Sculpture - Canon Center - Downtown Memphis, TN

You have probably seen the shiny metal sculpture at the northeast corner of Poplar and Front.
Next time you are Downtown, explore it from the inside - Amazing!


A year later and still no progress on 118 Madison collapse

On March 25, 2011, the roof of the neglected building at 118 Madison, in the heart of Downtown Memphis, collapsed, causing the Fire Department to close Madison due to structural issues with the Building.  After 4 months, not much progress had been made and I posted In a Real City on 7/5/2011, picking up on a quote from Downtown Memphis Commission President Paul Morris.  Here’s the way the building looked then, 4 months after the collapse.

[caption id=”attachment_19849” align=”aligncenter” width=”480” caption=”Progress on 118 Madison 8/10/11 - 4 months after collapse (8/11/2011)”]madison closing 8-10-11[/caption]

When I posted again about the building in August, 2011 - In a real city - revisited -  still no progress had been made on repairing or demolishing the building.  Not wanting to turn this into the Downtown Neglect Blog, I observed but didn’t post about the building again.

So what’s up now?  Here is a photo I took of the “progress” on March 3, 2012

[caption id=”attachment_20323” align=”aligncenter” width=”360” caption=”118 Madison (March 3,2012)”]118 madison march 2012[/caption]

See any difference?  Just the  wall of huge blocks built around the Madison side and the alley to the west.  This bunker-like structure has been there for months. Auto traffic moves on Madison, even with one lane closed, and the Trolley carries tourists and commuters past this scene that looks more like Downtown Fallujah  than Downtown Memphis.

[caption id=”attachment_20330” align=”aligncenter” width=”480” caption=”Wall around 118 Madison - March, 2012”]118 madison - March 2012[/caption]

So does the City of Memphis think that ignoring this situation will make it go away, that this mess will somehow blend in with the the cityscape?  Are the powers that be waiting for it to fall down on its own?  Downtown is full of neglected buildings.  How will Memphis handle the next collapse?  And the next?


Tribute to dead mall also offers “lost Memphis” topics

[Originally posted on Joe Spake’s Weblog in 2010, this story has a connection to tomorrow’s post.]

The Marketplace of the Mid-South

I was looking up something about Memphis when I ran across a link to http://lostmemphis.com in a Wikipedia article.  The link takes you to a page of http://mallofmemphis.org, a tribute to Memphis’s flagship shopping mall.  The site is a captivating historical piece presenting a thorough story of the mall from its beginnings to its ultimate demise and demolition. So I was stuck there for quite a while looking at pictures and reading about the mall in a format that could very well be the website of a fully operational mall.

Lost Memphis

I was really looking for the Lost Memphis section, but the icy weather lent itself to staying indoors and finding interesting stuff on the Internet the Lost Memphis section is wiki driven.  Just a few of the topics are:

Whether you are new to Memphis, or an Old-timer like me, you will definitely find something interesting here.

If you are interested in purchasing your piece of  Memphis’ history, I am real estate broker specializing in historic an in-town properties.  I  would be happy to assist you.


Downtown Memphis: Elvis Birthday Concert, Battle of the Bands, Karoke

Don’t miss any of the fun going ons  in Downtown Memphis over the next 7 days.  Go to Living it Up in Downtown for details.


Sleeping Giants: 12 Sky-High Abandoned Buildings : from WebUrbanist

You may recognize Memphis’ Sterick Building in the photo above. It is included on the list of Sleeping Giants, in this post on Web Urbanist http://weburbanist.com. Click the link under the picture for the full article. very interesting.


516 South Main

The rear door of 516 S Main St., Downtown Memphis, TN. Facing Mulberry St.


The Memphis Ice Storm of 1994

Seeing the ice on the trees this morning reminds me of a morning in 1994, waking up to a series of muffled crackles and crunchs, not quite realizing at the time that the sounds were large tree limbs splitting and falling.  I don’t remember that is was very cold that morning, 30-31 degrees being optimal for ice storm conditions.

I was a network engineer at BellSouth at the time, and I got the call to come on into work, and plan on staying over if things got really bad, so I put a sleeping bag in the car, and picked my through the debris from East Memphis to my Midtown office.  Actually, the majority of trees had not fallen at that time; they continued to fall throughout the day as I attempted to ride the streets of my area of responsibility (Midtown and Downtown), not to attempt to restore telephone service, but to report hazardous conditions. And the trees kept falling. A huge one just missed me as I was talking to some folks on Snowden, near Rhodes.  We had to run to get out of the way. By noon, it was sunny and rather warm (above freezing) but the ice load was still working on the trees, power lines and telephone cables.  Most of the ice had melted by the end of the day.  By the time it was all over, the city looked like it had been bombed.  Many were without utilities for weeks.  Midtown was especially hard hit. The clean up seemed to go on forever.

I wasn’t doing too many photos back then, and I didn’t photograph anything during that day or the following day.  One memory that stands out is getting back home (very little damage to my trees)  after the ice was gone and finding pine needles standing in my yard in little holes.  Encrusted with ice they had fallen, driving themselves into the soft ground. As devastating as Hurricane Elvis was in 2004,  the ice storm was much more eerie, and I will never forget the slow, crackles of the limbs breaking away and falling.

Were you in Memphis in 1994?  What are your memories of the Ice Storm?