From the Archives
BY MARY HELEN TIBBS
When you pass a historic building in Memphis, you just might have the folks at Memphis Heritage to thank for it. The nonprofit organization was founded in 1975, when a small but active group of concerned citizens met on the second floor of Stewart Brothers Hardware in Midtown. The goal? To prevent any more of the city’s oldest — and most vulnerable — architecture from being demolished in the name of “progress.”
Was there a building torn down that served as a catalyst for creating Memphis Heritage?
The Napoleon Hill Mansion at 1400 Union was torn down in 1978. There were marchers and protesters, the whole nine yards, but in the end it came down. It put the issue on the radar for a lot of Memphians.
How and when did you become involved?
I’ve always been interested in historic structures and anything old, really. I came on board in 2003. I was at a crossroads, and I met with the president of the Memphis Heritage board, William Chandler. It was a good fit for us both.