WTHS May Meeting – Batter Up!

Monday May 5, 7 pm

Longtime friends and fellow Metro Stats Crew operatives, John “JJ” Guinozzo and Jimmy Ogle present more than fifty-years of Memphis Baseball History.

minorleague_nohitter_taken_away_two_days_after_factThis past year the Memphis Amateur Sports Hall Of Fame inducted Mr. Guinozzo into its hallowed halls at a banquet held at the Hilton Hotel.  He has been a 50+ year supporter from the sidelines for professional, amateur and prep sports in Memphis and Shelby County.  He is one of the originators of the “Best of Preps” program of The Commercial Appeal in 1969, official scorer for the Memphis Blues, Memphis Chicks and Memphis Redbirds since 1971, on various University of Memphis Stat Crews since the early 1970s, Memphis Grizzlies official scorer, and has served in the stat crews of numerous professional football and basketball teams over the years, including the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.  He has also worked in the Media Room of the FedEx St. Jude Memphis Classic for many years. In addition he continues to updates his “Memphis Baseball Encyclopedia” with facts & figures, classic photos & trivia, and the general history of Memphis’ legacy and continuing presence in the Great American Pastime.

73eb3556275784df92d4809abf933e6fJimmy Ogle is well known to history lovers of Memphis and visitors to our city. Newly appointed as Shelby County Historian, he also serves as chairman of the Shelby County Historical Commission, Davies Manor Association board president, and as a board member on many other organizations including WTHS. Unselfish with his time and knowledge, spring and summer finds him conducting walking tours through the Memphis downtown area, free to the public. His eclectic repertoire includes a tour of man-hole covers that reveal an amazing history of time and industry. His accolades are many and include the Ellen Davies Rodgers Award from the Shelby County Historical Commission in 2013. Visit Jimmy Ogle Talks and Tours at http://jimmyogle.com/main.htm and join him on a tour.

Don’t miss this meeting, it should be a home run!

Monday May 5, 7 pm at Memphis University School in the Wunderlich Auditorium. Enter campus from Park Avenue and follow the WTHS signs.

New Exhibit at the Mud Island Mississippi River Museum

Proud Memphis: Founded On the River, Built On Cotton

The Butcher Shop Restaurant opened in Downtown Memphis at 101 South Front Street in 1981. Jimmy Ogle and Capt. Jake Meanley (1948-2000) of the Memphis Queen Line were long time customers and often admired the large paintings of various Memphis riverfront and Downtown scenes that graced the walls.

After The Butcher Shop closed in 2012, Mr. Ogle purchased 21 paintings, 15 of which are on display in this exhibit, that had hung on the restaurant’s walls. Many of the paintings are of Memphis Riverfront scenes – the Mississippi River, Cobblestone Wharf or Cotton, and even a couple – Peabody Ducks & W.C. Handy Statue, were included.

river mseum exhibitDuring the Spring 2014 term, Rhodes College student, Dale Hutcherson interned at the Mississippi River Museum, and agreed to tackle the task of an unusual “term paper”, that of curating his own public museum exhibit. Dale has cleaned the paintings, completed research on the paintings and titled each painting, wrote the text panels, developed the flow and hung the paintings, and even positioned the lighting.

Dale, a junior at Rhodes College, will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History next May. As part of his studies he has conducted research on the Sultana Riverboat explosion and the Battle of Fort Pillow, with which he assisted in researching for and co-directing a film. He is an elected Senator of Rhodes Student Government for the Class of 2015, a member of Rhodes Activities Board, Alpha Tau Omega, and serves the Alpha Tau Chapter at Rhodes as an Executive Officer as Chaplain and sits on the Judicial Board. As wide receiver on the Rhodes College varsity, he contributed to the Rhodes Lynx winning the 2013 SAA Conference Football Championship. Dale works for Rhodes College Athletics as a radio/webcast color commentator for Rhodes College Men’s Basketball and is the Fitness Room Supervisor at the Bryan Campus Life Center on.

The exhibit runs now until the end of April and back in June – August.

WestTAM Quarterly Meeting to be held at the Veterans Museum, 100 Veterans Drive, Halls, TN, Friday April 25 at 10am.

The meeting and luncheon will be held in the most recently constructed building, which is to the left of the Museum as you drive into the Museum compound.  A group tour will begin a little after 10. “Rosie the Riveter” and a “nurse” will serve lunch at the museum for $10 per person. Please RSVP to Pat at 731-836-7400 by Monday, April 21    Public is invited!

WestTam is an association of museums of West Tennessee sharing their attractions, events and activities.


Shelby County History Festival – Sunday April 27 – Noon – 5 pm

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The Shelby County Historical Festival will be held at Hillwood Hall at Davies Manor. Sunday April 27, 2014 Noon to 5 pm

This is Free and Open to the Public.

imageHappening within walking distance is a two day event April 26, 9 am – 5 pm and April 27, 9 am – 3 pm, Tennessee on the Brink.An 1860 living history event – This event revolves around a small town near Memphis in late April – early May of 1861, a time when Tennessee would decide the question of secession. Admission $8 each day or 2 day pass – $12.

Election of The West Tennessee Historical Society Board of Directors Officers will be held at the WTHS May Meeting

The following is the slate of proposed officers for the WTHS board. There were no additions by nominations from the floor at the WTHS April meeting. Election will take place at the WTHS May Meeting Monday, May 5 @ 7 pm.

elections-ahead-sign-600x400President – Ed Frank

Vice President West Tennessee – Linda Higgins

Vice President At Large – Larry Gundersen

Vice President Shelby County – Jimmy Ogle

Treasurer – Mike Freeman

Assistant Treasurer – Curt Fields

Recording Secretary – Jennifer Schnabel


Bemis Mill in Jackson TN faces demolition

bildeBemis Mill in Jackson TN faces demolition. – Cotton mill town named Bemis constructed in 1900. Efforts by citizens to save the historic Bemis Mill have taken many forms including a protest rally at the Museum that produced hundreds of signatures on petitions turned over the City Council of Jackson. The mill is listed on the National Historic Register. When placing the Bemis property that included the mill on the Local Historic Register, a survey was done. However before the application was submitted, the mill building was taken off by a city employee who determined it should be considered commercial property and not historical property. This was done without notification to the Bemis Historical Society. Jackson Mayor Jerry Gist and Christian Morton, a co-owner of Bemis Mill LLC, met early Wednesday, 4/2/2014, to discuss the fate of the Bemis Cotton Mill and what it would take to save the old building from deconstruction. After negotiation, it was decided that the city will have two weeks to find investors to buy the mill, or deconstruction will begin. Learn more about this historic landmark visit: http://www.bemishistory.org/


Shelby County Historian Appointed

Congratulations to Jimmy Ogle our new Shelby County Historian


Shelby County Commissioners on Monday March 24, 2014, selected Jimmy Ogle, chairman of the Shelby County Historical Commission, to serve as the county historian for the next six years. Mr. Ogle is a member of the West Tennessee Historical Society and serves on its board. The position of Shelby County Historian was vacant with the passing of Ed Williams last September.  Ed had succeeded Ellen Davies-Rodgers as only the second County Historian in the history of Shelby County.


Historical Marker Dedicated at Beale Street Landing

Beale Street Landing, downtown Memphis, is the home for a historical marker that honors two places. The following is the text for  the marker.


astor 002In the earliest days of Memphis, the Astoria Fur Company built a trading post at the top of the bluff near Beale Street.  By 1823, when westward exploration drew commerce across the Mississippi River, the trading post likewise moved west. The land and building were given to the city.  The land, which extended to the river’s edge, remained undeveloped and later newspaper accounts reported that the river was gradually eroding the property.  When Riverside Drive was created in the 1930’s this eroded land lay between Beale and Linden Avenue to the south and was only visible at low water.  In   1936 the city created an official park on the land at the foot of Beale and named it Astor Park in recognition of the original land gift. This small park was designed as a twin to Jefferson Davis Park on the north.  For many years thereafter rubble from city projects was added to raise the level of Astor Park, make it more usable, and protect the new Riverside Drive from further erosion.  The enlarged park area was dedicated to riverboat hero Tom Lee in 1954.



astor 003Before the completion of Riverside Drive in 1936 the cobblestones at the foot of Beale Street were home to several boat supply stores.  These stores, built on anchored barges, served countless vessels, passenger and freight, traveling the Mississippi River.  Supplies and groceries were sent by small boats into the river channel solving the problem of landing the larger vessels and allowing these vessels to continue their journey up or down the river unimpeded.

During the 1950’s, Italian immigrant Charles Garavelli became one of the principal boat supply store owners.   Garavelli, a founder of the WeOna grocery collective, traded both on land at WeOna #2 and on the river at Memphis Boat Supply.  His barge was anchored closest to the Astor Park site. Garavelli’s daughter, Angela Estelle Garavelli, married Vincent Finis Astor, of the Memphis Astor family.  Memphis Boat Supply continued in business until the early1960’s, and by the mid-1980’s all boat supply stores on the cobblestones had moved or closed.


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Angela Garavelli Astor and her son Vincent Astor

The dedication was held Friday March 28, 2014

Tennessee Preservation Trust Conference to be held in Germantown, TN

TPT_Logo smGermantown, Tennessee
May 1 – 3, 2014

Since 2000, the Tennessee Preservation Trust’s Statewide Preservation Conference has brought together heritage supporters from across the state for educational sessions, tours, and networking opportunities. The annual conference travels around the state and showcases the historic character of a different community each year. The 2014 conference will take place in Germantown, May 1 – 3.

More information on Conference events, speakers, and registration will be added as they are confirmed. Check the 2014 Program page for updates or go to our Registration Page to sign up now.

If you would like to support the Conference by being a Sponsor, please visit our Sponsor page to download information on how to become a Conference Sponsor.

Want to join the conversation and find out first the latest news on the conference? Like us on Facebook and share your thoughts with us. Be sure to visit the site again soon for registration information.

Are you a member? If not, you’re going to miss out on the discounted rate on registration. Help us protect Tennessee’s historic sites (and get the discounted rate!) by becoming a member today!


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