Overton Park Historic District

Status: Preserved

Location: Overton Park, Memphis

Built: 1901

Architectural Style: Park

Original Function/Purpose: Park

The Overton Park Historic District was placed on the National Register on Oct. 25, 1979.

History: Overton Park was designed by landscape architect George Kessler in 1901-02 and named for John Overton. The 342-acre district includes the Memphis Zoo (established 1906, top photo), the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art (1916, second photo), the Levitt Shell (third photo, formerly known as the Overton Park Shell (1936) or Memphis Open Air Theatre, and the Raoul Wallenberg Shell (1982)), and the Memphis College of Art (1956, bottom photo). Overton Park contains a wealth of art, memorials and other historic or recreational structures. In his first paid concert appearance, Elvis Presley (called Ellis Presley in one newspaper ad) performed at the Shell in 1954. Memphis College of Art in its centerpiece Rust Hall will continue to teach and foster young artists until it closes in 2020; the Metal Museum has expressed interest in using the buildings for a museum and education center afterward. The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art plans to relocate downtown on a redeveloped riverfront by 2023 or 2024, and Shelby County Schools has expressed interest in opening a school in the former museum building


Outline of the Overton Park Historic District.

Map of the district used in its National Register nomination.

City Council District: 5

Super District: 9

County Commission District: 7