This week in Memphis history: December 20-26

Saturday, December 21, 2013, Vol. 6, No. 52

2012: Memphis got on inch of snow Christmas night into the day after Christmas as northeastern Arkansas got a blizzard with 10 to 14 inches reported there.
– Source: National Weather Service Memphis

1982: The Orpheum closed for a $5 million renovation, its first extensive renovation since the Memphis Development Foundation bought the theater from the Malco movie theater chain.

1981: Memphis singer songwriter Keith Sykes headlined at the Orpheum.

1923: The steel framework of the top story of the Columbia Mutual Tower on North Main Street at Court was under construction. At 22 stories, the tower was the tallest building in the city at that point.

Also, the dawn of professional wrestling in Memphis. Local promoter Christopher “Doc” Hottum who organized such events as swimming races across the Mississippi River, diving exhibitions from the Frisco Bridge, dance marathons and boxing matches began promoting Thursday night wrestling matches at the Lyric Theater. Hottum’s day job was as a saloon and restaurant owner. The Daily News on its front page reported: “Hottum says he intends to bring the best men in the game to Memphis and that he will give the fans clean matches. Hottum will referee all the bouts and will call all the various holds so the audience will become acquainted with the various grips favored by the grapplers.”

1913: The Chisca hotel opened on South Main Street, marketing itself to “railroad travelers and mule dealers.”
– Source: LRK