Remembering the Marketplace of the Midsouth

Downtown timeline, 1968- PRESENT.

By Devin Greaney. www.devingreaney.com.

1968, April 4 - Martin Luther King Jr. assassinated at the Loraine Motel

1968, April 12 - TIME MAGAZINE refers to Memphis as a "Decaying river town" and "Southern Backwater"

1968, April 16- Sanitaion strike ends

1968, June 26- Union Station at 3rd and GE Paterson, opened to the public for the last time to auction off memorabilia. The last passenger train left February 28. Demolition began later that year.

1968- Construction begins on South Central Bell at 201 Court

1968- William Len Hotel at 110 Monroe sold and later becomes Viking Hotel.

1968- Claridge Hotel closes. It will become apartments fifteen years later, then condos.

1968, December 12- Warner Theater closes at current site of One Commerce Square. Last movie “Coogan’s Bluff” staring Clint Eastwood

1969- Construction of MLGW building.

1969- Hotel Pontotoc closes

1969- Shelby County building completed.

1969- The Downtowner Hotel at 2nd and Union completed

1969- Lowensteins Tower completed (now 99 Main apartments)

1969- Construction of Albert Pick Motel at 300 N Second ( Later the Sheraton and now Wyndham Garden)

1969- Construction of Blue Cross Blue Shield Building

1969, June - $13.9 million HUD urban renewal grant received for Beale Street. From then until about 1972, some 474 buildings were razed in the area.

1969 June 8- WC Handy Blues festival held to commemorate Memphis’ 150th birthday

1969, July 10- Groundbreaking for One Commerce Square

1969, November- Article in the MEMPHIS PRESS SCIMITAR says Memphis’ bus system one of the few self sufficient bus systems in the country.

1969, November 25 - Liquor by the drink approved by Tennessee voters

1970- WDIA radio personality Nat Williams, interviewed in the TRI STATE DEFENDER, calls Beale Street “dead as a dodo.”

1970- Federal Reserve building constructed

1970, April 1st- Census of downtown tracts (1, 22,41, 42, 43 and 44) shows 8,913 residents

1970, July- construction begins on Clark Tower, the tallest skyscraper outside of downtown

1970, Fall- YWCA building razed

1970, October-November- 600 parking meters smashed by vandals in six weeks

1970, November 10 - Ceremony at the central police building marks the first time police women were issued service revolvers. They were to be kept in their purses. "Later if you decide you want to wear them on your belt maybe we can work something out," Chief Henry Lux said to the new officers.

1970, November 22 - First Sunday without blue laws mandating that business must be closed on Sunday.

1970, November 28 - Last film (WUSA) shown at Lowe's State Theater located at 152 S. Main.

1970, December 6- THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL prints drawings of the proposed river front expressway. It did not happen.

1971- Japanese Gardens taken down from the roof of the 100 North Main Building

1971, January 3- Statue dedicated at Martyr’s Park to honor those who died helping yellow fever victims

1971, February- Britlings Cafeteria on Union closes after some fifty years

1971, May- Amtrak takes over passenger rail service in Memphis and changes the name of “The City of New Orleans” to the “Panama Limited.” The name would change back in February, 1981.

1971, July 9- Clark Tower in East Memphis has its “topping out” ceremony

1971, August 23 - McCall building at 161 South Front imploded. Current site of Waterford Plaza.

1971, August - Raleigh Springs Mall opens taking shoppers from downtown. Southbrook opened in August, 1966.

1971, October 5 - Harrahan Bridge Theme Park Committee suggests making a them park at the Harrahan Bridge complete with horse racing, riverboat gambling and having it patrolled by police in 1912 uniforms and wearing hadelbar moustaches. It was also suggested it be linked to Overton Square with a monorail.

1972, February- C and I Bank opens at 200 Madison. They celebrated their indoor arboretum by giving away free crepe myrtle trees

1972, February- Production of the musical “Hair” at the Malco (now Orpheum) draws protests due to a nude scene. “Remember when your kids are doing it in the streets (sex), you supported it,” said protestor Rev. Michael Pearl.

1972, May- Photo in the MEMPHIS PRESS-SCIMITAR shows most area around Beale Street cleared for urban renewal

1972, June 15- Architect Gene Strong refers to Court Square as a "cesspool." Told the newspapers he supports ridding the park of pigeons and squirels

1972, July - Antebellum home at Georgia and South 5th razed. It was the former Brinkley Female College, but perhaps best known as the place where the ghost of Lizzie Davidson appeared in a pink moldy dress in 1871.

1972, June 30 - Hotel King Cotton closes. Current site of the Morgan Keegan building

1972, October 6 - Post Office at 555 S. Third opens at the former site of The Union Station

1973- Viking Hotel at 110 Monroe closes

1973- Last reference in the city directory for Lawrence Furniture at 56 S Main which opened there in 1933. The sign was still up in 2005.

1973, March- Fire station #1 closes and moves to near St. Jude Hospital. The building will become the fire museum 25 years later.

1973, April- Grand opening of One Commerce Center (now SunTrust)

1973, April- Hotel Chisca vacated to become world headquarters for Church of God in Christ

1973, May 8- Mississippi River reaches 40.5 feet -- highest level since the 1937 flood.

1973, August 17- Hernando De Soto Bridge opens

1973, October 26- Memphis Planning Action Committee suggests Mud Island be used for a river museum

1973, Nov 20- President Nixon greets about 7,000 supporters -and protesters- at the Rivermont Hotel (now Rivermark condos).

1974- Timpani at 35-49 Union remodeled for condos, possibly the first of a trend.

1974- Park built on the North end of Mud Island. It was 1975 before a paved road was built to reach it.

1974, January- Sheraton sells Peabody to James “Jimmy” Lane

1974, February- Goodwill Building at 94 N 2nd razed

1974, May 3- Ron Pekar finishes outdoor “supergraphic” mural on mid America Mall

1974, May 11- Cook Convention Center opens

1974, August- Gerber’s department store at 21-31 North Main announces it will close downtown store by October 15

1974, October- First downtown Octoberfest

1975 (early) Construction starts on Mid America Mall

1975- Tristate Bank building built at Beale and Main

1975- Last Cole’s City Directory that has a pawnshop listed on Beale Street

1975- Memphis Heritage Inc founded

1975, March 3- WREG Channel 3 moves from the Peabody to 803 Channel 3 Drive

1975, April - largest burglary in Memphis' history when almost all the fixtures are removed from the Hotel King Cotton

1975, April 3- Peabody closes

1975, June 20- Muhammad Ali Theater, first black owned movie theater to open in Tennessee in 30 years, opens on Beale

1975, July- The Toma Drummond report suggests a pyramid arena to be built. The drawing of the plan looked a lot like the Great America Pyramid opened in 1991, but the report a location at what is now the Southbluffs neighborhood.

1975, August 1 - Peabody purchased by Jack Belz

1975, August 28 - Ceremony at Main and McCall (now Peabody Place Ave) of the first bricks laid in Mid America Mall

1975, Labor Day- First WLOK Stone Soul Picnic

1975, October - Fred P. Gattas department store announced it will close its store at 387 S. Main

1976- Church on The River (Unitarian) built

1976- First Memphis Music Heritage Festival

1976, February 27 - Theatrical production of the play "Hot l Baltimore" held for three weeks in the abandoned Hotel King Cotton

1976, April 17-22- The Freedom Train stops in Memphis near the present site of the Mud Island parking lot. It contained exhibits on American history for the US Bicentennial.

1976, May 14- Mid America Mall (now Main Street Mall) dedicated by President Gerald Ford

1976, July- Plans for a Beale Street Mall like the one on Main Street placed in limbo.. Apparently not revisited.

1976, November 2- Movies stop running at The Malco (now The Orpheum). Last movies were “House of 1000 Pleasures” and “The 4 of Us.”

1976-November- Joni Mitchell releases “Fury Sings the Blues” referencing her visit with Fury Lewis on Mosby Avenue and the deteriorating condition of Beale Street. Lewis’ reaction to the song, “She shouldn’t have used my name in no way, form or faction with out consultin’ me ’bout it first,” he said to ROLLING STONE.

1976, December- the Yule Parade returns to Memphis after a seven year hiatus

1976, December 16- Memphis Development Foundation christens riverfront program at Beale and Wagner

1977- Erica’s German Restaurant opens on S. 2nd

1977- Henry Turley Company formed

1977- Memphis Development Foundation buys Orpheum for a performing arts venue

1977, Jan 3- Shelby State (now Southwest Tennessee Community College) dedicates the new Downtown campus

1977, February 2- Center City Commission formed

1977, March- Repairs begin on the brick pavement of Mid America Mall.

1977, March 17- First annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade started from Zinnie’s near Court Square

1977, April 4- “I Have Been to the Mountaintop” Sculpture dedicated

1977, May- 1st Memphis in May festival. Honored country- Japan

1977, May- First Sunset Symphony

1977, May 28- Lowe's Palace Theater closes. Downtown will be without a movie theater for 24 years.

1977, August - The Pier, The first full service bar on the Mississippi, opens on Wagner

1977, August 20- Blues Alley on November 6th St burns. It will later reopen on Front St.

1977, September- City grants historic status to Cotton Row

1977, September- Dredging operations begin to raise Mud Island for what was to be called Volunteer Park

1977, December 17- Fire destroys part of Beale Street Landing, current location of Joe’s Crab Shack

1978 - The familiar chalk boards at the Cotton Exchange replaced with computer readout

1978, May- First Barbecue Cooking Contest at Tom Lee Park

1978, July and August - Police and Fire strikes bring National Guard to Memphis for security

1978, July 13 - The Downtown Dream Machine begins entertaining Memphians with the play "A Mid Summer Night's Dream" at Confederate Park

1978, August 10 - Number One Beale, first restaurant on Beale in several years, opens at Beale and Wagner.

1978, December 8-10 - Democratic Midterm Convention brings President Carter and Iranian protesters opposing the US harboring the exiled Shah of Iran.

1979, early- Name of Volunteer Park changed to Mud Island

1979, February- National Ornamental Metal Museum opens using some of the buildings of the old Marine Hospital which closed fourteen years earlier.

1979, March- buses begin a continuous loop from the Medical Center to Downtown for a 10 cent fare. Keeping with the times, the service was called “The Hustle Bus”

1979, May- Avron Folgleman announced building of Jefferson Place, the first downtown luxury apartments built since 1968, for opening in 1980.

1979, June 10- MEMPHIS PRESS-SCIMITAR article states “Urban renewal destroyed Beale Street.”

1979, November 28- First Jobs Conference held at the Cook Convention Center.

1979, December- Harry’s Discount Department Store on Beale closes after 53 years in business

1980- Kress at 9 North Main becomes McCrory’s

1980- Memphis Carriage Tours begins horse and horse drawn tours of downtown

1980- Rhodes Jennings closes store at 64-68 North Main. It has been vacant ever since.

1980, February 4- A silver nail is hammered into the old Pantaze Drug store (present location of Wet Willie’s) beginning the remodeling of Beale Street

1980, March- Remodeling begins on the Peabody

1980, April 1- Census of Downtown tracts (1,22, 41, 42, 43 and 44) shows 5, 979 residents.

1980, July- John Malmo Advertising Agency moves to 47 Union.

1980, July 1- Terry and Leigh Davis purchase the old Pontotoc Hotel to turn into a home and a recording studio

1980, July 13- Memphis hits 108 degrees.. hottest day on record.

1980, July 21 - Puralator Armored Car office at 342 Washington robbed of more than $418,000. It was the largest holdup in the city's history.

1980, August 14- Statue of Elvis Presley, sculpted by Eric Parks, unveiled at Elvis Presley Plaza. The current statue is not the original.

1980, November 16- First annual Memphis Blues Awards, now the WC Handy Blues Awards held at the Orpheum.

1981, January 16 - Transportation Secretary Neil Goldschmidt officially scraps plans to have I- 40 go through Overton Park.

1981, February 28- Prayer service held at city hall asking God to intervene to keep the bus system from closing down.

1981, May- First Great Wine Race

1981, June 29- Sneak a Peak Tour gave Memphians a look at Mud Island park under construction. The highlight of the day was a race between The Delta Queen and The Mississippi Queen

1981, July 4- First “Star Spangled Celebration” fireworks show at Tom Lee Park

1981, July 31- Peabody reopens

1981, August and October- Hickory Ridge Mall and Mall of Memphis open out east

1981, August- offices begin moving into Criminal Justice Center

1981, Sept 5- New city jail opens at the Criminal Justice Center

1981, Oct 23- First escape from the new city jail at the Criminal Justice Center

1981, Fall - Construction starts on Riverbluff Coop

1981, October 6 - Downtown Residence and Merchant Association holds their first meeting at Blues Alley

1981, December 10- Ad in newspaer for the complete liquidation of Lowenstein's merchandise, including the downtown store. The sign at 99 N Main was removed May 15, 1982.

1982- 81 Monroe remodeled

1982- Memphis Magazine moves offices to the Warehouse district

1982- Ambassador Hotel at Main and Vance closes. It opened in 1926. From December of 1988 to March of 1989 it reopened.

1982- Cole’s Directory lists two businesses remaining in The Exchange Building

1982, January 13- 4 alarm fire damages the Dermon Building at 46 North 3rd.

1982, February - Marmalade's Restaurant and live music venue opens near 2nd and G E Patterson. The area was largely abandoned

1982, February 4/ 5 - Gunman holds three hostages at St. Jude Hospital before being killed by police TACT unit

1982, May- Nov. - Sterick Building gets its brown and gold paint job

1982, May 22 - First Outdoors Inc canoe and kayak race held at Mud Island. It is currently the largest canoe and kayak event in the area.

1982, June 7- Graceland opens for tours, bringing people from all over the world to the city

1982, July 3 - Mud Island park and museum opens

1982, July 8- Construction starts on 200 Wagner Place (now Waterford Plaza) , one of the largest residential developments downtown in years.

July, 1982 - City Councilman Michael Hooks complains the Confederate battle flag flying at Mud Island is offensive. The flag is replaced by the "stars and bars" the official flag of the Confederacy.

1982, August- Midsouth Folklife Festival becomes first festival produced by the Center for Southern Folklore

1982, October- First resident of Riverbluff coop moves in

1982, November - Gene Carlisle opens The Emporium, a mall at Beale Street Landing

1982, December 25- Orpheum closed for $5 million renovation

1982, December - MEMPHIS MAGAZINE moves into its offices on Tennessee Street

1983- Jefferson Davis Park remodeled, starting a series of improvements to the public promenade

1983- The former Claridge Hotel becomes apartments

1983- Artist Louise Dunavant releases her first print "Spirit of Beale" she would release dozens more celebrating the sights of Memphis and the riverfront.

1983, April 19 - First run of the River City Choo Choo, a train that rode the streets of downtown.

1983, May- Memphis Police bring back horse patrols to downtown. The last ones were in 1948.

1983, May 11- despite a recently enacted anti-topless ordinance in the city, a nude scene was permitted in the opera “Macbeth” at Dixon-Myers Hall. Some in the audience protested the double standard by removing their tops.

1983, August- Construction starts on $43.5 Million Holiday Inn - Crowne Plaza Convention Center Hotel

1983, September- Showboat buses begin traveling from Downtown to Fairgrounds showing off local tourist attractions.

1983, October 8 - Beale remodeling complete and the street rededicated

1983, October 31- Last issue of the evening paper, MEMPHIS PRESS-SCIMITAR, published from 495 Union.

1983, November 1 - Jefferson Square Restaurant and the site of the first Piggly Wiggly Supermarket burns at 79 Jefferson. The owner will open The North End later that year.

1983, December- First Memphis Express Marathon. Ran from Racquet Club to downtown and back. The last race was in 1985. Other Marathons would follow that included downtown.

1983, December 7- North End (now Westy’s) opens near Abraham’s Deli, making the neglected Pinch District a destination

1984- Cotton Exchange Building remolded

1984- Brinkley (former Lowensteins) remolded

1984- Falls Building renovated

1984, January 7 - Grand reopening of the 56-year-old Orpheum as a performing arts venue

1984, January- Owners announce the Rivermont Hotel will become Rivermark Condos

1984, April 30- Hotel King Cotton imploded to make way for Morgan Keegan Tower, starting the building of some of downtown’s first new office space in eleven years, according to THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL.

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1984, May 5- 2,500-3,500 people show up at Tom Lee Park to try to break the record for the world’s largest aerobics class. The current record is over 48,000 and was set in the Philippines.

1984, May 13- Groundbreaking for One Memphis Place

1984, December- William Len Apartments open at 110 Monroe.

1985- One Memphis Place opens

1985- South Main Association formed

1985- Blues Alley at 60 South Front Street closes

1985- Paper Works at 408 S Front remodeled for apartments and offices

1985, Jan 5- Bill Cosby performs at the Orpheum and mentions visiting the Mid America Mall. “I expected to find a Neimen Marcus or maybe a Sax 5th Avenue. But hey, you people are the only city in the country with a mall for the poor and needy,” he said to the audience.

1985, February - Jerry Lee Lewis rents penthouse apartment at 200 Wagner Place (now Waterford Plaza)

1985, April - Convention and Visitors Bureau launches the "Start Something Great in Memphis" ad campaign.

1985, May- Cotton Carnival’s name changed to the River Carnival

1985, May 1- Memphis gets cellular phone service

1985, May - Lincoln America Life Insurance moves headquarters from 60 North Main to Carmel, Indiana

1985, June - The newly remodeled Brinkley Plaza holds an open house

1985, July - Repair work gets underway to replace falling and broken marble tile from the City Hall exterior

1985, July 12- Convention Center Hotel opens, first as Holiday Inn Crown Plaza, later as Marriott

1985, September- ALSAC Pavilion opens at St. Jude

1986- Cotton Exchange Building renovated for offices

1986- Union Commons renovated

1986- first South Main Street fest

1986, January - MEMPHIS BUSINESS JOURNAL moves offices downtown. Its first issue was May 28, 1979 and titled MIDSOUTH BUSINESS. It was then published from 4515 Poplar.

1986, January- Residents move into the William Len Apartments (Now Residence Inn by Marriott at Main and Monroe)

1986, Feb 6- St. Jude hospital votes to stay in Memphis

1986, March 15- Radisson opens integrating a new building with the old Hotel Tennessee (built in 1927). Cost $25 million.

1986, April - City Council votes to fund $600,000 for re landscaping and improving court square. The project took about six months

1986, May- Construction starts on Church Park

1986, May 5 - After Memphis tried to get the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to move to the city, the museum announced it will open ... in Cleveland, Ohio

1986, May 25- Memphians link hands in the “Hands Across America” event stretching from New York NY to Long Beach CA.

1986, Summer- Memphis Police Museum opens on Beale

1986, September 5- Hernando DeSoto bridge lighting

1986, December 11 - Time capsule buried in Court Square for excavation in 2036 to commemorate Tennessee Homecoming 1986. It was a year-long celebration of Tennessee culture.

1987- Parking Can Be Fun Garage opens on Union

1987- 88 Monroe remolded

1987- The original St. Jude Hospital star shaped building razed

1987- The South End opens at South Front and GE Patterson. It closed in 1995.

1987, April- First Africa in April festival

1987, April 15 to August 31 - Exhibit of Rameses the Great begins a series of changing exhibits that will later be called The Wonders Series.

1987, May- “Ascent of the Blues” sculpture built south of Morgan Keegan Tower. Two years later, THE MEMPHIS FLYER lists this as one of Memphis’ top ten eyesores.

1987, May 17- The Memphis Belle, the famous WWII B 29, gets a new home on Mud Island

1987, June- Plans for Riverset apartments on Mud Island announced

1987, July- Sunset Cafe, a floating restaurant, opens on the river at the foot of Beale

1987, Summer- Spaghetti Warehouse opens on Hulling, a South Main Historic District pioneer

1987 October 12- Columbus Park dedicated

1987, November 5- Church Park is dedicated on Beale St.

1987, November 30- McCall Avenue changed to Peabody Place

1987, December 30- AW Willis Bridge opened from Auction St. to Mud Island

1988- Backstreet Couriers, a bicycle messenger service, opens downtown

1988- 88 Union Center remodeled

1988, February 2- Operators at the Criminal Justice Center begin answering calls at Memphis’ new 911 system.

1988, March 2 - Loraine Motel closed and tenants evicted so the motel can be converted into the Civil Rights Museum

1988, June- Memphis Center for Contemporary Art opens in S,. Main Historic District

1988, July 10 & 11- River stage at Memphis falls to -10.7 feet, the lowest recorded level

1988, July 27- Riverset Apartments - the first residential development on Mud Island- opens.

1988, August 23- Council votes to fund Pyramid arena

1988, August 27 & 28- First Center for Southern Folklore’s Midsouth Music and Heritage Festival

1989- YMCA remodeling completed and dedicated as the Fogelman YMCA

1989, January 27- Civil Rights Museum breaks ground

1989, February 16- 1st issue of THE MEMPHIS FLYER published from offices in the warehouse district

1989, July 22- Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band play the open area of Mud Island which had been turned into a sandy beach.

1989, September 7- Rhodes Jennings Building, Central Station, the Showboat Buses and Assent of The Blues Sculpture listed as four of Memphis’ biggest eyesores by the MEMPHIS FLYER

1989,September 15 and 16 - The Big Dig ... groundbreaking of the Great American Pyramid

1989, December- Plan considered to change the name of Mud Island to Racapolis and turn it into a rock and roll and Ancient Egyptian theme park. It didn’t happen.

1990- Candy Factory at 262 Wagner remodeled

1990, January- The movie “Mystery Train” filmed in the South Main Historic District released across the country. It portrayed the area as empty and abandoned but with its own loveable charisma.

1990, April 1- Census shows 7,160 people living in downtown tracts of 1, 22, 41, 42, 43 and 44.

1990, April- Public station WKNO’s “Action Auction” takes bids for a home on Mud Island’s Harbor Town development. No one bid above the minimum bid.

1990, May 30- Henry Turley begins purchasing land for what will become the South Bluffs Community

1990, June 18- Goldsmith’s downtown closes

1990, July 26- Danny and Jeanne Richardson purchase house at 860 Riverpark Dr. They become the first homeowners on Mud Island.

1990, August 1- Lansky’s on Beale closes

1990, August 2 - South Main residents complain that prostitutes have returned to the area after a two year absence.

1990, October 28 - The Convention and Visitor's "Start Something Great in Memphis" advertising campaign is replaced my "Give Me Memphis, Tennessee."

1990, November- Community radio station WEVL moves to South Main

1990, December 3- Dr. Iben Browning forecast for a deviating earthquake to affect Memphis on this date didn’t happen.

1991, February- 1st issue of MEMPHIS DOWNTOWNER magazine

1991, February 6 - Actor and founder of St. Jude hospital Danny Thomas dies. Buried at the hospital

1991, February 12- Marc Cohn releases CD with the hit “Walking in Memphis” with lots of downtown references

1991, February 19 - Abraham’s Deli at 338 N Main collapses. It had closed Jan 30.

1991, May- BB King’s Club opens

1991, May 31- Dianne's restaurant on top of the 100 N. Main Building becomes Pinacle

1991, June 17- Sydney Schlenker removed as head of the Pyramid

1991, August 30 - Edward Pembroke, the long time duck master at the Peabody Hotel, retires. He started at the hotel some 50 years earlier.

1991, Sept 28- $9.2 million Civil Rights Museum opens

1991, Sept- Tonoke at 161 Jefferson vacates when the military processing station moves to Beale and Danny Thomas

1991, September- Article in THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL states Sterick Building will be put up for auction. There were two tenants remaining. The 1990 City Directory had a few dozen tenants

1991 November 9 - Pyramid opens at a cost of $65 million

1992- Hays Building remodeled at 269-73 South Front

1992, March- First buyers of D.T. Porter condos

1992, April 25- Grand opening of South Bluffs

1992, July 25- A police escort brings the cooking grease from the Dyer’s Cafe location on Cleveland to its new home on Beale. Dyer’s claims it has used the same grease since its opening .

1992, Fall- Maria Montessori School opens at Harbor Town

1992, Oct.- Union Planters moves headquarters from downtown to East Memphis

1992, December- Lincoln American Tower closes

1993- Tom Lee Park expanded

1993, April- Arcade Hotel, featured in the movie “Mystery Train” razed

1993, April- Fire damages Hickman Building

1993, April 29-. Trolleys run 2.5 mile rail line and Mid America Mall returns to its old name of Main Street

1993, June 30- “The Firm,” a big budget movie shot primarily in Memphis, is released.

1993, November- groundbreaking at AutoZone Headquarters

1994, January- Memphis Police create new downtown precinct, illustrating downtown’s growing population

1994, February 9 - Major ice storm shuts down much of the city

1994, April- Senator Joe Cooper and Councilman Myron Lowery suggested putting a measure on the August ballot that would give or lease part of Mud Island to an American Indian tribe so casinos can open on the island. Didn’t happen.

1994, May 13- Formation of the Memphis River Redevelopment Corporation

1994, December- McCrory’s (originally Kress) store at 9 North Main closes. It had been open since 1927

1994, December- Gayoso Apartments open

1995, November- Last of 900 AutoZone employees move into headquarters

1995, December 13 - groundbreaking for Peabody Place tower

1996- Sleep Inn opens near Court Square

1996, January- South End (Later Blue Monkey) at 529 S Front closes

1996, March 1- Hunt Phelan home, an antebellum mansion on Beale, opens to the public

1996, June - Tourist Information Center opens near Jefferson Davis Park

1996, October- production begins on traveling radio show “Beale Street Caravan” now produced in downtown Memphis

1997- First phase of Peabody Place opens

1997- Penbroke opens

1997, March 14- Mississippi River reaches 40.76 feet at Memphis -- third highest level in recorded history

1997, May 29- Singer Jeff Buckley drowns while swimming near the Mud Island monorail bridge.

1997, June 17- Hernando Street becomes Rufus Thomas Blvd.

1997, November 15- Renovation of the Orpheum completed with traveling performance of "Phantom of the Opera"

1998- Heritage Tours opens the old Jacob Birkle house for regular visits as “Slave Haven,” a possible stop on the underground railroad.

1998- MEMPHIS PARENT magazine starts publishing from Contemporary Media. The magazine was founded in 1990.

1998, Jan 5- first grocery opens on Mud Island (Miss Cordelia’s Grocery store)

1998, September 3- Crowne Plaza downtown becomes Marriott

1998, October- Fire Museum opens

1998, December- St. Joseph Hospital closes after almost 110 years

1998, December 1- City Council approves changing the name of Calhoun Ave to Bishop G E Patterson Ave.

1999, February- Brownstone Hotel reopens as Wyndham Garden

1999, May - The Cotton Makers Jubilee becomes the Kemet Jubilee

1999, May - Temple Deliverance Cathedral, a church of God in Christ church, opens at 369 G E Patterson

1999, May 11- Park Commission cancels plans to turn Confederate Park into a park to honor cancer survivors

1999, July- Demolition begins on Ellis Auditorium

1999, August 6- dedication on the 1.1 mile Mississippi Riverbluff Walkway.

1999, September 24- Grand re-opening of the newly remolded Central Station

2000- Center City Commission adopts the slogan “Definitely Downtown”

2000, January 14- Remodeled Central Station officially opened to the public

2000, March- Hampton opens

2000, April 1- AutoZone park opens at a cost of $72 million

2000, April 1- Census shows 8,994 people living in the Downtown census tracts of 1, 22, 41, 42, 43 and 44.

2000, April 28- Rock and Soul Museum opens

2000, May 5 - Auction at the Hunt Phelan home on contents from the house, what was not auctioned off then was sold the following October. The city refused to fund the home as a museum

2000, October 19- WC Handy Park for the Performing Arts opens

2001- $100m expansion of Cook convention Center. begins

2001, July- Residents relocated from Hurt Village and Lauderdale Courts for creation of part of Uptown Memphis

2001, July - Peabody Place Mall opens giving Memphis, among other things, downtown’s first movie theater since 1977

2001, October- Ross De Alessi Lighting Design presents a report for “Light It Up Memphis” a program to illuminate public buildings downtown

2001, Oct. 9 - Grizzlies, Memphis NBA team, play at Pyramid

2001, December 20 - Contract approved for the new basketball arena (later named theFedEx Forum). Among other things it contained a clause stating no events at the Pyramid arena could compete with events at the FedEx Forum.

2002- Spring Hill Suites opens

2002- Echelon at the Ballpark Apartments opens

2002, February- Uptown Resource Center opens

2002, June- Madison Hotel opens

2002, June 8- Mike Tyson defeats Lennox Lewis at the Pyramid

2002, June 20- Groundbreaking of FedEx Forum

2002 July 18- Emerge Memphis, Memphis’ first business incubator, opens at GE Patterson and Tennessee

2002, September 28- Dedication of the expansion of The Civil Rights Museum. The original section focused on the civil rights movement but this segment dealt with the assassination.

2002, October- Demolition begins on the old Hurt Village and Lauderdale Courts housing project and remodeling begins on Lauderdale Courts. The name Uptown Memphis and new logo are unveiled

2002, October 16 - New basketball arena to be named The FedEx Forum

2002 November 26- Yellow Rose Cafe, the last business in the Lincoln America Building closes.

2003- Friends For Our Riverfront formed

2003- Blue Monkey opens at Front and GE Paterson

2003, January 25- Cannon Performing Arts Center Grand Opening

2003, March- Memphis Bell moved from Mud Island to Millington for restoration

2003, July 22 - Storms wreck millions of dollars in damage on Memphis

2003, August- Students return to St. Patrick’s School after a fifty year hiatus.

2003, September 16- Elvis Presley’s Memphis at Second and Beale closes.

2003, September 18- Urban Land Institute releases report on Memphis Riverfront Master Plan that includes creating a land bridge from Downtown to Mud Island

2003, October- leasing starts Greenlaw Place and Uptown Square Apartments

2003, October- Plans for Court Square Center announced combining the Lincoln America Tower, Court Annex and Rhodes Jennings Buildings

2003, December- remodeling begins on the old Kress Store for Spring Hill suites by Marriott.

2003, December 21- Jack’s Food Store at Main and Jefferson destroyed by fire

2004- Marriott opens at 110 Monroe, site of the William Len Hotel

2004, January 5- Grizzlies House opens at St. Jude

2004, February 9 - University of Memphis announces the Tigers basketball team will play at the FedEx Forum

2004, March 15- trolley expands to the Medical Center

2004, July 14- Groundbreaking of City House Condos on GE Paterson between Front and Tennessee Streets

2004, Summer- repaving at Court Square begins

2004, August - Uptown Square and Elvis Suite are unveiled

2004, September 6 - The $196.1 million FedEx Forum opens with a open house.

2004, September- Uptown Condos begin selling in former Lauderdale Courts housing project.

2004, October- U S Air Force announces it will move the Memphis Belle to Dayton, Ohio.

2005, February- Demolition begins on Beale Street Landing

2005, March- Court Square reopened with improvements, including WIFI access. .

2005, March 12- 71 homes sold -all before they were built- in three hours on Mud Island

2005, April 1- Ride The Ducks, a tour group of amphibious vehicles, takes to the streets of Memphis

2005, April - The “NBC” bank sign on top of One Commerce Square is replaced by “SunTrust”

2005, July 17 and 18- Former Eureka Hotel at 356 Mulberry razed. It had been for sale and needing repair since January

2005, August 13- Reverend Al Sharpton comes to Memphis to rally in favor of changing the names of Confederate, Jefferson Davis and Forrest Parks

2005, Sept 18- Blue Monkey at 529 S Front destroyed by fire

2005, October 27- Pre selling begins on The Horizon Condos, with 2 sixteen story towers.

2005, December- “UP BANK” sign removed from the top of 100 North Main after 40 years.

2006, January- University of Memphis Law School announced it will relocate from the U of M campus to the post office at Front and Madison

2006, March 5 - Cotton Museum opens in the Cotton Exchange Building

2006, June 30 - President George W. Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi eat lunch at the Rendevous after a visit to Graceland and the Civil Rights Museum.

2006, October 6 - Early morning fires destroy First United Methodist Church, The Court Square Annex and damage the Lincoln America tower. Over two hundred firefighters were involved.

2006, October 29 - Fishermen find a manitee swimming in the harbor between Mud Island and Downtown. The manitee was gone by the time rescuers from Sea World in Florida came to its rescue.

From sources including the archives of THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL, MEMPHIS BUSINESS JOURNAL, DOWNTOWN DEVELOPER, MEMPHIS DOWNTOWNER, THE MEMPHIS FLYER, MEMPHIS MAGAZINE, THE MEMPHIS PRESS-SCIMITAR. The books, MEMPHIS: AN ARCHITECTURAL GUIDE by Eugene J. Johnson and Robert D. Russell Jr., ASK VANCE, by Vance Lauderdale. www.tennesseeencyclopedia.net, www.memphispolice.com., www.firemuseum.com, The files of the Memphis Room at the Memphis Shelby County Public Library and Information Center and Ned R McWherter Library at the University of Memphis.


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