Midtown, Are You On The Map?

You should be – sign up today!

In the mid-1970s First Tennessee Bank joined forces with what was then called the Midtown Council and created a full-color marketing brochure that praised the virtues of Midtown, Memphis as a way to stir investment back into the area.

This glossy, 8×10 booklet reminded Memphis of the virtues of Midtown.

“It’s the way Midtown Memphians do things,” the booklet said. And it became a snapshot in time, immortalizing Midtown businesses, residents and neighborhoods, a Midtown era that has changed much since.

The ‘Midtown 2020 Visions’ Map

Over four decades later Midtown is thriving and rapidly changing. And we at StoryBoard Memphis have summoned local artists (we can’t yet say who) by immortalizing today’s Midtown with a similar snapshot: this time with a hand-drawn map of Midtown, complete with all your favorite landmarks, your businesses, and your names.

Midtown 2020 Visions yet to come: It’s a little sparse now, but you can help fill it. And wait until a few artists get to it.

With this once-in-a-generation effort, we are also paying tribute to the legacy of the Memphis College of Art. Help us celebrate and salute the MCA, before it leaves us, by including your Midtown business. Once it’s finished it will end up as one of those whimsical neighborhood maps sure to charm young and old for decades to come.

Proceeds will go toward a section dedicated to Midtown, in a special one-year anniversary edition, and to high-quality (approx. 42″x30″) prints suitable for framing. Just $35 to be listed and enumerated in a special map insert; $60 for a listing and your business logo on the map; $350 for map co-sponsorship; $650 as a Midtown insert co-presenter. Visit our special offer here to sign up today.

Midtown, 1970s: Some things change, some don’t

From the brochure: Left, Union Avenue in the 1970s. Right, a meeting of the Midtown Council, “an organization composed of designated representatives of neighborhood associations in the Midtown Planning District united to share ideas and deal with common problems.”

Flipping through First Tennessee Bank’s “Some Things Improve With Age” booklet is a fun trip back in time that doesn’t feel too far removed from today’s Midtown:

“Midtown has it, in its architecture, its people, its places of business and its traditions. Each is a part of the other, and the whole is a shared experience. That’s what gives Midtown stability. The person next door is more than a neighbor, he is a participant.

“The spice of Midtown living is the variety of its people, and their interests. They will be found throwing a Watermelon festival and fighting City Hall on a street widening.

“And mostly, Midtown is convenient. It has proximity to everything but it wants for little. It has supermarkets with charge accounts and schools across the street; neighborhood bars and the city’s only nocturnal complex; the main library and the biggest park.”

In the brochure, it listed the leadership of each neighborhood association:

A Midtown snapshot in time. Do you recognize any of these engaged folks?

Today’s Midtown is not all that different. And with your help we’d like to make our own Midtown snapshot, circa 2020, with our Midtown 2020 Visions map. Be a part of it. Sign up for your place on the map today.

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About Mark Fleischer 79 Articles
I was a career consultant and communications specialist in the payroll industry until moving from southern California to Memphis in late 2015. The Bluff City gave me a new start in the second half of my career, gifting me with a chance to return to my childhood fascinations with cities and my college passions in writing, theater, film, and storytelling, all the while allowing me to use my experience working with people, in consulting, teaching and communications, to bring a new voice to Memphis. This may be my first venture into multi-media publishing, but Life and Place - Memphis - gave me all the prep and tools I need.

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