Tag Archives: Downtown Memphis

The Memphis Ice Storm of 1994

Seeing the ice on the trees this morning reminds me of a morning in 1994, waking up to a series of muffled crackles and crunchs, not quite realizing at the time that the sounds were large tree limbs splitting and falling.  I don’t remember that is was very cold that morning, 30-31 degrees being optimal for ice storm conditions.

I was a network engineer at BellSouth at the time, and I got the call to come on into work, and plan on staying over if things got really bad, so I put a sleeping bag in the car, and picked my through the debris from East Memphis to my Midtown office.  Actually, the majority of trees had not fallen at that time; they continued to fall throughout the day as I attempted to ride the streets of my area of responsibility (Midtown and Downtown), not to attempt to restore telephone service, but to report hazardous conditions. And the trees kept falling. A huge one just missed me as I was talking to some folks on Snowden, near Rhodes.  We had to run to get out of the way. By noon, it was sunny and rather warm (above freezing) but the ice load was still working on the trees, power lines and telephone cables.  Most of the ice had melted by the end of the day.  By the time it was all over, the city looked like it had been bombed.  Many were without utilities for weeks.  Midtown was especially hard hit. The clean up seemed to go on forever.

I wasn’t doing too many photos back then, and I didn’t photograph anything during that day or the following day.  One memory that stands out is getting back home (very little damage to my trees)  after the ice was gone and finding pine needles standing in my yard in little holes.  Encrusted with ice they had fallen, driving themselves into the soft ground. As devastating as Hurricane Elvis was in 2004,  the ice storm was much more eerie, and I will never forget the slow, crackles of the limbs breaking away and falling.

Were you in Memphis in 1994?  What are your memories of the Ice Storm?

Buildings worth saving? (part 2)

Nylon Net Building - 7 Vance Ave.

Here is another building from the CCC’s list – Top 10 Downtown buildings worth saving:  the Nylon Net building at 7 Vance (Vance and Wagner).  You have probably passed this hulking brick building hundreds of times on your way the the Spaghetti Warehouse.  I can’t find any history on it It looks early 20th century, with a large mid-20th century addition that fills the rest of the block to the south.  Lots of brick.  I am not finding much character here, though.  For a building this big, Memphis must have had a corner on the world’s nylon net market at some point in history.

Ballard & Ballard Obelisk Flour 325 Wagner

Turn around and look at a much more interesting building, the Ballard and Ballard Obelisk Flour Co. (1924).  This one didn’t make the list, probably not big enough, but it is one of the most interesting buildings Downtown, with it’s Egyptian Revival elements like the twin hieroglyphics loaded obelisks that adorn the corners. Just a teaser pic here.  Go look at this building in person.

Another Stellar Memphis Music and Heritage Festival

“The festival was over and the boys were all planning for a fall…..”
Bob Dylan from “Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts”
Kate Campbell at MMHF (5)

Singer-songwriter Kate Campbell is a festival favorite

What better way to close out Summer and move into Fall than the Memphis Music and Heritage Festival?
Great Music! Great Food! and lots of fun had by all.  I didn’t get to the outside stages much, as  managing the Folklore Hall Stage kept me busy, but everyone who I talked with was awestruck by the quality of the performances and the overall Festival.

The Center for Southern Folklore, producers of the Festival, took things in stride on Saturday night, moving headliner, Bobby Rush, inside to the Folklore Hall on very short notice.  Rush played to an SRO audience, who were all quite pleased.

Many thanks to all the sponsors, volunteers, performers and Center Staff who make this one of Memphis’ outstanding.

I set up a flickr group for Festival pictures (slideshow of all photos), so if you can share your good photos from the weekend.

Here’s a little slide show of some of my selected photos from the Folklore Hall Stage:



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