Vance-Pontotoc Historic District

Status: Many homes demolished; delisted Mar. 18, 1987

Location: Roughly, along Vance and Pontotoc Avenues between Danny Thomas Boulevard and disused Frisco railroad tracks west of Walnut Street, in Memphis

Built: ca. 1850s – early twentieth century

Architectural Style: Various

The Vance-Pontotoc Historic District was placed on the National Register on Mar. 19, 1980.

History: Development of the Vance-Pontotoc area began in the early 1840s as the independent (and upper-income) town of South Memphis. The two Memphis cities merged in 1850. During and following the Civil War years, thanks to a nearby Federal troop encampment, a markedly increased population of African-Americans was established here. Later still, as a result of 1920s rezoning changes, industry increased in the area. In the 1950s, though, the neighborhood remained a center of African-American business, commerce and culture. Much of the abandonment and decline of the district began in the late 1960s. The city’s Division of Housing and Community Development attempted in the 1980s to use an Urban Homesteading Project to rehabilitate homes and other buildings in the neighborhood. The attempt failed and the district was delisted a mere seven years after it was listed, due to the number of historic buildings demolished in the district; only 36 out of 92 remained.

 

City Council District: 6

Super District: 8

County Commission District: 8

DON NEWMAN