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—  City  —
Downtown Memphis from the southeast, with the Mississippi River in the background


Nickname(s): The River City, The Bluff City, M-Town
Location in Shelby County and the state of Tennessee
Memphis is located in the USA
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 35°07′03″N 89°58′16″W / 35.1175°N 89.97111°W / 35.1175; -89.97111
Country United States
State Tennessee
County Shelby
Founded 1819
Incorporated 1826
 - Mayor A C Wharton
 - City 313.8 sq mi (763.4 km2)
 - Land 302.3 sq mi (723.4 km2)
 - Water 15.4 sq mi (40.0 km2)
Elevation 337 ft (103 m)
Population (2008)[1]
 - City 669,651 (19th)
 Density 2,327.4/sq mi (898.6/km2)
 Metro 1,280,533
 - Demonym Memphian
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP Codes 37501, 37544, 38101, 38103-38109, 38111-38120, 38122, 38124-38128, 38130-38139, 38141, 38145, 38147-38148, 38150-38152, 38157, 38159, 38161, 38163, 38166-38168, 38173-38175, 38177, 38181-38182, 38184, 38186-38188, 38190, 38193-38194, 38197
Area code(s) 901
FIPS code 47-48000[2]
GNIS feature ID 1326388[3]

Memphis is a city in the southwest corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the 4th Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers.

Memphis has an estimated population of 669,651, making it the largest city in the state of Tennessee, the third largest in the Southeastern United States, and the 19th largest in the United States.[1] The greater Memphis metropolitan area, including adjacent counties in Mississippi and Arkansas, has a population of 1,280,533. This makes Memphis the second largest metropolitan area in Tennessee, surpassed only by metropolitan Nashville, which overtook Memphis in recent years. Memphis is the youngest of Tennessee's four major cities (traditionally including Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Nashville). A resident of Memphis is referred to as a Memphian and the Memphis region is known, particularly to media outlets, as the "Mid-South."




Early history

A Mississippian era priest (Digital illustration, 2004)

Because it occupies a substantial bluff rising from the Mississippi river bank, the area is a natural location for settlement. The Memphis area was first settled by the Mississippian Culture and then by the Chickasaw Indian tribe. European exploration came years later, with Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto and French explorers led by René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle.[4]

The land comprising present-day Memphis remained in a largely unorganized territory throughout most of the 18th century. By 1796, the community was the westernmost point of the newly admitted state of Tennessee, located in the Southwest United States.

19th century

Memphis was founded in 1819 by John Overton, James Winchester and Andrew Jackson.[5][6] The city was named after the ancient capital of Egypt on the Nile River. Memphis developed as a transportation center in the 19th century because of its flood-free location, high above the Mississippi River.

As the cotton economy of the antebellum South depended on the forced labor of large numbers of African-American slaves, Memphis became a major slave market. In 1857, the Memphis and Charleston Railroad was completed, the only East-West railroad across the southern states prior to the Civil War.

Tennessee seceded from the Union in June 1861 and Memphis briefly became a Confederate stronghold. Union forces captured the city in the naval Battle of Memphis on June 6, 1862, and the city remained under Union control for the duration of the war. Memphis became a Union supply base and continued to prosper throughout the war. Meanwhile, Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest harassed Union forces in the area.

In the 1870s, a series of yellow fever epidemics hit the city. The worst outbreak, in 1878, reduced the population by nearly 75% as many people died or fled the city permanently. Property tax revenues collapsed, and the city could not make payments on its municipal debts. As a result, Memphis lost its city charter and became a taxing district, operating thus from 1878–1893 and was rechartered in 1893.[7]

20th century

Cotton merchants on Union Avenue (1937)

Memphis grew into the world's largest spot cotton market and the world's largest hardwood lumber market. Into the 1950s, it was the world's largest mule market.[8]

From the 1910s to the 1950s, Memphis was a hotbed of machine politics under the direction of E. H. "Boss" Crump. During the Crump era, Memphis developed an extensive network of parks and public works as part of the national City Beautiful Movement.

During the 1960s, the city was at the center of civil rights issues, notably the location of a sanitation workers' strike. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968 at the Lorraine Motel, the day after giving his prophetic I've Been to the Mountaintop speech at the Mason Temple.

Memphis is well known for its cultural contributions to the identity of the American south. Many renowned musicians grew up in and around the Memphis and Mississippi Delta.[9] These included such musical greats as Elvis Presley, Muddy Waters, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Robert Johnson, W.C. Handy, B.B. King, Howlin' Wolf, Isaac Hayes, Booker T. Jones, Al Green and Justin Timberlake.

Geography and climate

Skyline of Memphis as seen from the Hernando de Soto Bridge

Memphis is located in southwestern Tennessee at 35°7′3″N 89°58′16″W / 35.1175°N 89.97111°W / 35.1175; -89.97111.[10] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 313.8 sq mi (763.4 km²), of which 302.3 sq mi (723.4 km²) is land and 15.4 sq mi (40.0 km²), or 5.24%, is water.


Downtown Memphis rises from a bluff along the Mississippi River, and the city sprawls outward over southwest Tennessee and into northern Mississippi and eastern Arkansas. Several large parks are scattered through the city, notably Overton Park in Midtown. The city is a transportation hub and Mississippi River crossing for Interstate 40 (I-40), (east-west), Interstate 55 (north-south) and numerous freight railroads that serve the city.


Shelby County is located over four natural aquifers, one of which is recognized as the "Memphis sand aquifer" or simply as the "Memphis aquifer". This artesian water is pure and soft. This particular water source, located some 350 to 1100 ft (100 – 330 m) underground, is estimated to contain more than 100 trillion gallons (380 km³) of water by Memphis Light, Gas and Water.[11]


Memphis has a humid subtropical climate, with four distinct seasons. Winter weather comes from the upper Great Plains or from the Gulf of Mexico, leading to drastic swings. Summer weather may come from Texas (very hot and dry) or the Gulf (hot and humid.) The average high and low in July are 92 °F (33 °C) and 73 °F (23 °C), with high levels of humidity due to moisture encroaching from the Gulf of Mexico. Afternoon and evening thunderstorms are frequent during some summers, but usually brief, lasting no longer than an hour. Early autumn is pleasantly drier and mild, but can be hot until late October. Late autumn is rainy and colder; December is the second rainiest month of the year. Winters are mild to chilly, with average January high and low temperatures of 49 °F (9 °C) and 31 °F (-1 °C). Snow occurs sporadically in winter, with an average yearly snowfall of 5.1 inches (130 mm). Ice storms are a bigger danger, pulling tree limbs down on power lines.

Climate data for Memphis, TN
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 49
Average low °F (°C) 31
Precipitation inches (mm) 4.24
Snowfall inches (mm) 2.3
Source: The Weather Channel [12] January 2010
Source #2: [13] September 2009

People and culture


Historical populations
Year Pop.  %±
1850 8,841
1860 22,623 155.9%
1870 40,226 77.8%
1880 33,592 −16.5%
1890 64,495 92.0%
1900 102,320 58.6%
1910 131,105 28.1%
1920 162,351 23.8%
1930 253,143 55.9%
1940 292,942 15.7%
1950 396,000 35.2%
1960 497,524 25.6%
1970 623,530 25.3%
1980 646,356 3.7%
1990 610,337 −5.6%
2000 650,100 6.5%
2007 (Est.) 677,272 4.2%
2008 (Est.) 669,651 −1.1%
Source: "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. 

As of the 2005-2007 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, Blacks or African Americans made up 62.4% of Memphis's population; of which 99.9% were non-Hispanic blacks. White Americans made up 31.9% of Memphis's population; of which 98.3% were non-Hispanic whites. American Indians made up 0.2% of the city's population; of which 0.1% were non-Hispanic. Asian Americans made up 1.6% of the city's population. Pacific Islander Americans made up 0.1% of the city's population. Individuals from some other race made up 2.7% of the city's population; of which 0.2% were non-Hispanic. Individuals from two or more races made up 1.2% of the city's population; of which 0.9% were non-Hispanic. In addition, Hispanics and Latinos made up 4.6% of Memphis's population.[14][15]

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 650,100 people, 250,721 households, and 158,455 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,327.4 people per sq mi (898.6/km²). There were 271,552 housing units at an average density of 972.2 per sq mi (375.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 61.41% African American, 34.41% White, 1.46% Asian, 0.19% Native American, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.45% from other races, and 1.04% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.97% of the population.

The Memphis Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), the 42nd largest in the United States, has a 2003 population of 1,239,337, and includes the Tennessee counties of Shelby, Tipton, and Fayette, as well as the Mississippi counties of DeSoto, Marshall, Tate, and Tunica, and the Arkansas county of Crittenden.


Memphis Police car (2007)

Although in 2004 violent crime in Memphis reached a record low for over a decade, that trend subsequently reversed. In 2005, Memphis was ranked the 4th most dangerous city with a population of 500,000 or higher in the U.S.[16] Crime in Memphis increased in 2005, and has seen a dramatic rise in the first half of 2006. Nationally, cities follow similar trends, and crime numbers tend to be cyclical. Local experts and criminologists cite gang recruitment as one possible cause of the rise in crime in Memphis and to a reduction of 66% of federal funding to the Memphis Police Department.

In the first half of 2006, robbery of businesses increased 52.5%, robbery of individuals increased 28.5%, and homicide increased 18% over the same period of 2005. The Memphis Police Department has responded with the initiation of Operation Blue C.R.U.S.H. (Crime Reduction Using Statistical History), which targets crime hotspots and repeat offenders.[17] Memphis ended 2005 with 154 murders, and 2006 ended with 160. 2007 saw 164 murders and 2008 had 168. In 2006, the Memphis metropolitan area ranked second most dangerous in the nation, it also ranked as most dangerous in 2002 and second most dangerous the year before in 2001. Recently, Memphis ranked second most dangerous among cities over 500,000 in 2007, as well as the second most dangerous metropolitan area once again.[18] In 2006, the Memphis metropolitan area ranked number one in violent crimes for major cities around the U.S according to the FBI's annual crime rankings, whereas it had ranked second in 2005.[19]

Recent statistics show a downward trend in crime in Memphis. Between 2006 and 2008, the crime rate fell by 16%, while the first half of 2009 saw a reduction in serious crime of over 10% from the previous year. The Memphis Police Department's use of the FBI National Incident-Based Reporting System, which is a more detailed method of reporting crimes than that used in many other major cities, has been cited as a reason for Memphis's frequent appearance on lists of most dangerous U.S. cities.[20]

Cultural events

Memphis skyline, view from Tom Lee Park (2006)

One of the largest celebrations the city has is Memphis in May. The month-long series of events promotes Memphis' heritage and outreach of its people far beyond the city's borders. There are four main events, the Beale Street Music Festival, International Week, the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, and the Sunset Symphony. The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest is the largest pork barbecue cooking contest in the world.

Carnival Memphis, formerly known as the Memphis Cotton Carnival, is an annual series of parties and festivities in the month of June that salutes various aspects of Memphis and its industries. An annual King and Queen of Carnival are secretly selected to reign over Carnival activities. The African-American community staged a parallel event known as the Cotton Makers Jubilee from 1935 to 1982, when it merged with Carnival Memphis.[21]

An arts festival, the Cooper-Young Festival, is held annually in September in the Cooper-Young district of Midtown Memphis. The event draws artists from all over North America, and includes art sales, contests, and displays.

The arts

Memphis is the home of founders and establishers of various American music genres, including Blues, Gospel, Rock n' Roll, Buck, Crunk, and "sharecropper" country music (in contrast to the "rhinestone" country sound of Nashville). Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, and B. B. King were all getting their starts in Memphis in the 1950s. They are respectively dubbed the "King" of Country, Rock n' Roll, and Blues.

Well-known writers from Memphis include American Civil War historian Shelby Foote and playwright Tennessee Williams. Novelist John Grisham grew up in nearby DeSoto County, Mississippi and many of his books are set in Memphis.

Many works of fiction and literature use Memphis as their setting, giving a diverse portrait of the city, its history, and its citizens. These include The Reivers by William Faulkner (1962), September, September by Shelby Foote (1977), The Old Forest and Other Stories by Peter Taylor (1985), the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Summons to Memphis by Peter Taylor (1986), The Firm (1991) and The Client (1994), both by John Grisham, Memphis Afternoons: a Memoir by James Conaway (1993), "Plague of Dreamers" by Steve Stern (1997) Cassina Gambrel Was Missing by William Watkins (1999), The Guardian by Beecher Smith (1999), "We are Billion-Year-Old Carbon" by Corey Mesler (2005), The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris, and The Architect by James Williamson (2007).

Cultural references

Memphis is the subject of many major pop and country songs, including "Memphis" by Chuck Berry, "Queen of Memphis" by Confederate Railroad, "Memphis Soul Stew" by King Curtis, "Maybe It Was Memphis" by Pam Tillis, "Graceland" by Paul Simon, "Memphis Train" by Rufus Thomas, "All the Way from Memphis" by Mott the Hoople, "Wrong Side of Memphis" by Trisha Yearwood, and "Walking in Memphis" by Marc Cohn.

In addition, Memphis is mentioned in scores of other songs, including "Proud Mary" by Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Honky Tonk Women" by the Rolling Stones, "Life Is a Highway" by Tom Cochrane, "Black Velvet" by Alannah Myles, "Cities" by Talking Heads, "Crazed Country Rebel" by Hank Williams III, "Pride (In The Name Of Love)" by U2, and many others.


Asian-American tombstones in Elmwood Cemetery (2006)

Since its founding, Memphis has been home to persons of many different faiths. An 1870 map of Memphis shows religious buildings of the Baptist, Catholic, Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, Congregational, and Christian denominations and a Jewish congregation.[22] In 2009, places of worship exist for Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus.

Bellevue Baptist Church is a Southern Baptist megachurch in Memphis that was founded in 1903. Its current membership is approximately 27,000. For many years, it was led by Adrian Rogers, a three-term president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The international headquarters of the Church of God in Christ is located in Memphis. Named after the denomination's founder, Charles Harrison Mason, Mason Temple is where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech the day before he was killed. The church's Temple of Deliverance is the venue of the National Civil Rights Museum's Freedom Awards.

Other notable and/or large churches in Memphis include Second Presbyterian Church (EPC), Christ United Methodist Church, Idlewild Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), and Calvary Episcopal Church.

Memphis is home to two cathedrals. The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Memphis, and St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral is the seat of the Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee.

Memphis is home to an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 Muslims of various cultures and ethnicities.[23]

Memphis is home to Temple Israel, a Reform synagogue that has approximately 7,000 members, making it one of the largest Reform synagogues in the country. Baron Hirsch Synagogue is the largest Orthodox shul in America.[24]


The city's central location has led to much of its business development. Located on the Mississippi River and intersected by several freight railroads and two Interstate highways, Memphis is ideally located for commerce among the transportation and shipping industry. River barges are unloaded onto trucks and trains. The city is home to Memphis International Airport, the world's busiest cargo airport, which serves as the primary hub for FedEx Express shipping and as a secondary hub for Northwest Airlines.

Memphis is the home of nine Fortune 500 companies.[25] These include the corporate headquarters of FedEx Corporation, AutoZone Incorporated, International Paper, and Thomas & Betts. In addition, Memphis is home to the pharmaceutical/healthcare firm Schering-Plough Corporation, serving as the company's research & development center.

The entertainment and film industry have discovered Memphis in recent years. Several major motion pictures have been filmed in Memphis, including Making the Grade (1984), Mystery Train (1989), The Firm (1993), Cast Away (2000), Forty Shades of Blue (2005), Walk the Line (2005), Hustle and Flow (2006), Soul Men (2008), and The Blind Side (2009). The 1992 television movie Memphis, starring Memphis native Cybill Shepherd, who also served as executive producer and writer, was also filmed in Memphis.

In 2000 Inc. magazine rated Memphis in the top eight of the 50 best major U.S. metro areas for starting and growing a business.[26]


Memphis is governed by a mayor and thirteen City Council members, six elected at large from throughout the city and seven elected from geographic districts. In 1995, the council adopted a new district plan which changed council positions to all districts. This plan provides for nine districts, seven with one representative each and two districts with three representatives each. The previous mayor of the city of Memphis was W. W. Herenton. He resigned from his office, effective July 30, 2009.[27] Former Shelby County mayor A C Wharton is the newly elected Mayor.

In recent years, there have been often rancorous discussions of the potential of a consolidation of unincorporated Shelby County and Memphis into a metropolitan government. Consolidation is expected to be a referendum item on the 2010 ballot in Memphis and Shelby County.


Early nursing class in Memphis

The city is served by Memphis City Schools, while surrounding suburbs in other areas of Shelby County are served by Shelby County Schools.

Prominent Memphis City Schools include White Station High School, Ridgeway High School, Central High School, and Melrose High School. White Station is known for the best college placement of any school—public or private—in Memphis.

The Memphis area is home to many private, college-prep schools: Briarcrest Christian School (co-ed), Christian Brothers High School (boys), Evangelical Christian School (co-ed), Hutchison School (girls), Lausanne Collegiate School (co-ed), Memphis University School (boys), Saint Benedict at Auburndale (co-ed), St. George's Independent School (co-ed), and St. Mary's Episcopal School (girls).

Colleges and universities located in the city include the University of Memphis (a comprehensive state university), Rhodes College (formerly Southwestern at Memphis), Memphis College of Art, Le Moyne-Owen College, Crichton College, Christian Brothers University, Baptist College of Health Sciences (formerly Baptist Memorial Hospital School of Nursing), Southern College of Optometry, and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (Colleges of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Graduate Health Sciences and Allied Health Sciences).

The University of Tennessee College of Dentistry was founded in 1878 making it the oldest dental college in the South, and the third oldest public college of dentistry in the United States.[28]




The Interstate Highways, Interstate 40, Interstate 55, and Interstate 240, are the main expressways in the Memphis area. Interstates 40 and 55 cross the Mississippi River at Memphis into the state of Arkansas.

The nearly-completed Interstate 22 connects Memphis with Birmingham, Alabama, via northern Mississippi (incl. Tupelo) and northwestern Alabama. This expressway follows the same route as U.S. Route 78. Other important federal highways though Memphis include the east-west U.S. Route 70, U.S. Route 64, and U.S. Route 72; and the north-south U.S. Route 51 and U.S. Route 61, which is the historic highway north to Chicago via Cairo, Illinois.

The future Interstate 69 from northeast to southwest will pass through Memphis when it is completed. Segments of this highway are complete in DeSoto County, just south of Memphis. The segment of the I-69 Corridor running through the Memphis area is scheduled for completion in 2012.


A large volume of railroad freight moves through Memphis, because of its two heavy-duty Mississippi River railroad crossings, which carry several major east-west railroad freight lines, and also because of the major north-south railroad lines through Memphis which connnect Memphis with such major cities as Chicago, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Louisville, New Orleans, Dallas, Houston, Mobile, and Birmingham.

By the early 20th Century, Memphis had two major passenger railroad stations. After passenger railroad service declined heavily throughout the middle of the 20th Century, the Memphis Union Station was demolished in 1969. The Memphis Central Station[29] was eventually renovated and it still serves the city.

The only inter-city passenger railroad service to Memphis for many decades has been the daily "City of New Orleans" train, operated by AMTRAK, which has one train northbound and one train southbound each day between Chicago and New Orleans,


Memphis is served by the Memphis International Airport, located on the south side, which serves tens of thousands of passengers daily, including nonstop flights to western Europe. This airport also handles more air cargo than any other airport in the world, due to being a central hub for such companies as FedEx Express and United Parcel Service.

Passenger airlines serving Memphis International Airport include Continental, Delta, and SeaPort Airlines.

There are other general aviation airports in Shelby County and nearby counties, and a former Naval Air Station at Millington, which is now the Millington Regional Jetport for business jets and propeller-driven airplanes.

River port

Three bridges over the Mississippi (2007)

Memphis has the second-busiest cargo port on the Mississippi River, which is also the fourth-busiest inland port in the United States.[30] The International Port of Memphis covers both the Tennessee and Arkansas sides of the Mississippi River from river mile 725 (km 1167) to mile 740 (km 1191).[31] A focal point of the river port is the industrial park on President's Island, just south of Downtown Memphis.


Four railroad and highway bridges cross the Mississippi River at Memphis. In order of their opening years, these are the Frisco Bridge (1892, single-track rail), the Harahan Bridge (1916, a road-rail bridge until 1949, currently carries double-track rail), the Memphis-Arkansas Memorial Bridge (Highway, 1949; later incorporated into Interstate 55), and the Hernando de Soto Bridge (Interstate 40, 1973).


Memphis's primary utility provider is the Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division (MLGW). This is the largest three-service municipal utility in the United States, providing electricity, natural gas, and pure water service to all residents of Shelby County. Prior to that, Memphis was served by two primary electric companies, which were merged into the Memphis Power Company. The City of Memphis bought the private company in 1939 to form MLGW, which was an early customer of electricity from the Tennessee Valley Authority.

MLGW still buys most of its power from TVA, and the company pumps its own fresh water from the "Memphis Aquifer", using more than 180 water wells.

Health care

The Memphis and Shelby County region supports numerous hospitals, including the Methodist and Baptist Memorial health systems, two of the largest private hospitals in the country.

Methodist Healthcare system, the largest healthcare provider in the Mid-South, operates seven hospitals and several rural clinics. Modern Healthcare magazine ranked Methodist Healthcare in the top 100 integrated healthcare networks in the United States. Methodist Healthcare operates, among others, the Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center, which offers primary level 1 pediatric trauma care, as well as a nationally recognized pediatric brain tumor program.

Baptist Memorial Healthcare operates fifteen hospitals (three in Memphis), including Baptist Memorial Hospital. According to Health Care Market Guide's annual studies, Mid-Southerners have named Baptist Memorial their "preferred hospital choice for quality".

The St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, leading pediatric treatment and research facility focused on children's catastrophic diseases, resides in Memphis. The institution was conceived and built by the late entertainer Danny Thomas in 1962 as a tribute to St. Jude Thaddeus, patron saint of impossible, hopeless, and difficult causes.

Tourism and recreation

Museums and art collections

Many museums of interest are located in Memphis.

Lorraine Motel in Memphis (2005)
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art in Memphis (2008)

National Civil Rights Museum
The National Civil Rights Museum is located in the former Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. It includes a historical overview of the American civil rights movement.

Brooks Museum of Art
The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, founded in 1916, is the oldest and largest fine art museum in the state of Tennessee.[32] The Brooks' permanent collection includes works from the Italian Renaissance and Baroque eras to British, French Impressionists, and 20th-century artists.

Graceland, the former home of Rock 'n' Roll legend Elvis Presley, is one of the most visited houses in the United States (second only to the White House), attracting over 600,000 domestic and international visitors a year. Featured at Graceland are two of Presley's private airplanes, his extensive automobile and motorcycle collection and other Elvis memorabilia. On November 7, 1991 Graceland was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.[33]

Pink Palace
The Pink Palace Museum serves as the Mid-South's major science and historical museum, and features exhibits ranging from archeology to chemistry. It includes America's third largest planetarium and an IMAX Theatre. One exhibit features a replica of the original Piggly Wiggly store, the first self-service grocery store, commemorating the invention of the supermarket by Memphian Clarence Saunders in 1916.

Memphis Walk of Fame
The Memphis Walk of Fame is a public exhibit located in the Beale Street historic district, which is modeled after the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but is designated exclusively for Memphis musicians, singers, writers, and composers. Honorees include W. C. Handy, B. B. King, Bobby Blue Bland, and Alberta Hunter among others.

Mud Island Mississippi River Park (2006)

Mud Island River Park
Mud Island River Park and Mississippi River Museum is located on Mud Island in downtown Memphis. The Park is noted for its River Walk. The River walk is a 2112:1 scale working model showing 1000 mi (1600 km) of the Lower Mississippi River, from Cairo, Illinois to New Orleans, Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico. 30 in (75 cm) in the model equal 1 mi (1.6 km) of the Mississippi River. The Walk stretches roughly 0.5 mi (800 m), allowing visitors to walk in the water and see models of cities and bridges along the way.

Victorian Village
Victorian Village is a historic district of Memphis featuring a series of fine Victorian-era mansions, some of which are open to the public as museums.

Cotton Museum
The Cotton Museum is a museum that opened in March 2006 on the old trading floor of the Memphis Cotton Exchange at 65 Union Avenue in downtown Memphis.

Stax Museum and Satellite Record Shop

Stax Museum
Stax Museum is a museum located in Memphis, Tennessee, at 926 McLemore Avenue, the former location of Stax Records. The original building, a converted movie theatre where artists such as Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Booker T. & the MG's, Sam & Dave and many others recorded throughout the 60's and 70's, was torn down, but the original front was reconstructed on the original property. It is operated by Soulsville USA, which also operates the adjacent Stax Music Academy. The original Satellite Record Shop was also reconstructed beside it. It is the only museum in the United States to be devoted entirely to soul music.


Major Memphis parks include W.C. Handy Park, Tom Lee Park, Audubon Park, Overton Park including the Old Forest Arboretum of Overton Park, the Lichterman Nature Center - a nature learning center, and the Memphis Botanic Garden.[34]

Shelby Farms park, located at the eastern edge of the city, is one of the largest urban parks in America.


The Memphis National Cemetery is a United States National Cemetery located in north Memphis.

Historic Elmwood Cemetery is one of the oldest rural garden cemeteries in the South, and contains the Carlisle S. Page Arboretum. Memorial Park Cemetery is noted for its sculptures by Mexican artist Dionicio Rodriguez.

Elvis Presley was originally buried in Forest Hill Cemetery, but after an attempted grave robbing, his body was moved to the grounds of Graceland

Other points of interest

Beale Street
Blues fans can visit Beale Street, which used to be the center of the Black community, where a young B.B. King used to play his guitar. He occasionally appears there at the club bearing his name, which he partially owns. Street performers play live music, and bars and clubs feature live entertainment until dawn. In 2008, Beale Street was the most visited tourist attraction in the state of Tennessee.[citation needed]

Sun Studio
Sun Studio is available for tour, which is where Elvis Presley first recorded "My Happiness" and "That's When Your Heartaches Begin". Other famous musicians who got their start at Sun include Johnny Cash, Rufus Thomas, Charlie Rich, Howlin' Wolf, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis. It now contains a museum as well as the still-functioning studio.

Memphis Zoo
The Memphis Zoo, which is located in midtown Memphis, features many exhibits of mammals, birds, fish, and amphibians from all over the world. The Zoo's Giant panda exhibit is one of only five in North America.

Peabody Hotel
The Peabody Hotel is well-known for the famous "Peabody Ducks" that live on the hotel rooftop, making the journey to the hotel lobby in a daily "March of Ducks" ritual.

Other Memphis attractions include the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, the FedExForum and Mississippi riverboat day cruises.


The University of Memphis college basketball team, the Memphis Tigers has a strong following in the city due to its recent competitive success. The Memphis Tigers finished 2nd to the Kansas Jayhawks in the 2008 NCAA Men's Division i Basketball Championship.

Memphis Grizzlies of the National Basketball Association, is the only club from one of the "big four" major sports leagues in the city; however, the minor leagues are well represented. The Memphis Redbirds of the Pacific Coast League is a Triple A baseball farm team for the St. Louis Cardinals. The Mississippi RiverKings is a professional hockey team of the Central Hockey League.

Memphis is home to Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, which is the site of University of Memphis football, the AutoZone Liberty Bowl and the Southern Heritage Classic. The annual St. Jude Classic, a regular part of the PGA Tour, is also held in the city.

Memphis has a significant history in pro wrestling. Jerry "The King" Lawler is the sport's greatest name to come out of the city. Sputnik Monroe, a wrestler of the 1950s, like Lawler, promoted racial integration in the City.

See also

Further reading

  • Dowdy, G. Wayne. Crusades for Freedom: Memphis and the Political Transformation of the American South (University Press of Mississippi; 2010); 176 pages. Examines the political rise of two minorities, African-Americans and Republicans, after the demise of the machine politics of the Shelby County Democratic Party and the political boss Ed Crump.


  1. ^ a b "Table 1: Annual Estimates of the Population for Incorporated Places Over 100,000, Ranked by July 1, 2007 Population: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2007" (CSV). 2007 Population Estimates. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2008-07-14. Retrieved 2008-07-14. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture - Fort Prudhomme and La Salle
  5. ^ "TN Encyclopedia: John Overton". The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  6. ^ "Memphis History and Facts". Memphis Public Library. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  7. ^ Adams, James Truslow and Ketz, Louise Bilebof. Dictionary of American history Scribner, 1976, p. 302.
  8. ^ City of Memphis Website - History of Memphis
  9. ^ Peter Guralnick. New York Times, August 11, 2007
  10. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  11. ^ Memphis Light, Gas, and Water Website - About Our Services
  12. ^ "Average Weather for Memphis, TN - Temperature and Precipitation". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2010-01-26. 
  13. ^ "Historical Weather for Memphis, Tennessee, United States". Weatherbase. Retrieved 2009-09-05. 
  14. ^ Memphis city. American FactFinder.
  15. ^
  16. ^ Morgan Quitno 2006 Crime Rankings
  17. ^ Memphis ended 2008 with 167 murders, a slight increase from the 164 reported in 2007. Ashby, Andrew (2006-04-07). "Operation Blue C.R.U.S.H. Advances at MPD". Memphis Daily News 121 (76). Retrieved 2007-08-02. 
  18. ^ Morgan Quitno 2007 Crime Rankings
  19. ^ Conley, Christopher (2007-09-27). "Memphis leads U.S. in violent crime". Commercial Appeal. Retrieved 2007-10-31. 
  20. ^ Conley, Christopher (2009-06-29). "Memphis a victim of crime reports". Commercial Appeal. Retrieved 2009-06-29. 
  21. ^ Cotton Carnival
  22. ^ Bird's eye view of the city of Memphis, Tennessee 1870.
  23. ^ Muslims in Memphis: Diversity in the mosque
  24. ^ "History of the Orthodox Congregations of Memphis". Goldring-Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life web site. Goldring-Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life. Retrieved 2008-08-21. 
  25. ^ Fortune 500 2009: States: Tennessee Companies - FORTUNE on
  26. ^ Inc. Magazine - Best Cities: The Lists
  27. ^
  28. ^ University of Tennessee-Memphis Dentistry Website
  29. ^ Memphis Central Station Pictures
  30. ^ Top US Inland Ports for 2003
  31. ^ Port of Memphis website - About Page
  32. ^ Memphis Brooks Museum of Art
  33. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  34. ^ Park Services: Park Locations

External links

Coordinates: 35°07′03″N 89°58′16″W / 35.117365°N 89.971068°W / 35.117365; -89.971068


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