Putting neighborhoods on the National Register is an exhaustive, dedicated process. In this special series, the keeper of the Memphis Heritage Historic Properties Catalogue gives us snapshots of some wonderful but lesser-known historic neighborhoods.
Normal Station Historic District
By John Dulaney
Normal Station Historic District is roughly three-quarters of a square mile in size, located south of the University of Memphis; it was listed on the National Register in 2005. It is bounded roughly on the north and south by Southern and Park Avenues, and on the west and east by Highland and Goodlett Streets.
This area was a farm community in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that grew into a small town with the coming of a teacher’s college called the West Tennessee State Normal School, and Southern Railway’s Normal Station. The area was annexed by the City of Memphis in 1929. Further development followed into a middle-class “automobile suburb” in the 1940s and ‘50s, helped then by the arrival of Kennedy Veterans Hospital and the later growth of Memphis State College / University of Memphis. A major developer of affordable housing in this district was John B. Goodwin, following his work in the construction of the Veterans Hospital.
Fifty-seven percent of the district’s housing stock was constructed in the 1950s, and of 1096 principal buildings, 867 contribute to this listing.
Read more about Memphis’ National Register properties and all of Dulaney’s Districts featured throughout this issue of StoryBoard Memphis.
This article and all of Dulaney’s Districts originally appeared in print Issue X, the August 2019 Neighborhood Issue, front page and pages 12, 23-25.