three inches) represents a mile on the real
river. Features included four watershed panels, 65 graphic panels of
historical and geographical information of the river, contours which
represent river gage levels, levees and flood plains. The ‘RIVER
WALK” flows 2.2 million gallons of water in its system.
Nesbit Coltharp was the
designer of the “RIVER WALK”, while employed by the local
architectural firm, Roy P. Harrover & Associates of Memphis, in
charge of the park development which was completed in 1982. Mr.
Coltharp received his Architectural Degree from Tulane University in
1952. He moved from New Orleans to Memphis in 1958. Since that time
until his retirement, he was an active and responsible participant
in some the most significant Architectural Projects constructed in
the Memphis area – including the Memphis International Airport
terminal, Memphis College of Art in Overton Park and Goldsmith’s Oak
Court in East Memphis. The exhibit in the Mississippi River Museum
will feature the artistry of Nesbit Coltharp and include drawings
and photographs of the formative years of the “RIVER WALK”.
125 North Front Street
September 18 – October 31, 2012
Elmwood Costume Twilight
Saturday, October 27 4:00 - 7:00 p.m.
all-walking tour will begin at 3:00 p.m. and the last tour will begin at
7:00 p.m. Tickets for this event are $15 per adult with children under
12 free. If you have never visited Elmwood, this tour is the best way to
get to know the cemetery and the individuals who rest here. Costumed
characters portraying Elmwood residents will introduce you to the
history of Memphis' oldest active cemetery.
This year, Jimmy O will
portray Lloyd T. Binford, nationally known President of the Memphis
Censor Board in the middle-20th century. Other famous Elmwood residents
being portrayed are: James & Jennie Stewart, Belle Edmondson, Sister
Constance, Susan & Esther Spikes, John Park, Charles Dinstuhl, America
Carolina Dill, Lt. John McKinney and A.W. Willis.
Special Note: The grounds of
the cemetery will be CLOSED beginning at noon on Saturday, October 27th.
The gates will re-open at 3:00 p.m. for the Costume Twilight Tour.
Tickets can be purchased at the gate the day of the event - call
mobility-impaired visitors, we recommend that you call ahead and speak
with Jody Schmidt or Kimberly McCollum regarding tour route information.
Halls Caravan Recap
Halls Caravan on Saturday, February 19 was
just plain good ol' f-u-n! Our group of 14
"red carpet" treatment from
Murray Hudson Maps & Globes, as well as
a guided tour of all three of his locations
in Downtown Halls. To be in and around
hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of
new and old maps and globes of all kinds,
was an enlightening experience. To have "the
man" himself (Murray Hudson) give the tour
was a real special treat. Many thanks to
Murray and his assistant (Sally) for the
generosity of their time and knowledge.
The Garden Cafe was a place we walked to
and were given our own private room to dine
in. Brooke, our waitress, and Donnie (the
owner) made sure that all our needs were met
(they even turned the heat on for us!). The
food was scrumptious. By the way, every
other Saturday night at The Garden Cafe,
there is a musical show in a special theatre
in the complex with old church pews for
seating, featuring some mighty good local
talent. Music starts at 6:30 p.m.
And then to wind up with the southern
hospitality and charm of Pat & Sonny Higdon
on the site of the Dyersburg Army Air Base,
home of training for B-17 pilots and crew in
World War II. The amazing story of this
"community" during the war years, the impact
that it had on preparation for war, the
aspects of life around the base (rationing,
etc.) were mesmerizing. One of the mottoes
of DYAAB was "Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make
It Do, Or Do Without". The displays were
nicely developed and the docents (including
Dave McCaslin) were very informative. What a
great story, and what a dedicated group of
Americans keeping these memories of "the
greatest generation" preserved and alive for
Winter Caravan To
When: Saturday, February
Assemble at 9:00 a.m.
Millington IHOP, 8484 Wilkinsville
Road (just north of the Walmart)
Lunch will follow at
The Garden Cafe
If you liked the caravans to the Sultana
site in Arkansas and to Randolph, Tennessee
earlier this year,
then you are prime for an
adventure further up into West Tennessee to
The Veterans' Museum
At the former
Dyersburg Army Air
Murray Hudson’s Shop
Maps, Prints &
I visited the
Veterans' Museum last Autumn
and was thoroughly infatuated with the
exhibits, the role of the Dyersburg Army Air
Base in World War II in the training of B17
crews, and the “TLC” and passionate stories
of the keepers of the museum, Pat & Sonny
I met Murray Hudson at the Antiquarian Book
Fair in Memphis at The Parkview last May and
I could not leave his table as I thumbed
through map after map after map and print.
At his store in Halls, Murray has one of the
largest globes collections in the world!
So, this is another “Dutch Treat”
caravan/carpool set-up and we will meet once
again at the
Millington IHOP to create the
caravan. We will have lunch on the road at a
“locals” place in one of the towns along the
way. To ask questions or sign up, go to
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