The Longdogs

The Longdogs
Willy, Harley (back center), and Gretchen

Jazzing It Up on Memphis Beale Street

We drove through shower after shower from Hot Springs, Arkansas, to West Memphis, Arkansas, on Friday and got the RVs set up at Tom Sawyer's Mississippi RV Park but I'll do a separate post on the park as it really deserves its own post. All I will say here is don't listen to your GPS and come in on 8th St.....go further and take the loop back. You and your RV will appreciate the much better road. The weather cleared up pretty well by the time we arrived and we decided to head in to Memphis to get an initial look around. Once across the bridge, we were in Memphis Tennessee. We wandered around found ourselves on Beale St. Parking costs are pretty steep here at $7/hour but we found a parking meter a couple blocks away closer to the water that was much more reasonable.

Several blocks are blocked off so you can walk in the street. Beale Street is the heart of blues music. It was created in 1841 by Robertson Topp with the west end primarily full of trade shops who traded with traffic on the nearby Mississippi River and the east end an affluent suburb. In the 1860s, young black men began performing on the street. A prominent early group was the "Young Men's Brass Band".

Renovation occurred in 1890 with the addition of the Grand Opera House and the addition of Church park. The park had an auditorium that could seat 2000. In the 1900s, the street had many restaurants, clubs, and owned by black Americans. From the 20s to the 40s, the Memphis Blues style developed with Louis Armstrong, Muddy Waters, Albert King, Memphis Minnie, Rufus Thomas, B.B. King, and Roscoe Gordon among others. In the 60s, Beale Street fell on hard times and deteriorated even though several blocks were named a National Historic Landmark. In 73, a corporation was formed to renovate the area as a racially diverse cooperative effort. 1982 saw a management company hired to help locate new tenants and in 2012, the city of Memphis took over day to day management after a court decision.

The trolley system is temporarily closed due to renovations on one of the streets but they have "trolley buses" which provided us with a good look at this area of town.

There are businesses operating behind these shored up building fronts.

We shared a pizza at the Blues Hall while listening to a live musician playing near us.


There are a few landmark signs telling some of the history of the street and business.


This crocheted art was located along the street near where we parked.

We had a nice view of the river from our parking area.



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