Memphis

Music to accompany this page:
Walking in Memphis, by Marc Cohn


Memphis was founded in 1819 by John Overton, James Winchester, and Andrew "Old Hickory" Jackson. The city quickly grew and by the 1840's it was the sixth Memphis Skylinelargest city in the South, with a population of 50,000. Devastation fell upon the city in the 1870's when the yellow fever epidemic killed over 5,000 citizens, and sent another 25,000 fleeing to safer towns. The city was forced into bankruptcy, and across the country it was suggested that Memphis be abandoned and burned. A silent strength brewed throughout the city, and by 1900, it was once again prosperous, this time as a hardware and lumber source. The new century brought new titles to Memphis as the "Home of the Blues" and the "Birthplace of Rock & Roll", due to the contributions of Beale Street and Elvis Presley.

Graceland has become synonymous with Memphis with people around the world. Elvis Presley purchased the mansion in 1957, just three years after Graceland Mansionrecording his first record for Sun Studios. This remained his home for next 20 years, until his death. Today, tours are available of the estate, including his collection of twenty-two cars and motorcycles, housed on a landscaped "highway." His two airplanes, the Hound Dog II, a small lockheed JetStar, and the Lisa Marie, a larger customized jet, named after his daughter, are open for viewing. Most visitors come to Graceland to tour the mansion, and see the famous Jungle room, the trophy building, and the final resting place of Elvis and his parents.

Mud Island River Park is a tribute to the Mississippi River, which Memphis Mississippi River Walkborders. The Riverwalk is a 5 block long replica of the river, from Cairo, IL to New Orleans, LA, with each 30 foot length equaling to one mile. Cities and historical events are mapped along the "shores" of the river, as it twists and turns. Over 800,000 of water are flowing through the river continuously, emptying into a one-acre "Gulf of Mexico" pool. In the middle of the island The Memphis Bellestands the Mississippi River Museum, consisting of 18 galleries and a full-scale reproduction of an 1870's era steamboat. On the far end of the island, rests the Memphis Belle, the first B-17 bomber to complete 25 missions over Nazi-occupied territory, and return to the United States, without the death of any of the crew. Citizens of Memphis rescued the plane from an airplane graveyard, and through hard work and diligence, have restored and moved it to Mud Island, to be enjoyed by thousands annually.

In 1906, the City of Memphis allocated funds for the erection of a zoo, after a petition was presented by Col. Robert Hatch, who was looking for a home for a Memphis Zoosouthern black bear, that served as mascot of the Memphis Turtles baseball team. Over 90 years later, the Memphis Zoo continues to grow, having recently completed a tremendous renovation that included a new Egyptian style front gate, permanent housing for tigers, lions and large cats in Cat Canyon, a Primate Canyon, Farm, Animals of the Night, and a specialized study in the animals of Madagascar. A welcome to the new century will be the Northwest Passage - a natural habitat exhibit to be home to animals native to the arctic and frozen tundra, without cages or bars.

Memphis derives it's name from the town located along the Nile River, in Egypt. Located along the United States own "Nile", the city has been home it's The Pyramidown "King," and rising up from the shores of the river, is The Pyramid. It rises up thirty-two stories and the width base is equivalent to six football fields. A replica of a statue of Ramesses The Great stands in front of the Pyramid, facing the direction of the rising sun. The Pyramid is used primarily for hosting basketball events, and has been nicknamed the "Tomb of Doom" by local sports enthusiasts. Concerts and cultural events are held at the Pyramid, including the recent exhibitions on the Titanic, the Incas, and look at World War II through a Russians perspective.

Memphis continued...



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