Location: Beale Street between Second and Fourth Streets, Memphis
Architectural Style: Various
Original Function/Purpose: Commercial
History: In the early 1900s, Beale Street was the thoroughfare that divided South Memphis from Memphis. A diverse mix of black-owned businesses developed, and by the 1920s Beale Street had reached a level of high prominence. Beale Street flourished musically and commercially especially from 1900 to 1949, and again beginning in 2000. Today Beale Street stands as one of Memphis’s biggest cultural and tourist attractions. The street is lined with, or next door to, an eclectic mix of commercial businesses, bars, churches and music venues, including the Orpheum Theatre, Clayborn Temple, and the FedEx Forum. Beale Street is also listed as a National Historic Landmark.
Boundary Increase: Robert Church Park
Built: 1899, with later additions
Architectural Style: Park
Original Function/Purpose: Park
History: The original boundary of Beale Street Historic District is increased by the addition of Church Park, once the center of cultural activities for African-Americans in Memphis. Founded in 1899 by Robert R. Church, Sr., the park had an auditorium, picnic grounds, bandstand and playground. The first NAACP branch in Tennessee was organized here in 1917 and W.C. Handy directed an orchestra here. After Church’s death in 1912 the park was managed by his son Robert Church, Jr., an influential leader in the Republican party. In 1941 the Walter Chandler administration changed the park’s name to Beale Avenue Park, but the original name was rightly restored in 1956 and the park has since been extensively refurbished. It contains a number of historical markers commemorating the significance of this site.
City Council District: 6
Super District: 8
County Commission District: 8