Memphis Heritage

2021 #GivingTuesday Campaign


Andrew Schrack

Berry Jones

Betty Spence

Bill Denton

Bill Ferguson

Brenda Hayes Barrett

Brian Everson

Carol A. DeForest

Charles Moore

Christina-Maria Varotsis

Colby Mitchell

Dana Gabrion

David da Ponte-Cooper

Dennis Givens

Emily McEvoy

Faye Garner

Jeanne Myers

Joey Hagan

John Padavic

Julie McCullough

June West

Katherine Fox

Leah Fox-Greenberg

Mark Sehnert

Michelle Koeppen

Neal Graham

Nicki Newburger

Rita Koeppen

Robert Hodges

Sharon Fox O’Guin

Sheri McKelvie

Stacee Zebb

Tracy Snyder Kelly

Will McGown

Giving Tuesday is a national holiday expressed as a “global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world”.

Memphis Heritage is taking part this year to express our gratitude to our supporters, members, and community  for their support of our mission; 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. 

Every week leading up to Giving Tuesday (Nov, 30th) we will be sharing a project(s) that had Memphis Heritage’s assistance or leadership. Our posts will stem from Facebook, but you can also see updates and progress here on our website. 

See our Facebook fundraiser HERE!

Our goal this #GivingTuesday is to raise $5,000 to help us preserve and reimagine Memphis’ historic entities. The more proceeds donated on #GivingTuesday, the more matching opportunities available. We need YOUR help to keep Memphis’ history preserved; by giving Memphis’ past a future!

Before it begins, we would like to thank our members, advocates, the neighborhood associations, and all others involved in helping preserve Shelby County’s heritage. We would not be able to do what we do without YOU and without your dedication and hard work. If you are unable to support by donating funds tomorrow, please support in sharing our stories and projects that we post, so that we may grow the exposure of our mission; 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.

#GivingTuesday posts

Friday, November 26th

“We hope everyone had a heartwarming and safe Thanksgiving! To continue our trek to Giving Tuesday, we have one last project to share: one of our most recent endeavours, helping Orange Mound become a National Historic District!

It has been over a decade in the making but we have finished one of the first phases of putting Orange Mound “on the map” as both a NATIONAL and LOCAL Historic District. 

With the help of Community Leaders from Orange Mound, University of Memphis, Rhodes College and countless others (special thanks to Ms. Mary Mitchell, Councilman Ford, Councilman Warren and Councilman Carlisle). We are garning more support both locally and nationally to show that preservation matters in ALL communities. Special thanks to our MHI Advocacy Committee who continue to offer resources and professional guidance.”

THURSday, November 25th

“Memphis Heritage wishes you and yours a very ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ today!

This month, we have been sharing projects to which had Memphis Heritage’s involvement, and today we would like to give thanks to one of the biggest projects– one that was so graciously given to us by, Hal B Howard Jr., our beautiful headquarters, Howard Hall located at 2282 Madison at Edgewood. Howard Hall, built in 1910, has had three owners before it was purchased by Mr. Howard, and we’ll forever be grateful that he did.

On a Wednesday in May 2005, our Executive Director received a phone call from a man named Hal B. Howard Jr., who wanted to know more about our nonprofit organization. Having been around since 1975, we have talked with many people about the mission and works of Memphis Heritage. As with many of those callers, we didn’t know this man or the ultimate purpose of his phone call, but we could tell this gentleman had a great interest in Memphis history and in its preservation of sense of place. They discussed the rich memories of people and places that they both knew for over 45 minutes. At the end of the conversation, Mr. Howard told us about a property that he owned and that he was considering giving it to Memphis Heritage for a new headquarters. They hung up the phone and our ED took a deep breath; and the rest, as they say, IS HISTORY!.

Today is the day of giving thanks, and again we thank Hal B. Howard Jr. for his generous gift of Howard Hall as well as his years of support to Memphis Heritage. “

Wednesday, November 24th

“Another project posting: Vollintine Evergreen Historic District!

This historic district contains sixty-seven blocks of 3,218 contributing resources (almost entirely dwellings) and eleven 1930s WPA projects. Some cottages date from ca. 1905, but most are from later decades. 

In the early twentieth century, the heirs of John Overton began disposing of their large land holdings in this area, and real estate developers took notice. The construction of the Memphis Parkway System in this area helped fuel the housing boom that followed. Vollintine Evergreen HD is one of the four NR-listed Vollintine historic districts that now make up collectively the Vollintine Evergreen Community Association or VECA as a Historic Overlay District.

Our board and staff were available to help lead community meetings, research materials needed, and were partners with community advocates and the VECA neighborhood association– both on a national and local level. We are grateful for so many that worked to see VECA become a Local Landmarks District. To thank a few: Natasha Strong, Suzy Askew, Cathy Marcinko (from the early days), Mary Wilder, and Michael Kirby. Our board and staff were available to help lead community meetings, research materials needed, and were partners with community advocates and the VECA neighborhood association– both on a national and local level. We are grateful for so many that worked to see VECA become a Local Landmarks District. To thank a few: Natasha Strong, Suzy Askew, Cathy Marcinko (from the early days), Mary Wilder, and Michael Kirby.”

Tuesday, November 23rd

“Project posting for #GivingTuesday: The TN Brewery!
Erected in 1890, this fortress of brew produced over 250,000 barrels of beer a year by 1903, making it the largest brewery in the South at that time. Although the company survived Prohibition (by producing soft drinks), the Tennessee Brewery closed all operations in 1954. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, this often described castle overlooking the bluff of the Mississippi River was lovingly restored by New Century Award Recipient William “Billy” Orgil.

Photo by Walter Arnold

In 2014 there appeared to be no hope left on redeveloping the historic Tennessee Brewery on the bluff at 495 Tennessee St.. Thirteen groups had worked on plans but could not make the financials work. The owners, who bought the building to see the building saved, were going to have to demolish the stately structure because the cost to maintain it were astronomical. It was then that Memphis Heritage held a meeting at Howard Hall attended by over 50 people from developers to architects to concerned citizens. It was at this meeting that the late Tommy Pacello suggested that we needed to start showing the value of these historic properties just as they stood and reimagining our forgotten spaces. Stemming from his experience with Innovate Memphis where local POPUps were started, Tommy helped us to think in a different way. Soon after this meeting at Memphis Heritage, we were working with the group of Memphians that created “Untapped”, the Memphis beer garden. It was during this “Untapped” event that Billy Orgel visited the property and saw its great potential. Billy purchased the property and restored the amazing structure into apartments and commercial space.
We are grateful for Billy Orgel and Benjamin Orgel for their dedication to saving and repurposing the TN Brewery, the past owners for not demolishing the building, the late, Tommy Pacello for his insight in urban redevelopment, Michael Tauer, Taylor Berger, Andy Cates, Doug Carpenter and the myriad of volunteers that created “Untapped”, Kenn Flemmons for writing the book, “”The Finest Beer You Ever Tasted””, architect Tony Pellicciotti with LRK, and finally to Walter Arnold, photographer, who helped us all see the beauty of this historic 1890’s Memphis Landmark through his photographs that are now hanging on the walls of the restored Tennessee Brewery.”

Monday, November 22ND

“Preparing for this holiday week with a project posting: Crosstown Concourse! We will be posting everyday this week in preparation for #GivingTuesday.
The historic Sears Crosstown Store and distribution center sat empty for over a decade! The building was purchased from Sears by an out of town group that had made plans to develop the building into apartments or condos but found that the development cost was prohibitive. The building was finally purchased by a local Memphian with plans to move a local college into the huge property. This plan did not come to fruition either. After years of no movement, the local owners had a vision for a vertical village within the walls of this historic giant. And so with a spark and a lot of determination in asking what if? Crosstown Concourse became a reality, first with the beginning of Crosstown Arts and then local service agencies partnered with the developers and today it is the winner of international awards and admiration.
Memphis Heritage assisted in sharing this amazing building space with the community years before the actual construction started by cleaning up areas and hosting fundraising events. The community was smitten. MHI led a letter writing campaigns for community support of this development and spoke at both Memphis City Council and the Shelby County Commission on the importance of this project’s moving forward and requesting their support.
MHI is grateful to Staley Cates, Todd Richardson, Chris Minor, McLean Wilson and all the many players that never gave up on the dream of making this once abandoned blighted building into a successful vertical village that improved the future of the surrounding area for decades to come.”

Wednesday, November 17th

“This week’s project post: The Luciann Theatre!
The Luciann Theatre at 2432 Summer was built in 1939 by Michael Cianciolo and named after his sisters Lucy and Ann. In 1958 the theatre closed and was converted into a bowling alley. In the mid-sixties the building became a nightclub called The Party and in 1971 the property was sold to the Paris Adult Theatre Group which closed 2017. In 2020 the Townsend Development LLC bought the 81-year-old, 15,000 square foot, Luciann Theatre that once held 1014 seats. Fortunately, the façade of this historic theatre was not destroyed and is now being restored starting with the marquis and the clock as it was in 1939.

Photo by Rollin Riggs

Memphis Heritage made the community aware that the historic theatre was for sale and encouraged whoever purchased it that adaptive reuse would fit into the amazing redevelopment that was going on along the Broad St. and Summer Ave. We are ecstatic that Preservationist Bill Townsend has taken the reigns and is in the process of a full restoration of this theater.”

Wednesday, November 10th

“Our second project posting for #GivingTuesday: Overton Square!
Overton Square at the corner of Madison and Cooper, became a thriving center for social life in the 1970s and 1980s after it was reimagined and restored by Memphian Ben Woodson and local partners. It was a driving force for the rebirth of commercial establishments in Midtown during this time. Located in Overton Square, TGI Fridays (the first francize of the famous New York City restaurant) was the very first bar/restaurant in Memphis that served liquor by the drink. 
The Overton Square area later fell into disrepair when owned by out of town investors that did not understand the important history of this location in the lives of many. Threatened with demolition and construction of a big box grocery store, Memphis Heritage led the charge to halt demolition and assist in finding a developer to take over a project to restore the square.
Memphis Heritage is very grateful to Bob Loeb who recognized the importance and potential to restore Overton Square into a thriving entertainment area. Thank you to then City Councilman Shea Flinn and the full City Council for their support in slowing proposed demolition so that plans could be coordinated, which ultimately saved these important structures. We are also grateful to Gordon Alexander along with the Midtown Action Coalition and the myriad of MHI members and supporters that wrote to local leaders to express their wants to see this historic Midtown location saved and restored.”

Wednesday, November 3rd

“The first project we would like to share is the Wm. Ellis Building. In business since 1862, William C. Ellis, started with a blacksmith shop and later manufactured wagons and farming implements. Located at the corner of S. Front Street and M. L. King Ave., the first building, the blacksmith’s shop was built in 1879. It was the city’s oldest operating foundry and it was said to be Memphis’ oldest family-owned business still operating in the same location until closing in November 2017. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. Components of the historic Ellis Buildings have been saved and incorporated into the new Hyatt Centric Hotel and One Beale developed by The Carlisle Corp.

Photo by Michael Kerr

When Memphis Heritage found out that the plans were for a full demo of the property, MHI worked with owner, Chance Carlisle, to encourage that various components be repurposed for the Carlisle project. Fortunately, Chance was responsive and the Hyatt Group also fell in love with some of the older structures and incorporated them into their plans for the Centric Hotel.

MHI is grateful to Chance Carlisle and the Carlisle Corp along with Hyatt that they stopped and negotiated a win win for this historic property.”