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Activists avoided the phrase “historic preservation,” then partied for a month. It may just save a Memphis landmark.

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The Tennessee Brewery hasn’t made a drop of beer since the 1950s, but the fortress-like building that sits abandoned on the Memphis river bluff has brewed up a new outlook for historic preservation in the city.

Hundreds of people hung out in the courtyard of the Tennessee Brewery on May 30, 2014 as part of Tennessee Brewery Untapped. Organizers estimates that more than 20,000 people visited the structure throughout the month, which had been turned into a temporary beer garden.
Credit Christopher Blank

At least, that’s one takeaway from last month’s Tennessee Brewery Untapped project, which turned a section of the building into a temporary beer garden and food truck venue. The project’s goal was to create commercial potential. But some see this as a future model for saving endangered properties.