Memphis Federation of Musicians Local 71 Building

Status: Preserved

Address: 994 Philadelphia Street, Memphis

Built: 1962

Architectural Style: Late International Commercial

Original Function/Purpose: Commerce

The Memphis Federation of Musicians Local 71 Building was placed on the National Register on May 5, 2017.

History: Located in the Cooper-Young Historic District, the Memphis Federation of Musicians Local 71 Building shows its age but wears it well. Local 71 has a long and honorable history in the Bluff City, not least in enrolling African-American musicians as early as 1949. In the late 1950s a number of MFM card-carrying members were making their first recordings on Sun Records, including Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Muddy Waters, Ike Turner, and others. The membership of Local 71 continued to thrive in the 1960s as Stax Records entered the picture, promoting the legendary “Memphis Sound.” Beginning in 1960, Local 71 president Vernon Baty spearheaded the campaign for a permanent headquarters for MFM, and land was purchased in mid-1962. The building, whose grand opening took place in February 1963, was designed by architect William Gaskill, a former professional musician and member himself of Local 71. (The firm of Yeates and Gaskill also designed the nearby 1965 Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.) The building continues to serve its membership, including members of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, popular musicians, and freelance dance bands.

 

City Council District: 4

Super District: 8

County Commission District: 10

DON NEWMAN