Status: Preserved; renovation is planned

Address: 241-245 South Front Street, Memphis

Built: 1879-1925

Architectural Style: Industrial vernacular (example of Foundry Complex)

Original Function/Purpose: Manufacturing

The William C. Ellis and Sons Ironworks and Machine Shop was placed on the National Register on Aug. 25, 1983.

History: The William C. Ellis and Sons Ironworks and Machine Shop was one of the earliest, longest-running businesses in Memphis. The lot on which the foundry was built was purchased by W.C. Ellis in 1878. The original blacksmith shop once made wrought-iron straps for carriages and shoes for horses and mules. Although altered over time, the original shop still remains, as do the foundry and pattern house (both 1890), as well as the machine shops (1922-1925). The latter were historically used for the repair and building of agricultural machines, especially cotton compresses and railroad equipment such as brake shoes, switch parts and pump housing, but grew to include manufacturing for the river trade as well. In December 2016 the property was purchased by the Carlisle Corporation, which proposed incorporating the historic structures into its plans for a new Hyatt hotel, part of its One Beale project. Late in 2019 it was announced that the bulk of the machine shop fronting on Front Street would be demolished, although the façade would be preserved to border a courtyard of a new hotel. The entire Ellis complex consists of six buildings and plans are incomplete for the other five.

City Council District: 6

Super District: 8

County Commission District: 8