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Historic Properties Catalogue

 

Historic Properties in Memphis and Shelby County Listed on the National Register Of Historic Places

 

Below, you will find a list of all the properties, sites, and districts currently listed on the National Register in Memphis and Shelby County. You will also find a list of places that once had National Register status, but have since been removed for any number of reasons. Feel free to explore our catalog; you can click on any location to learn more. This information is always changing, as there is no such thing as consistency in the fight for preservation and protection. We will do our best to always have the most up-to-date information available on our site. If there is more information you would like to know about any of these places, please contact us!

 

Important Note: The properties described here are arranged alphabetically under the names by which they were nominated to the Register. However, if a personal name is part of the overall name of an NR property, the primary word used here in alphabetizing the property is almost always that person’s surname. Such names are usually written out in their normal form, although alphabetized by surname. Here are some examples. The “E.H. Crump House” is written thus (and not as the NR has it, “Crump, E.H., House”), and is listed under “C”, not “E”. The Elvis Presley House is listed under “P”, while John Willard Brister Library appears under “B” and William R. Moore Dry Goods Building under “M”. Finally, other names by which a property may be more familiar usually appear in parentheses after the “historic” name, for example “Anderson-Coward House (Justine’s Restaurant).”

 

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What is the purpose of this catalog, and who prepared it?

What is the purpose of this catalog, and who prepared it?

This catalog lists 187 historic properties in the City of Memphis and Shelby County, Tennessee that are listed in the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places (or NR) as of April 10, 2018. It also includes in a separate section 21 properties that were once listed but have been removed (delisted) due to neglect, demolition or major changes to the building’s or neighborhood’s integrity.

The mission of Memphis Heritage is to educate individuals and groups about Memphis and Shelby County’s historically significant buildings, neighborhoods, open spaces and parks. The purpose of this catalog is much the same: Our hope is that it will inform our public officials as well as civic and business leaders in Memphis and Shelby County about the many historic properties in their jurisdictions or surrounding them at work and home. We wish to remind everyone that Memphis is sixth in the nation for properties listed on the National Register, behind Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Boston, and New Orleans. This important designation should be noted by leaders as one of the things that makes Memphis authentic and distinguishes it from many other U.S. cities. For this reason we shall continue to assist and encourage every effort to restore and preserve our cherished historic landmarks wherever possible. Through these efforts we aim to keep Memphis among the top members of the list.

The information and photos here have been collected and organized over a number of years by interns and volunteers associated with and directed by Memphis Heritage Inc. We regret any inaccuracies, omissions or copyright issues, and encourage readers to report such cases, which will be corrected in future editions.

Work on this project began in 2013 when two Memphis students, brothers working on their Eagle Scout Service Project, approached Memphis Heritage hoping to work on a history program that could serve the entire community. After several meetings they decided to investigate the properties in Shelby County that were listed on the National Register of Historic Places. At the same time, Memphis Heritage had a need for photos of these same properties. The students began by traveling around the city photographing each listing. They then created a database containing pictures and other information gained from their visits to the city’s many and varied neighborhoods. On a number of occasions the Scouts were disturbed to find no building when they arrived at the property’s address, discovering first hand the absence of landmark buildings that had been demolished – a definite eye-opener. Their project was extremely successful and both brothers earned their Eagle Scout rank.

That was the first step in compiling this catalog of city- and county-wide National Register-listed properties. During the next couple of years, the second phase in creating this resource was taken on by three students from Rhodes College fulfilling Public History Internships. It was their charge to research each property’s history, build date, architectural style(s), locations and districts, etc. They created one page per property where this important information is documented. A volunteer from the Memphis Public Library helped by assigning the properties to their voting districts – City Council Districts and Super Districts, and County Commission Districts. In 2015 the project was taken over by a University of Memphis Graduate Fellow in City and Regional Planning, later joined by a University of Tennessee Health Science Center Department of Medicine retiree. Together they confirmed and added to the information already collected, and edited the entire catalog. The original version of this catalog was printed on July 18, 2017. Copies were presented to members of the City Council in session on August 22, 2017, and soon afterward to other City of Memphis officials and local libraries. Finally, its current publication online was overseen by a Rhodes College Public History Intern.

How is this information organized?

How is this information organized?

The two sets of properties described here, both the ones currently listed on the National Register and those that were once listed but have been removed, are arranged in alphabetical order under the names by which they were nominated to the Register. However, to avoid confusion or difficulty in finding properties, please note the following. If a personal name is part of the overall name of an NR property, the primary word used here in alphabetizing the property is almost always that person’s surname. Also, such names are usually written out in their normal form, although alphabetized by surname. For example, the “E.H. Crump House” is written so (and not as the NR has it, “Crump, E.H., House”), and is listed under “C” instead of “E”. The Elvis Presley House is listed under “P”, John Willard Brister Library under “B”, William R. Moore Dry Goods Building under “M”, etc. Also, other names by which a property may now be more familiar usually appear in parentheses after the “historic” name, for example “Anderson-Coward House (Justine’s Restaurant).”

Some half-dozen NR Historic Districts extend across the boundaries of two or more City Council Districts, Super Districts or County Commission Districts. In these cases (which are all noted on their respective pages), the particular historic district has been assigned to the City Council District in which most of the property appears to lie, or to the lowest-numbered district. A good example is the Memphis Parkway System, which lies in City Council Districts 4, 5, 6 and 7, Super Districts 8 and 9, and County Commission Districts 7, 8, and 9. For convenience, it has been assigned to City Council District 4. 

What is the National Register? What are the criteria for being listed there, and why is a listing important?

What is the National Register? What are the criteria for being listed there, and why is a listing important?

The National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s inventory of historic properties. Among other requirements, the places listed can be “districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects that possess integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association.” Almost without exception they must be at least 50 years old, and they should be significant to the history of their community, state or nation. Thus many qualities may make properties listable. Overall, a property should be associated with a significant historical or architectural context, and retain historic integrity of the features necessary to convey its significance. In this catalog we describe 212 examples here in Memphis and Shelby County that are now, or were once, listed.

In addition to the honor of being recognized, listed properties are given consideration in planning for federal or federally-assisted projects, and can qualify for federal grants. They are eligible for certain tax provisions, notably for a 20% investment tax credit for certified rehabilitation of income-producing historic structures. Owners of privately-owned NR-listed properties are free to maintain, manage and dispose of their properties as they choose.

Another category of historic properties recognized by the National Park Service are National Historic Landmarks, defined as “nationally significant historic places designated by the Secretary of the Interior because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States.” In addition to being listed on the NR (and described in the catalog that follows), National Historic Landmarks in Memphis are Beale Street, Chucalissa, Graceland and Sun Record Company. Clayborn Temple has also recently been proposed as a National Historic Landmark.

How does local government aid historic preservation?

How does local government aid historic preservation?

Comparable to the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places, the City of Memphis has its own means of recognizing local properties worthy of being preserved in their historic condition. This effort is overseen by the Memphis Landmarks Commission (MLC). The joint Memphis and Shelby County Office of Planning and Development (OPD) staff now manages the MLC as well as the Land Use Control Board (LUCB) and the Board of Adjustment. Memphis’s local historic districts were once known as Memphis Landmarks Districts, but since the adoption of The Memphis and Shelby County Unified Development Code (UDC) by Memphis City Council on August 10, 2010, they are now codified as Historic Overlay Districts (see Section 8.6 of UDC). Protection of such districts is ensured by seeing that “all exterior new construction, building alterations, demolitions, relocations, and site improvements visible from the street must be reviewed and approved by” the MLC. A former distinction between “historic preservation districts” and “historic conservation districts” no longer applies. Every newly-designated Historic Overlay District must have developed its own set of MLC- and City Council-approved Design Review Guidelines. It is worth noting here that Memphis and Shelby County have benefited for almost two decades from the expertise and dedication of MLC’s former Manager, Nancy Jane Baker, who retired in mid-2017.

The following nine Memphis neighborhoods are local Historic Overlay Districts, in addition to being listed on the NR: Annesdale Park, Annesdale-Snowden, Central Gardens, Cotton Row, Evergreen, Gayoso-Peabody, Glenview, South Main St., and Victorian Village. These will be described in this catalog. Lea’s Woods and Rozelle-Annesdale are likewise local Historic Overlay Districts but are not listed on the NR. Memphis also has two single-lot Historic Overlay Districts: these are Collins Chapel and Maxwelton, which are on the NR and will likewise be described here. Memphis thus now has 13 Historic Overlay Districts.

Two other Memphis neighborhoods are currently engaged in becoming Historic Overlay Districts; both are already listed on the NR and are described later. Cooper-Young Historic District neighborhood residents, followed by MLC and LUCB, have all approved its application. The final step, required approval by the City Council, was achieved in part in April 2018; before completing the process, the council may create new rules governing development in such districts. When it is finally approved, Memphis will have 14 Historic Overlay Districts. Speedway Terrace Historic District residents, followed by MLC and LUCB, have likewise approved its application, which is shortly to be considered by the City Council as of April 2018. Finally, the four Vollintine historic districts making up the Vollintine Evergreen Community Association or VECA have also expressed interest, and may begin the same process early in 2018; VECA consists of Vollintine Evergreen HD, Vollintine Evergreen Avalon HD, Vollintine Evergreen North HD and Vollintine Hills HD, all of which are described later.

What is the economic and environmental case for historic preservation?

What is the economic and environmental case for historic preservation?

Dollars invested through historic preservation projects can leverage thousands of dollars for new investments. When preservation is focused on re-use it is an economic development tool. For example, the redevelopment of the historic NR-listed Tennessee Brewery has been projected to have an economic impact of $43.8 million for Shelby County during the construction phase alone, supporting 307 jobs. The annual impact of the property after completion will be more than $8.2 million per year, generating 107 jobs and hundreds of thousands of local tax dollars. (See the catalog that follows for descriptions of the Brewery and other NR properties mentioned here.)

In connection with this aspect of historic preservation, the federal tax code approved in 1986 has an extremely important feature. It allows developers and investors a credit of 20% of rehabilitation costs incurred in renovating historic structures, meaning any recognized by the National Register of Historic Places, including private residences. Developers can use the credit to offset their federal corporate tax liability, or can transfer the credit to investors. The more recent tax bill of 2017 has changed the way such these tax credits may be applied, though. No longer may the full 20% tax benefit for such work be taken when work has been completed on a restored property; the credit must now be parceled out over five years. Some say this will probably reduce the value of the credit somewhat (because “time is money”), although it should still be attractive to developers and investors who don’t require immediate tax benefits.

The State of Tennessee legislature is now considering an act (SB 1040 / HB 1061) that would provide a tax credit of 25% of qualified rehab expenses for eligible historic buildings in the state. This incentive would be applied against the Tennessee insurance premium tax and certain other expenses. A total of 34 other states have this incentive, including all of Tennessee’s neighbors.

Local and national media have commented on various Memphis historic properties or districts that have used, or were expected to use, historic preservation tax credits for renovation projects. A Memphis page on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s website www.community-wealth.org (of date 2003) reports that the 1914 Central Station in South Main Street Historic District was helped by historic tax credits to the tune of $3 million. In 2004 the National Park Service recognized the use of tax credits in the preservation of shotgun houses in Memphis’s Delmas-Lema Historic District. Ann Breen and Dick Rigby wrote in their book Intown Living: A Different American Dream (2004) that one of the sources of funding for the renovation of Lauderdale Courts was $5.2 million in tax credit equity, nearly 14% of the total needed, and that renovations to the 1923 Shrine Building and the 1904-1914 Memphis Trust / Commerce Title Building were also helped by historic tax credits.

The Commercial Appeal and other news media reported in October 2013 that the Crosstown Concourse team anticipated $30 million in tax credits for renovating the former Sears Building. In 2015 the projected renovation of the Universal Life Insurance Building was expected to use about half a million dollars in tax credit equity, or 8% of the total cost – so stated a staff report of the Downtown Memphis Commission. The Commercial Appeal reported in March 2017 that owners would use about $2.4 million in tax credits to fund renovation of the Medical Arts / Hickman Building. Owners of the Scimitar Building (the new Hotel Napoleon) likewise reportedly made special efforts to gain use of tax credits, as the new owners of Clayborn Temple also anticipate doing. A partner in Court Square Center (which includes the historic downtown Lowenstein Building and Lincoln American Tower) pointed out to The Commercial Appeal in November 2017 that the tax credit was one of the incentives for pursuing this $45 million dollar project, completed in 2009. Recently, renovations of the Hotel Chisca (also on South Main) and the Nineteenth Century Club Building have benefited from these credits, as will the renovation of the Tennessee Brewery.

For further reviews of the significance of historic tax credits to Memphis, see articles by Wayne Risher and by Mark Fleischer in The Commercial Appeal of November 9 and 16, 2017, respectively.

A study of the impact of such tax credits was issued in July 2017 by Rutgers University’s Center for Urban Policy Research and the National Park Service (which administers the tax credit along with state historic preservation offices). The report states that the program has generated nearly $132 million in private investment involving nearly 43,000 projects. The credit (measured by jobs and income, among other metrics) has yielded a net benefit to the U.S. Treasury of $29.8 billion in federal tax receipts, compared with $25.2 billion in credits allocated. In addition, more than 55% of such rehab projects in fiscal 2016 were in low- and moderate-income areas, and about half of the projects involved either rehabbing existing housing or creating new housing “through reuse of commercial space.” Thus the program “is an important tool in helping to revitalize older, economically depressed communities.”

Property values surrounding historically and culturally significant sites are 5-15% higher than similar properties in the same city. In 2004, economists Edward Coulson and Michael Lahr analyzed changes in property values in Memphis neighborhoods containing historic properties and found that “Historic designation adds 17.6% appreciation in housing values.” Furthermore, almost one-third of the visitors to Memphis come to see a historic site, according to surveys conducted by state and local tourism associations.

It is also well established that older buildings can be more energy efficient because they were built more rigorously than modern properties. With over half of landfill mass coming from demolished buildings, adapting older buildings for new uses has many environmental benefits. The greenest, most sustainable buildings are the ones that have already been built.

To sum up, it is the hope of Memphis Heritage that this catalog will help its users to discover, and learn more about, the rich and diverse history of Memphis and Shelby County through the properties that still exist to remind us of that history today.

Where is more information available about local and national historic preservation?

Where is more information available about local and national historic preservation?

(all accessed and up-to-date as of March 21st, 2018)

-More about Memphis Heritage, or check out our map of historic properties.

-The National Register of Historic Places or the criteria on how to apply.

-Advice on how to nominate a property for listing on the National Register and answers to other frequently asked questions.

-Information about using tax incentives in preserving historic properties (the National Trust for Historic Preservation is a strong advocate on behalf of this credit, see their information about historic tax credits and the information in their resource library). Another good resource is Novogradac and Co.’s list of state historic tax credit legislation.

-A list of Tennessee historic tax credit projects including several dozen in Memphis.

-The Memphis and Shelby County Office of Planning and Development.

-The Memphis Landmarks Commission and a list of all Memphis Boards and Commissions.

Local historic zoning information, where will be found The Memphis and Shelby County Unified Development Code and a map of Memphis Overlay Districts including the historic ones labeled “Landmarks Districts”.

-A collection of maps of individual Historic Overlay Districts.

Memphis Public Schools and the National Register

Memphis Public Schools and the National Register

The listing (or non-listing) of a number of early Memphis Public Schools on the National Register (NR) is complicated. In 1982 the Memphis School Board nominated twelve public schools built between 1902 and 1915 in a Multiple Property Listing (MPL). The ten elementary schools in this listing were Bruce, Grant-Pope, Guthrie, A.B. Hill, Idlewild, Lauderdale (then called Lauderdale-Walker), Lenox, Maury, Peabody and Rozelle; the listing concluded with Snowden Junior High and Central High. Three schools were accepted at that time, are still listed on the NR, and remain in full use today: Peabody and Rozelle Elementary, and Central High. Four more elementary schools of the MPL were accepted to the NR at that time but over the years have been replaced and demolished, and will be described in detail in the catalog: Guthrie, A.B. Hill, Lauderdale and Maury. The nominations for yet another four schools were returned to the Board of Education at that time (1982) with requests for further information: Bruce, Grant-Pope and Idlewild Elementary, and Snowden Junior High. The last of the twelve schools, Lenox, was no longer in use as a school at that time and had already been listed individually on the NR in 1981; its new nomination was not accepted but its individual listing remains today (as described above).

Of the four nominations above that were returned for further information, one source wrote nearly a decade later in 1991 that they had been “lost in the shuffle of staff turnover” at the then-responsible agency, the Memphis Division of Housing and Community Development. Bruce and Idlewild Elementary, and Snowden Junior High, were never re-nominated. While Bruce would be demolished around 2000, both Idlewild and Snowden continue in full use today. Although these latter two schools are not listed individually on the NR, both are contributing properties in listed historic districts (Idlewild in Central Gardens Historic District, p. 101, No. 1000 of its nomination, and Snowden in Evergreen HD, p. 82, No. 990). Grant-Pope was later listed individually on the NR under its original name of Leroy Pope Elementary School but eventually was demolished and delisted.

In later actions, two other schools, L.C. Humes High and Melrose, are said to have been nominated to the NR as part of a 1996 MPL featuring schools built between 1918 and 1954. This was perhaps unsuccessful (records have not been located), because they were later re-nominated and listed individually, as they remain today. Cordova High, Fairview Junior High and Wells School were also listed individually and remain on the NR. Douglass High School was listed individually, but was later demolished and delisted.

 

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A|B|C|D|E|F|G|H|I|J|K|L|M|N|O|P|Q|R|S|T|U|V|W|X|Y|Z|Delisted Properties

 

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Residences, Churches, Hospitals, Commercial Properties, and Entertainment Venues

 

Memphis Public Schools

 

 

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Acknowledgments

 

Memphis Heritage is grateful for the dedicated work of our volunteers, interns and staff that allowed this project to be completed:

 

Boy Scouts of America, Chickasaw Council, Troop 55 Eagle Scouts:

Russell August Klinke (2013)

Zachary Wayne Klinke (2013)

 

Rhodes College, History Department Public History Interns:

Matthew Hein (2013)

Sam Bridger (2014)

Harrison Donahoe (2014)

Henry Kemp (2018)

 

Memphis Public Library:

Bryan Massey (2015)

 

University of Memphis, City and Regional Planning Graduate Fellow:

Lauren Crosby (2015-2016)

 

University of Tennessee Health Science Center:

John T. Dulaney (Retired) (2016-2018)

 

Memphis Heritage Inc.:

Carrie Stetler

Margot Ferster Payne

June W. West

 

Memphis Heritage acknowledges the services of The FPS Company, Memphis, TN, the printer of this work, and thanks the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis for the grant that enabled the printed edition of this catalog.

 

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Online edition completed in April 2018 at the direction of Memphis Heritage Inc.

June West, Executive Director

Howard Hall

2282 Madison Avenue at Edgewood

Memphis, TN 38104

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Original edition printed July 2017 by

The FPS Company

3945 East Raines Road

Memphis, TN 38118

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The printing of the original edition of this catalog was made possible by a grant from

The Community Foundation of Greater Memphis

1900 Union Avenue

Memphis, TN 38104

DON NEWMAN