Live with History, Welcome to Midtown Memphis

Live with History, Welcome to Midtown Memphis

Driving Tour of Historic Homes in Midtown Memphis

If you’re driving around Midtown and want to absorb a bit of history, here’s a short list of Midtown Historic Homes: The map below is interactive, click on icons to see locations of properties.

 

  1. Clanlo Hall.   Circa 1853. 1616 Central Avenue. The oldest house on Central Avenue, once used as a Yankee headquarters was originally all clapboard. The brick façade was added about 1925. The name Clanlo comes from the first two letters of each of the names of three sisters who lived there after 1954. Claire, Ann, Lois.
  2. Ashler Hall.   Circa 1896. 1395 Central Avenue. This home was designed and built by Brinkley Snowden who graduated in architecture from Pinceton in 1890. The name comes from the term “ashler” used to describe squared, hewn stone.
  3. The Hunt-Phelan House.   Circa 1830 with façade additions in 1851. 533 Beale Streeet. Go enjoy a fine meal at the Inn at Hunt Phelan as this antebellum mansion is now used as an inn and restaurant. The original home was built for a land surveyor in the Federal brick style and the 1851 addition of the Greek Revival style portico really “spiffed it up”. There is a lot of Civil War history in this place including its use as a hospital in 1863.
  4. The Mollie Fontaine Taylor House.   Circa 1886. 679 Adams Avenue. Currently a bar/restaurant you can get up close to this very Victorian structure where the phrase: “if one is good, two must be better, and three divine” certainly is exhibited. This home was built as a wedding present for a daughter, finished about 1890 and could easily be compared to wedding cake! You can see the father’s house across the street as it is a museum call the Fontaine House.
  5. Annesdale Mansion.   Circa 1855. 1325 Lamar Avenue. Originally built by a wholesale druggist from Maryland, Annesdale has been home to the same family for at least 7 generations since 1869. It is Italian Villa in style built with bricks made on the site with a four story tower overlooking the present seven and a half acre park-like setting.
  6. The Rozell House.   Circa 1853. 1737 Harbert Avenue. This six gabled home is built of yellow poplar and tapered shingles by one of the families that donated land to build and support First Methodist Church. It sits on one of the highest elevations in this part of town. This family also donated land from their acerage for right-of-way for the first railroad that came to Memphis.
  7. The E.H.Crump House.   Circa 1908. 1962 Peabody Avenue. “Boss” Crump is said to have picked every mayor the city had from his own term starting in 1909 til his death in 1954. Doric columns support the Greek Revival front porch.
  8. Beverly Hall.   Cira 1906. 1560 Central. Once named “Greenwood”, the land this home sits on was once a part of the Clanlo property. Designed by a Louisville, Kentucky architect, W.J. Dodd and the local firm of Jones and Furbringer it is the earliest example of Colonial Revival Architecture in Memphis and the precursor of the Galloway Mansion.
  9. Clarence Saunders Home.   Circa 1918. 1561 Peabody Avenue. It is said that this home had the first central vacuum system in Memphis and that many of the plan features were enlarged and used in the more famous Saunders home, now the Pink Palace Museum on Central. This home was also once the home of the Binswanger family of local stained glass fame.
  10. YOUR NEXT HOME!   Make your own history in Midtown.

 

Memphis Historic Homes are Abundant in Midtown

Midtown Memphis development began in the 1850’s when non agrarian, commerce oriented citizens built their homes in the showy French, Italianate and Victorian style mansions of Victorian Village and extended to the postwar construction of the 1940’s West of Highland. So if one is to talk about Memphis historic homes, there’s a lot of ground to cover.

It would be impossible to list all the Midtown homes that are significant to the history of the Memphis Community. Every home has a story or history significant to the owners and the previous owners; but most would concede to use the term Historic House in reference to: Architectural significance, significance of location, or significance of resident.

 

Midtown Memphis Neighborhoods

Ask any local and you’ll get different answers for the boundaries of Midtown. The Post Office has one definition with the Midtown Post Office, zip 38104, in the 1500 block of Union. This definition is somewhat outdated since most Memphians would consider Highland, in zip 38111, the Eastern boundary today.

Here are some neighborhoods within Midtown.

  • Central Gardens:   Some residents wouldn’t hesitate to define Midtown as “Central Gardens”… one of the largest and oldest active neighborhood associations in the South. You can review their website at   centralgradens.org.  But Central Gardens doesn’t even contain…
  • Annesdale Park:   The first “subdivision” development of the MidSouth… Annesdale Park (of 1903), which has its own neighborhood association.
  • Evergreen Historic District:   Also residents of the historic Evergreen Historic District Association   evergreendistrict.org  would certainly want to be included in the “Midtown definition”.
  • Vollintine/Evergreen   at   vecacdc.org.
  • Cooper-Young   at   cooperyoung.org.

 

Information Sources for this article included
Central Gardens Handbook by James Williamson and Carl Awsumb, Architects.
Central Gardens, Stories of the Neighborhood, by Barbara B. Viser.
Good Abode by Perre Magness with photographs by Murray Riss.