Vanishing Memphis Landmarks

Three things that Memphis known for are being the home of Elvis Presley, being the city in which Martin Luther King, Jr died. and being one of the nation’s top three roughest cities.

Remembering from whence it came, Neighborhood Preservation, Inc. strives to reclaim Memphis’s world-changing heritage before it vanishes, one building at a time.

It is beginning with Clayborn Temple. Clayborn Temple is not only one of the oldest buildings in Memphis but it also carries the historical significance of being the gathering point of the last Civil Rights march Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ever led.

 

Beginning in February 1968, each day at noon, sanitation workers would gather at Clayborn Temple to march downtown in protest to working conditions and salaries.

 

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Original stained glass window that graces the front of the church. 

 

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It is during one of those marches to downtown Memphis,  Rev. James Lawson proclaimed, “For at the heart of racism is the idea that a man is not a man, that a person is not a person. You are human beings. You are men. You deserve dignity.”

 

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                  Gathering of sanitation workers and supporters outside of Clayborn Temple.                           Photo credit: Abandoned Southeast 

 

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This banner which hangs from the balcony expresses the legacy of Clayborn Temple, to worship and to save 

 

 

 

 

Clayborn Temple is a piece of heritage that Memphis cannot allow to vanish.

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Shelby Farms Park

Yay! It’s summer break! Time to load up the kids and go to Memphis!

My kids love to play at Shelby Farms Park‘s playground.  There is so much to do, and every year they add more features.

The playground is divided into three sections. The first section is for younger kids and has a water and sand feature. The slides are awesome.

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The second section is all about swings and teeter totters. My kids love the balancing swing.

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The third part of the playground is all about the tree house nest.

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The kids have to balance on the net as they crawl up to the tree house nest. The net begins close to the ground and gets higher the closer they get to the tree house. My kids like the challenge, and it’s a good work out for them, too.

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Shelby Farms Park’s playground also has a dog park close by, so all members can enjoy the park together. It also has walking trails, boating, and horseback riding. Check out all you can do by clicking here.

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There is always something to do around the Memphis area that doesn’t break the bank and is safe. The kids and I already have plans to bike some of their trails, rent some paddle boats, and go see the buffalo.

 

 

Strawberry Moon and Summer Solstice

On June 20, 2016, something very historic happened. June’s full moon (dubbed the Strawberry Moon by the Algonquin tribe because it signaled when to harvest the wonderfully red, juicy fruit) appeared on the same day as summer solstice, the longest day of the year.

This hasn’t happened in over 70 years.

This will not happen again until 2094.

This most definitely was a once in a lifetime chance for both my kids and me, and we got to experience it together.

It started out hiding behind the clouds.

From time to time over the next 15 minutes the silvery devil would peek through.

The kids and their friends joined me on the curb. They will not experience this again until they are in their 80s and with their grandchildren.

And then there it was, big and beautiful and historic!

I love my life in Tennessee.

Our very first Grizzlies game.

My children play basketball in a church league. Every year, the league gets discount tickets to a Memphis Grizzlies game. We opted out the last few years because we couldn’t get them to sit still during a 90 minute Pixar movie, so we knew there was no chance of them sitting through an entire NBA game.

We decided to try it this year, and we were glad we did. It was a lot of fun, and the kids enjoyed themselves, too.

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We were in the nosebleed section. Probably one of the reasons the tickets were so cheap.

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Wee Beasty with his Grizz (Build A Bear).

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Some action shots as experienced from the nosebleed section.

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Free throw shots. I was astounded at how many free throws an NBA player misses. I was 100% my senior year in high school. My coach made us run wind sprints until we puked if we missed free throws. Food for thought, NBA.

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A non-action shot as experienced from the nosebleed section.

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Dude! Sit down! It’s hard enough to see from up here without you blocking my view.

And for a special treat, we stayed for the after-game show.

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Bishop Hezekiah Walker! We moved closer to the court, but not much closer. The kids fell asleep, but Momma was jammin’!

 

Graceland

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I finally caved.

I’ve lived in the Memphis area for four years and  have managed to dodge the Graceland bullet, until this past weekend.  My brother was in town for his job. He wanted to tour it, so I took him. Being an Elvis fan (and a total motorhead), Dave had a great time, and I got to spend some quality time with my big brother.

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Dave, my brother

I made Dave stand in front of Graceland Mansion so I could snap evidence that he was actually here.  He hates getting his picture taken and was counting down the 5 seconds he gave me to snap the shot before he walked off.  What a funny old grump he is!

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Peacock stained glass windows in Graceland’s living room.

The matching peacock stained glass windows in the living room of the mansion are by far the prettiest architectural feature in the entire house. I wanted to get a close shot of one of the peacocks to show the details, but sadly, I snapped the picture before my phone had time to focus properly.

Photo credit: ElvisBlog.net

Looking through the living room into the piano room, this picture shows the stained glass in all it’s brilliance.

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The navy and yellow room

The navy and yellow room is one of several gathering spaces in the mansion. It’s pillowy couch and matching arm chairs are friendly and inviting.  The white monkey on the glass table provides a touch of the creepy.

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The Billiard Room

I wanted to give readers a upclose look at the pleated paisley fabric that covers the Billiard Room from ceiling to floor.  The fabric is gathered to the center of the ceiling and affixed with a huge button of the same fabric.

The inscription, written by his father, is very touching.

The Trophy Room

Pictured above are trophies of Elvis’s first records recorded at Sun Studio in Memphis.  Down the long corridor lined with awards extolling his virtues as a musical giant and caring humanitarian, the exhibits past the bend to the left were, in my opinion, the most important because it showed the great influence Elvis had on every genre of music. In class cases that line the walls hung memorabilia that other artists sent to Graceland with written testimonies of how Elvis and his music influenced them. It made me wonder if I too will one day have good things said about me. Am I having even a small impact on my part of the world?

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My big bro, Dave. He doesn’t like to have his picture taken, so I have to be fast!

The whole reason I’m at Graceland: to see Dave smile. Yes, that is his smile. He is explaining what type of motorcycles are on the bottom left of the “Paramount” picture on the wall. He was head-over-heels happy once we made it to Elvis’s car museum.

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Elvis’s turquoise Cadillac that sits outside his car museum across from Graceland Mansion.

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Elvis’s 1961 Rolls Royce Phantom

According to the self-guided tour, Elvis bought the Rolls Royce after signing a major record deal.  He brought it home and gave it to his mother.  The paint was continually damaged because his mother’s chickens would peck at their reflections.  Apparently, he had to repaint it four or five times.

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1961 Rolls Royce Phantom

I asked Dave what was the big deal about white wall tires back in the day.  Dave’s answer was very simple: “Because with all black tires that car would look like shit.”

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Elvis’s plane

We both felt a little creepy walking through Elvis’s plane.  It seemed such a personal space, especially the bedroom located at the rear of the plane.  I didn’t like the idea that he had slept there.  It gave me the heebie jeebies.

Although I drug my feet about going to Graceland, and even made fun of people for traveling the world to visit it, I did enjoy it.  I was surprised at how small it is given todays standards of living.  I was glad that I went, and Dave went home with a smile on his face, which made me even happier.