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bluff2085

Old Downtown Pics

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I came accross some pics on the web and decided to post since the forum's been a little slow as of late. A lttle Memphis history I guess.

In the early 1900s, Memphis--like many other large cities of the time--built a grand "Union Station" to serve a number of passenger railroads. At the time the building was the largest stone structure in the city and a source of local pride. Here are some pics.

Postcard

oldmemphis-unionstationpostcard.jpg

1920s - 1950s

oldmemphis-unionstation20s-30s.jpg

oldmemphis-unionstation.jpg

oldmemphis-unionstation2-early50s.jpg

Unfortunately the decline of passenger rail service all across the US during the 6Os, along with an unsuccessful court battle to save the building, ultimately lead to the building's demolition...what a shame. Here's a pic taken just a few years before the station closed it doors for good.

oldmemphis-unionstationlate60s.jpg

But just 2 years after Union Station was built [1912], Grand Central Station was built just 2 blocks west. Today it's just referred to as "Central Station" and lies in the heart of the South Main arts district. Here's a few old pics

Construction pic of Central Station taken in 1913

oldmemphis9-CS.jpg

Central Station in 1914

oldmemphis-centralstation1914.jpg

Interior Pic and outside view of track sheds [w/main st on the left]. Both pics around 1915

oldmemphis-centralstation1915interi.jpg

oldmemphis-centralstation1914tracks.jpg

More recent pic. of Central Station, which is now only served by one passenger train [Amtrack's "City of New Orleans"]. The upper floors of the tower which once housed railroad offices have been converted to apartments. Across the street to the east [and out of the picture] is the famous Arcade restaurant, and accross the street to the north [seen in the first pic] is another local favorite, Earnestine and Hazel's--known for it's late night Soul Burgers and questionable 2nd floor back rooms

memphis-centralstationtoday.jpg

memphis-centralstationtoday2.jpg

Here are a few more misc. pics of trains and DT Memphis taken during the 4Os-6Os. All of these pics and then some can be found here

oldmemphis8.jpg

oldmemphis-1964aereal.jpg

oldmemphis-unionstationaereal1964.jpg

oldmemphis11-RiversideDr.jpg

oldmemphis-northboundtrain1968.jpg

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bluff2085, those are incredible. Thanks for sharing them.

The demolition of Union Station is the worst architectural disaster in the history of Memphis. it's even worse than the demolition of the original romanesque Cossitt Library and replacement with the mid-century modern Cossitt. In that case we at least have something that has some value, if not as much as the original. But the 3rd street post office that replaced Union is an eyesore and an atrocity.

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Thank you so much for posting those pics. I love to see any pictures of Memphis, especially those of a historical nature.

The demolition of Union Station is the worst architectural disaster in the history of Memphis. it's even worse than the demolition of the original romanesque Cossitt Library and replacement with the mid-century modern Cossitt. In that case we at least have something that has some value, if not as much as the original.

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Lots of great history in those pics. Thanks a lot for posting them! :thumbsup:

Its always interesting to see what the past looked like and contrast it with the modern day IMO.

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