Memphis Heritage has had many accomplishments over the years that have served to protect the Historic places in Memphis and Shelby Community.
One success story was the adaptive reuse of the Four Flames Restaurant (Patton-Bejach House, Poplar Ave., NR 1987.) Threatened by demolition due to impending foreclosure proceedings against the owners, Memphis Heritage approached the Tennessee Historic Commission to acquire the property. If the state took title to the property it required a non-profit tenant. Memphis Heritage was able to facilitate this by bringing in the Child Sexual Abuse Advocacy Council as a tenant and helped raise additional funds for its rehabilitation and maintenance.
Memphis Heritage has an ongoing interest in the Memphis River Landing and preservation of the waterfront. The huge cobblestone landing is one of very few remaining in the country. An attempt to remove the cobblestones from the Cotton Row Historical District (NR 1978) was successfully defeated by a coalition of Memphis Heritage, the AIA, the Sierra Club, and the Downtown Neighborhood Association in the 1980’s. Memphis Heritage was a participant in the 1996 Preservation Plan for the Memphis Cobblestone Landing and continues to work with state and local groups to ensure the preservation of this treasure.
In 1988 Memphis Heritage received funding to complete a seven-year survey of city structures that are over 50 years old. We received additional funding in 1999 to continue the survey, looking at houses built between 1940 and 1950. Memphis Heritage has surveyed over 13,000 structures, helping Memphis to become #6 in the nationin buildings listed on the National Register.
Memphis Heritage assisted the city in stopping the National Park Service from removing the Beale Street Historic District’s National Landmark status in 1989. The same year, Memphis Heritage sponsored the exhibit “Overton Park: Vision and Inspiration” which was displayed at Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.
1999 was a busy year for us. Old Home Expo, the Mid-South’s first historic home renovation, home tour and trade show was a four-day event in May, showcasing many fine homes and talks from local experts on renovating and remodeling.
Memphis Heritage coordinated the grand reopening of Central Station, a 1914 Daniel Burnham train station. On a Friday evening we hosted a black-tie event for over 400, and Saturday over 30,000 people toured the newly-remodeled station.
Memphis Heritage worked with The Alexander Company, developer of the project, helping to include historic tax credits adding up to over three million dollars. Memphis Heritage was featured in HGTV’s Restore America program hosted by Bob Vila. Renovations of the Love Cottages located in Greenlaw and shotgun houses located in the Delmar-Lema Historic District were highlighted.
Our accomplishments have included:
Preventing demolition of Overton Square
Coordinating with Chick-fil-a on a solution for Cumberland Presbyterian
Saving the historic lighting in Central Gardens
Assist in saving the Gassner (C&I Bank) Building
Women’s Building at the Fairgrounds
The President’s Island One Room Schoolhouse
Supporting the passing of the Midtown Overlay
Even though the outcomes were not what we had hoped for, Memphis Heritage supported the community in working hard to save:
The Hill Mansion Union Ave
The Union Ave Methodist Church
The Eureka Hotel on Mulberry
We will always be the voice for the community when it comes to advocating for preserving our historic sites.