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Fairgrounds update

The track hoes,  bulldozers, and dump trucks have been quietly and efficiently doing their work in leveling demolishing destroying developing the Fairgrounds property.

Memphis Fairgrounds

This shot is from what used to be the north parking lot of the Mid-South Coliseum, looking north.  Missing (with the exception of 2 of the old buildings) are all the buildings, livestock barns, Fair Offices, roads, parking lots, and the arena building where I saw Roy Rogers when I was a child; everything but the Kroc Center property is just a big field of dust.  I guess one day we will look up and the Coliseum will be gone too.  Ah, progress!

Midsouth Coliseum

Coliseum's fenced lots now house city vehicles amidst the fairgrounds "construction"

On a more positive note, the old President’s Island one room school house has been preserved and moved to what seems to be a safe place at the edge of the construction area.

More goodbyes for the Fairgrounds

Presidents Island School House at the Fairgrounds

In a parking lot in the shadow of the Arena building at the former Mid-South Fairgrounds is a little piece of Memphis history.  Moved there and set up on blocks is the one-room school house from President’s Island, dating back before the industrialization of the area when it was a rural community.   It  looks like an easy target for the long arm of the next trackhoe that happens to be by there.  Does this building have any value for preservationists?

Turn 180 degrees and look into the empty stalls of the cattle barn.

Cattle Barn - Fairgrounds


We have all been in  there during the Mid-South looking at cows close up and talking with the 4-H-ers and breeders who camped there with them.  The livestock barns are scheduled for demolition, and if consultant, former city councilman (and undisclosed principal in some future Fairgrounds project) Tom Marshall has his way, that will happen real soon, along with demolition of most everything left at the Fairgrounds, including Memphis Roller Derby’s home – the Youth Building, other exhibit buildings, and about everything left standing except the Arena Building.

The Arena Building

The city has chosen to keep the ugliest building intact because they use it for storage.

As is typical in our City, demolition is happening before there is a set plan.  Oh yeah, there is that plan to make the whole thing into a shady grove so the tens of thousands of UM fans can have tailgate parties before games, leaving Memphis’ version of “the Grove” to collect litter for the other 355 days of the year.

What about the big box?  What about the athletic fields? Retail? Who knows?  Just keep the demolition equipment running.

If you have memories of the Fairgrounds, get over there quick and get some pictures and video before it’s all gone.  The decision makers are keeping pretty quiet about the Coliseum, but considering that much of it’s parking lot is being greened turned to mud, it probably doesn’t have much longer either.

Read Mary Cashiola’s piece in this week’s Flyer

The Eagles did “The Last Resort”  and Joni did this:
Maybe there’s a Memphis songwriter who can put all this to music.

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