Southern Railway Industrial Historic District

Status: Endangered

Location: Roughly bounded by Beale Street and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue (formerly part of Linden Avenue), and South Orleans and Myrtle Streets, including Jessamine Avenue and a stretch of disused Southern Railway tracks, in Memphis

Built: 1891-1956

Architectural Style: Colonial Revival, Neo-Classical

Original Function/Purpose: Commercial

The Southern Railway Industrial Historic District was placed on the National Register on Apr. 24, 2007.

History: The Southern Railway Industrial Historic District is a collection of late nineteenth- to mid-twentieth century industrial buildings near or alongside a two-block-long stretch of Southern Railway tracks (a successor to the Memphis and Charleston Railroad) that connect the properties. They illustrate Memphis’s industrial growth and have been adapted to changing times and needs. Three notable buildings are 694 Beale Street (formerly Memphis Light and Power Company Substation), 703 Beale (Memphis Light and Power Company or MLGW Building, pictured), and 214 Orleans (Memphis Light Gas and Water building). This small cluster of buildings is gradually being vacated by MLGW although a sale date has not been announced. The Southwest Tennessee Community College has stated that its possible acquisition “was incorporated in the College’s 2015 Campus Master Plan . . . that was approved by the Tennessee Board of Regents.” The college has also noted that it “desperately” needs parking space, although a spokesman added that “Nobody wants to tear the buildings down.” Other listed buildings were once manufacturing buildings (666-678 Beale, Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Company; 690 Linden, N.O. Manufacturing Company; 708 Linden, Firestone Tire and Rubber Company). The district also includes the Linden Avenue Subway where the railroad passes above Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue.

 

Map:

Outline of the Southern Railway Industrial Historic District.

Map of the district used in its National Register nomination.

 

City Council District: 6

Super District: 8

County Commission District: 8

DON NEWMAN