The Legacy of the Lorraine

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The National Civil Rights Museum had its humble beginnings as a 16 room hotel named The Windsorlorrine in 1925. After purchasing the hotel on 1945, Walter Bailey changed the name to the Lorraine Motel. After the King assassination, the hotel fell into disrepair and was in foreclosure in December 1982. It was purchased on the courthouse steps for $144,000 and finally closed as a functioning hotel/boarding house on March 2, 1988. It reopened in 1991 as The National Civil Rights Museum. With interactive exhibits, this museum is a learning experience for all ages. The museum is open from 9-6 every day but Tuesday. Tennessee residents with a state-issued ID may visit the museum for FREE every Monday from 3pm until closing. To read more about the museum click on the link below.
https://www.civilrightsmuseum.org/

 

Self-Care Sunday…Different and Blessed

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If you are like most people, myself included different scares you.  Different job, different route to work, different topping on your pizza, it doesn’t matter how big or how small the difference is, there is some degree of comfort in sameness. But I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that some of my biggest blessings have come from the times when I have taken the different path, made a decision that was out of my comfort zone and embraced the chance to be, well, to be different.  That is the time when different moves out of the uncomfortable and scary and into the exciting and blessed.  If I were to ask you for a picture of your friend group, your tribe, the ones that you get into the trenches with and do life alongside, what would that picture look like?  For a big part of my life, my picture looked a whole lot like me, very little difference at all.  But my life took a big turn about 7 years ago, a completely different way than I ever expected.  And with that new way came the chance to see situations, circumstances and people with fresh eyes.  God pushed me out of my comfort zone and taught me so much during this time.  And my life has been enriched in ways I could never have imagined in the process.  When we intentionally seek out people who are different than we are, who have different points of view, different life experiences and challenges, whose family structure may look different from our own, our lives become more colorful and vibrant.  And we often learn that people who seem so different than us on the outside are actually kindred spirits on the inside…and that is when the blessing occurs.  So look for ways this week to embrace different and watch your life explode with color, just like the flowers of spring!  Happy Sunday!

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4-Way

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The Four Way Restaurant was opened in 1946 by Irene and Clint Cleaves. Clint Cleaves had been a chauffeur for former Memphis Mayor E. H. Crump and started the restaurant as a tiny counter in a pool hall. It grew to have a full dining room and became one of the few places during the 50’s and 60’s where both black and white customers sat together to eat. It was a favorite spot among civil rights activist during this time. Irene ran the restaurant herself until her health and age made it impossible in 1996. The restaurant was then closed until 2001 when it was bought by Willie Bates on the courthouse steps and ran it until his death in 2017. His daughter Patricia Thompson runs it today with the same amazing food and history that put it on the map in 1946. The see a menu and hours click on the link below.
http://www.fourwaymemphis.com/

 

Davie’s Plantation

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.Located at 9336 Davies Plantation Rd in Bartlett TN, Davies Manor is the oldest existing home in Shelby County and quite possibly the oldest in West Tennessee. Built somewhere around 1830 the original owner is not for certain. We do know that William Davies bought the home in 1838 and his two sons Logan and James farmed the land and created the plantation part of Davies Plantation by expanding the farm to 2,000 acres. Ellen Davies-Rogers left the home to the Davies Manor Association upon her death in 1994. There are several outbuilding that’s make up the grounds including a small tenant cabin. There are also several gardens on the property that are maintained by Memphis Area Master Gardeners that help explain some of the aspects of pioneer life including a kitchen garden and a herb Garden. The home and grounds are open for tours Tuesday thru Saturday from 12-4. Admission is $5 for adults $4 for seniors and $3 for students. To read more about this historic home, please click on the link below.
http://daviesmanorplantation.org/

Elmwood Cemetery….Your History Lesson Awaits

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I am guessing when you think of fun things to do in Memphis, visiting a cemetery isn’t something that you think of…that is unless you have been to Elmwood! Established in 1852 and placed on the National Register of historic places in March of 2002 it has become the final resting place to over 75,000 inhabitants including mayors, governors, madams, blues singers, suffragists, martyrs, generals, civil rights leaders, holy men and women, outlaws and millionaires, paupers and slaves. It is Memphis’ oldest active cemetery. They have guided tours throughout the year and an audio car tour is available to rent anytime. It is an amazing history lesson to both young and old alike. So check it out on the link below…it is truly a beautiful adventure!!
http://www.elmwoodcemetery.org/

Explore..It’s Good For the Soul!

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 Although it might just be the turning of a calendar page, Januarys seem to be so much more than that. New beginnings, clean slates, fresh starts, who doesn’t love phrases like that?  So how about you?  Have you made any resolutions for the coming year?  Perhaps you have significant changes looming on the horizon.  Maybe a job change, a marriage and starting a family. Perhaps you are on the other side of this with retirement, empty-nesting, and downsizing.   But I would also like to present you with a challenge.  How about resolving to explore your community this year?  To truly find out about the fantastic city you live in; the history, the people, the architecture, the local shops and restaurants, the parks and trails, the music….all the beautiful things that make Memphis and the surrounding suburbs so incredible. If this sounds like an adventure you would like to embark on, I can help!  I love my city and many times use this blog and my social media pages to bring attention to many of the incredible events and opportunities offered.  I will also be reviewing local shops and restaurants in the coming months to bring attention to the talent and creativity the area has to offer.  This is where you, the reader, play a part in all of this.  If you see a business you would like to know more about or think others need to know about, let me know.  Know about an event or celebration going on in your community…drop me a line so I can share it with others.  Know of an individual that is doing something amazing and making a difference, let me know. We all know how fast bad news can travel, let’s prove good news can travel twice as fast!   Now, on to some January adventures….

  • Inspire Community Cafe 510 Tillman Street Suite 110 (Sam Cooper @Tillman)-I truly can’t say enough good things about this place!  They offer a fantastic menu of breakfast, lunch or dinner items, provide an environment of love and acceptance, pay all their employees a living wage and give 10% of net profits back to the community…that is a win/win if I’ve ever seen one!!  Check out the link above and give them a try….you will not be disappointed!
  • January 15-January 20 the Orpheum host the musical hit Waitress.
  • January 18th-February Theater Memphis will host Harper Lee’s timeless novel To Kill a Mockingbird
  • If you are looking for something of a more adult nature, January 18th from 6:30-9:30 The Pink Palace will be hosting the 6th annual Science of Beer
  • Was getting more exercise and enjoying the outdoors part of your New Year’s goals?  If so the Wolf River 5k race is for you!  It will take place on January 19th at 8 am at Wolf River Greenway Trail Head on Humphries Blvd.  Proceeds will benefit the Wolf River Conservancy
  • And finally, one of my favorite days in the 901…MLK Days of Service.  This year there will be events taking place throughout the city January 18-January 21st.  This is a wonderful opportunity to give back to our city and serve alongside your family and friends.  Opportunities are child-friendly and show them that one person can make a difference.  I will cover this in more detail next week, but for now, check out this link for a more detailed listing of ways to get involved.

So get out there, explore your community and share with us, and your family and friends what a great place the 901 truly is!!

Lansky Brothers

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Lansky Brothers is known as The Clothier to the King…and for a good reason. Bernard Lansky, whose father loaned he and his brother $125 to start a store at 126 Beale in 1946, likes to say “I put his first suit on him and I put his last suit on him.” This, of course, referring to Bernard’s 25-year friendship with the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley. Lansky Brothers is now run by Hal Lansky, son of the late Bernard Lansky who passed away in 2012 at the age of 85. The original store located on Beale reopened in 2014, three years after the unveiling of the historical marker in front of the building that tells the story of the Lansky brothers role in music after World War II. The 1,700 square foot store includes memorabilia from the 72 years the store has operated in Memphis. This store along with the three stores located in the historic Peabody Hotel tells the story of Memphis music in a way that only Mr. Lansky could tell it. While you are shopping, check out the fantastic children’s book by Bernard’s granddaughter Julie Lansky “Come On In, Young Man.” This book, co-written with her father Hal Lansky tells the story of the family’s friendship with Elvis. The Lansky’s Brothers website is an excellent resource full of history and photos, plus some examples of their unique clothing lines that you can buy online, but, if at all possible, you need to make a trip to downtown Memphis and see Lansky’s in person…you won’t regret it!!

Bird’s Eye View…

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Did you know from 1959 thru 1970 Mud Island was a one runway airport?? Mud Island as we know it today opened in 1982. The River Museum was closed this summer as they plan for the next phase of the park’s history, but the scaled replica of The Mississippi River is still rolling right along!! If you have never seen this model, you need to go! This hydrologic model shows the river from Cairo Missouri and empties into one acre ”Gulf of Mexico ” that holds a whopping 1.3 million gallons of water(Bud Boogie Beach to old-time Memphians😊). Plus, as an added bonus, has some of the best views of the city’s skyline..one might say a bird’s eye view 😊

Beginning To Look a Little Like…

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The Town of Collierville came together last night for its 18th annual Christmas tree lighting. The festivities kicked off at 5:30 pm with over 210 gallons of hot chocolate being served by Board of Mayor and Aldermen.  As the crowds grew, they were treated to a selection of beautiful Christmas music performed by Tara Oaks Elementary School, Crosswinds Elementary School, West Collierville Middle School, and Collierville High School.  The stage was then turned over to the Germantown Baptist Church Jazz band.  As anticipation grew, Mayor Stan Joyner announced that Santa and Mrs. Claus had arrived in Collierville and were being escorted to the tree lighting by the Collierville Fire Department.  With his words still hanging in the air, the sound of the fire truck siren could be heard in the background to the delight of young and old alike.  As Mr. and Mrs. Claus made their way up to the stage, the countdown began. 

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And just like that, the Christmas season was officially underway.  As the Collierville United Methodist Church’s Handbells rounded out the musical portion of the tree lighting, all the good boys and girls of Collierville lined up for a chance to talk to Santa in the gazebo which was decked out in all its Christmas splendor.  Other chose to stroll around the square admiring all the beautiful lights and decorations.  This is the first year the town has used LED lights, and the effect was breathtaking.  With over 125,000 pure white lights adorning the surrounding greenery and railing, and, for the first time ever, over 500 white lights adorned the Executive Train Car.  The 30-foot cedar tree that has been used for the town’s Christmas centerpiece for over 20 years also got in on the LED action with 400 colored lights being added bringing to total light count to 4,500.  Each year, town crews spend over 3 days attaching lights and decorations to the tree and have been hard at work since the first of November decorating the rest of the square. 

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A new addition this year is an 18 foot Christmas tree placed at the corner of North Rowlett and Main.  This tree is covered with over 1,100 RGB lights in addition to the traditional red and green ornaments and is programmed to create animated light shows that are coordinated with Christmas music. 

With many of the shops on the square getting into the spirit of the season with shop windows decorated in their Christmas best, make sure Collierville Town Square is on your list of places to visit this Holiday Season.

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The Orpheum

29D4498D-F2D0-48AD-98C9-6C03EB5C14BADid you know the Orpheum theater was almost demolished in 1976?? The original structure, called The Grand Opera House, was built in 1890. It became known as the Orpheum in 1907 and was home of some of the finest Vaudeville acts in the south. This building burned to the ground in the famous fire of 1923. In 1928 it was rebuilt and reopened with much fanfare. The new building was twice the size of the original and built to show both live performances and silent movies. The building was purchased by M. A. Lightman for only $75,000 in 1940 and begin its run as a first-run movie theater. After over 30 years as a theater, the Orpheum showed its final film in 1976. Malco sold the building and plans were made to demolish it in favor of office space. Luckily, a group of concerned Memphis citizens formed the Memphis Development Foundation and purchased this treasure off the courthouse steps a year later. It was one of the first buildings in Memphis to be added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. The grand theater reopen in January 1984 and in the last 34 years has presented more Broadway touring productions on average than any other theater in the United States.  Another good Memphis save!