What We Do

Giving Memphis’ Past a Future

Our mission is to educate and coordinate individuals and groups to save, improve, reuse, and maintain architecturally and historically significant buildings, neighborhoods, parks, and cultural artifacts of Shelby County, Tennessee.

Memphis Heritage was founded in 1975 and remains the only non-profit in Shelby county which promotes historic preservation.  It began with their efforts to save the Hill Mansion on Union Avenue, seen in this video…

Tourism is one of Memphis’ top revenue producers.  History plays a profound role in the city’s appeal.  What would Memphis be without Graceland, The Magevny House, Victorian Village, The Pink Palace, Beale Street, and The Civil Rights Museum?  These cultural and historic attractions not only give the city its own distinct flavor, but they also draw a swarm of visitors from around the globe.  Heritage tourism accounts for 24% of all visits to Memphis.  This is positive not only for the lodging industry but also for restaurants, shopping, and entertainment.

Historic preservation is a good investment, and it would do us well to encourage its activity.  It creates jobs, produces income and produces state and local tax revenue.  In addition, historic designation raises property values at a substantially higher rate of return than non-designated areas.  All these aspects of preservation are vitally intertwined – historic designation leads to historic rehabilitation, which in turn generates heritage tourism and increased property values.  In the end, everyone benefits from historic preservation’s robust contribution to the economy.

While it is good to be aware of all the economic benefits of historic preservation, these are only a few of its numerous advantages.  Historic preservation helps the environment by curbing urban sprawl and encouraging smart development.  Historic preservation fosters education by providing the atmosphere and the structures that teach us about the past. Historic preservation is patriotic as it preserves and teaches respect for the legacy of our nation and the built environment of our forefathers.  Historic preservation builds community awareness.  Historic preservation beautifies our neighborhoods as places where people want to live.  With all these virtues and this evidence revealing powerful economic benefits, historic preservation quite simply makes Memphis a better place to live, work, or visit. (Information taken from “Preservation Makes Dollars and Sense” Memphis Landmarks Commission study 2003)

DON NEWMAN