VOL. 110 | NO. 23 | Friday, February 2, 1996
lj 10/5 cates
Memphis and Shelby Countys bicentennial activities snowballing
By LAURIE JOHNSON
The Daily News
What do a calendar, a brick and a time capsule have in common?
They are all part of Memphis and Shelby Countys kickoff activities aimed at getting the ball rolling for this years Tennessee 200 Bicentennial Celebration.
"Were just getting started on our fund-raising, and these projects are helping gain some visibility," said Dr. William Byrne, chairman of Memphis and Shelby Countys Volunteer 200 committee.
On June 1, 1796, Tennessee became the nations 16th state. On Jan. 9, 1996, both the House and the Senate of the Tennessee General Assembly unanimously passed a joint resolution officially declaring 1996 as the states 200th birthday.
Each county and community is encouraged to celebrate the states history, as well as its own, through arts, entertainment, festivals, special observances and dedications.
A 37-member Memphis and Shelby County Bicentennial Commission has been appointed by Memphis Mayor W. W. Herenton and Shelby County Mayor Jim Rout to organize area bicentennial activities.
Under the auspices of this organization, the Volunteer 200 committee recently has completed a commemorative calendar called "Through the Years - A Celebration of Memphis and Shelby County History in Honor of the Tennessee Bicentennial."
The calendar features photographs of many historically and culturally significant people and places in Memphis and Shelby County. Some of these include the Hunt-Phelan home, steamboats and cotton bales on the Memphis docks, Graceland, W. C. Handy, the Davies Plantation home, A. Schwabs, the Tennessee Club building, a shot of Main Street in the 1930s and former Mayor E. H. Crump.
The calendar also shows a picture of the original Memphis pyramid, a 100-foot structure the city built in 1897 for the Tennessee Centennial in Nashville.
The countys incorporated communities also are featured in the calendar. Included are a photo of downtown Collierville in the 1940s, a cotton gin in Arlington, a 1902 shot of the Millington post office and a photo of the Germantown Charity Horse Show taken in 1950.
A list of books that focus on local and regional history also is included in the calendar, as well as a list of works of writers and poets from Tennessee. Important events or birthdays in Tennessee history are noted on almost every day in the calendar, said Ed Williams, chairman of the bicentennial commission.
Byrne said the calendar was funded with $3,000 from the state, and he expects that the county will match that donation. Other funds have come from private sources.
Byrne said he would like to raise enough funds for as many as 30,000 calendars, which will cost the committee about 40 cents each to produce.
Many of the calendars will be distributed to seventh graders throughout the area who are studying Tennessee and Shelby County history, Byrne said. The calendars also are available through the Volunteer 200 office.
Williams said the completion of the calendar had a significant affect on further efforts surrounding the Bicentennial project.
"We had been kind of limping along until we got the calendar out," Williams said. "After that, things started falling into place because the people involved finally saw something tangible for all their efforts."
The local Volunteer 200 committee also is coordinating sales of bicentennial bricks, part of a statewide program to sell 150,000 commemorative bricks engraved with the names of individuals, families or organizations. The bricks will be laid on the Path of Volunteers in the Bicentennial Capitol Mall in Nashville.
The red granite bricks sell for $60, with $10 from each sale going to the local Volunteer 200 organization to fund its bicentennial activities, Byrne said. More than 100 bricks have been sold locally, Williams said.
Last week, the commission held a ceremony to place materials in the Memphis and Shelby County time capsule. The contents of the capsule eventually will be located in Volunteer Park, which is part of Nashvilles bicentennial mall.
"We had everything from Peabody duck feathers to Jim Rout for county mayor buttons," Williams said. "We also included a copy of the calendar."
Also included in the time capsule were essays from Houston Middle School students and the inevitable Elvis memorabilia.
To become a bicentennial volunteer, or for information about bicentennial events in Memphis and Shelby County, contact Volunteer 200 at 527-6368. For information about statewide bicentennial events, call the Nashville office toll-free at (800) 200- TENN.