Location: Roughly bounded by South Main and Mulberry Streets, and Webster and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenues (the latter formerly part of Linden Avenue), in Memphis
Architectural Style: Largely Commercial vernacular
Original Function/Purpose: Commercial
History: This district in the nineteenth century was a muddy residential street linking Victorian homes to the downtown district via trolley. The completion of Union Station in 1912 and Central Station in 1914 changed the neighborhood, making it the gateway to Memphis. Existing structures were warehouses, hotels, bars and brothels built during the early decades of the twentieth century to serve the needs of travelers and railroad commerce. Extensive redevelopments are currently taking place in the South Main district. In May 2017 developers announced a $50+ million plan to convert the historic 103-year-old Central Station into “a hotel like none other,” and in 2019 Malco converted the station’s own old Powerhouse building into a $6.5 million 7-screen theater. In the same year, “more than $24 million in tax breaks to help spur about $100 million in development in the South Main Neighborhood” were approved by the Downtown Memphis Commission’s Center City Revenue Finance Corp. Board. South Main Street Historic District is one of the National Register-listed districts recognized (and protected) by the City of Memphis as a local historic district or Historic Overlay District.
Mar. 8, 1997
Address: 663 South Main Street, Memphis
Architectural Style: One-story multi-bay brick
History: The original boundary of South Main Street Historic District is increased by the addition of the 1914 Railway Express Agency building connected to the south end of Central Station, and by addition of the masonry freight tunnel connecting the two buildings. After World War II the railway freight handling business was slowly killed off by subsidized or otherwise cheaper competition from the U.S. Post Office and trucking companies.
July 9, 1999
Location: 384 Mulberry Street and 129 Talbot Avenue, Memphis
Built: ca. 1905
Architectural Style: Two-story brick with poured concrete basement foundations and exterior porches, stairs and shed roofs
History: The original boundary of South Main Street Historic District is increased by the addition of these two identical two-story apartment buildings, or tenement houses as they once were. Few, if any, other historic tenement houses still exist in Memphis; these are labeled in the 1907 Sanborn insurance maps of Memphis as “Negro Tenements.” They, like nearby shotgun housing in this district, were clearly constructed as working class housing near commercial / industrial areas.
Aug. 13, 2013
Location: 124, 136-137, 153-154 & 161 East G.E. Patterson Avenue (formerly Calhoun Avenue), and 138 St. Paul Avenue, in Memphis
Built: ca. 1905
Architectural Style: Late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century American Movement; Commercial / Classical Revival
History: The original boundary of South Main Street Historic District is increased by the addition of structures along the 100 blocks of East G.E. Patterson Avenue and the nearby parallel St. Paul Avenue.
City Council District: 6
Super District: 8
County Commission District: 8