Status: Preserved; renovation is planned
Address: 241-245 South Front Street, Memphis
Architectural Style: Industrial vernacular (example of Foundry Complex)
Original Function/Purpose: Manufacturing
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. In 2021 the Hyatt Centric, with several meeting rooms and event venues named for elements of the Ellis complex, was named one of the best new hotels of the year in a USA TODAY poll. The accompanying Hyatt Caption hotel opened in 2022 and incorporates the original brick and cast-iron façade of the main Ellis building facing Front Street. 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