VOL. 10 | NO. 23 | Saturday, June 3, 2017
June 2-8, 2017: This week in Memphis history
2016: Memphis Police officer Verdell Smith is killed in the line of duty when the suspect in three Downtown shootings runs over him at Beale Street and B.B. King Boulevard. The incident begins when Justin Welch allegedly shoots two people sitting at a picnic table outside Westy’s near The Pyramid, then walks across the street and shoots a Bass Pro Shops employee in the Pyramid parking lot.
Police scramble to apprehend Welch and find him driving a stolen car the wrong way on B.B. King toward Beale. As Smith and other officers try to clear pedestrians from the intersection, Welch hits the 18-year Memphis Police veteran with the car. Two of the three people shot are critically injured; Welch is treated for minor injuries.
1982: Graceland opens for tours, marking a new era in the city’s still-forming tourism industry. Prior to the tours of the mansion, visitors were allowed to walk up the driveway to visit Elvis Presley’s gravesite. Vester Presley, the entertainer’s uncle, was still working in the guardhouse at the gate and would regularly load up the back of his golf cart with cameras to take pictures for visitors when the meditation garden wasn’t open to the public. The first tours were not recordings, but rather tour guides presenting the tour orally. Then, as now, the upstairs of the mansion is not part of the tour.
1977: Former president Gerald Ford, playing in the pro-am event of the Danny Thomas Golf Classic at Colonial Country Club, hits a hole-in-one on the fifth hole with a five-iron shot that lands on the green six feet from the flag and rolls in. The tour professional in the group was Ben Crenshaw. On the ninth hole, Ford hit three straight bunker shots.
Source: United Press International account
1966: Ray Charles plays the Auditorium. The next month, Charles is featured in Life magazine. The 1966 tour is a rebound for Charles, who the previous year was arrested for drug possession for a third time and underwent rehab treatment for heroin addiction to avoid a jail sentence.
Sources: “Memphis Rocks” by Ron Hall and time.com