VOL. 9 | NO. 37 | Saturday, September 10, 2016
September 9-15, 2016: This Week in Memphis History
By Bill Dries
2001: At Memphis International Airport, air traffic controllers are the busiest in the nation landing more airplanes than any other U.S. airport as all flights are diverted to land at the nearest airport in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The Federal Aviation Administration orders all planes in U.S. airspace or bound for the U.S. to land. In just four minutes, 15 planes are diverted to Memphis International Airport and dozens are circling the airport.
By 11 a.m., air traffic controllers improvising and abandoning protocols have landed 100 planes at MEM; half of them are flights rerouted from their original destinations.
2001: A circus parade on Beale Street was a procession of circus animals walking the entertainment district without an audience.
1936: The Memphis Orchestra Shell is dedicated in Overton Park. The shell was one of a few Works Progress Administration federal projects in Memphis during the Great Depression. The city project cost $11,935 to build and quickly became the home of the Memphis Open Air Theater – called MOAT by its regular patrons.
1916: The first Piggly Wiggly store opens in Memphis. Its founder, Clarence Saunders, has the revolutionary idea of putting groceries on shelves for customers to get instead of having a grocer get them for customers – the method used in general stores.
Piggly Wiggly was the first of what would later be called supermarkets.
“Laughed at, ridiculed for such a name and the fact that the customers waited on themselves,” Saunders wrote years later.
Saunders had worked for wholesale grocery houses in Memphis and elsewhere before becoming a cash wholesale grocer himself in Memphis.