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Wells-Arrington Historic District

Status: Many dwellings demolished; delisted July 22, 2014

Address: 563-610 Arrington Avenue and 556-601 Wells Avenue, Memphis

Built: ca. 1910-c. 1930

Architectural Style: Shotguns and double shotguns

The Wells-Arrington Historic District was placed on the National Register on Apr. 22, 1999.

History: This was an early twentieth-century working class neighborhood, and the historic district was composed of 41 shotgun houses or double shotguns constructed on narrow lots, usually 25 feet wide or less. Included were 16 unaltered ca. 1924 identical-plan residences on the southern side of Wells Avenue and more ca. 1910 shotguns on Arrington, most retaining their architectural details. Eugene Johnson and Robert Russell in their book Memphis: An Architectural Guide wrote of these and other Memphis shotguns that “as a practical response to economic realities . . . [a shotgun] is eminently reasonable,” that “even the humblest type of Memphis house could be given something fine,” that “someone wants to say, “This is a house, not a shack”.” By mid-2014, after surviving for a century, so many of these houses had been demolished (mostly on Wells Avenue) that the district was removed from the National Register. (Upper photo: Shelby County Aerial of 2010; lower photo, Shelby County Aerial of 2013.)

 

City Council District: 7

Super District: 8

County Commission District: 8

DON NEWMAN