The Memphis region is rich
in historical assets.
The Memphis region contains a wide variety of historical
offerings. For example, some of the earliest are the
prehistoric Indian mounds found scattered throughout the
region. Along the original four trails is a series of historic
buildings, sites, districts and entire towns. Some of the
region's cities, such as Holly Springs, have large pre-Civil
War era homes and residential neighborhoods. Downtown Memphis
recently re-introduced early 1900s streetcars, has historical
museums (including the National Civil Rights Museum, Mud
Island, etc.) and has a noteworthy Victorian district.
The region's history has
significantly contributed to its strong identity.
Mark Twain's connection to the Mississippi River, the legend
of Elvis Presley, the cotton culture, the Civil Rights
Movement, the birth of the Blues and rock and roll are all
significant events tied to Memphis in the minds of most
Americans, and are even recognized worldwide.
The four historical trails
provide an easy and highly visible framework for
--understanding the region's historical sites and districts.
The majority of the registered historic sites, districts and
towns in the Memphis region are located along historical
trails, which have evolved into modern roads. The Cherokee
Trail became Poplar Avenue. The Chickasaw Trail is now US-78.
The Tri-Weekly Mail Trail became US-64 while the Military
Trail to Little Rock is now I-40. Four original trails linked
Memphis to the region and the nation. Three of the trails
extended to the east and one continued across the river to the
west. These four trails set the pattern upon which the region
While the main cluster of
historical resources (i.e. historic sites, districts and
museums) is found in the central area of Memphis, other
important sites and districts are located along the historical
trails. Particular concentrations are found in Collierville,
with a dispersed line of districts and sites in Germantown
along the former Cherokee Trail. Other concentrations occur
along the Chickasaw trail, such as in Holly Springs and in
Covington along the 1829 Nashville Mail Route.
"umbrella" entity for all of the local historical
Strengthen neighborhood associations to keep historic areas
from declining and to recruit active participants in
preservation. This organization could serve as the voice for
historical resources, facilitate communication, share
information and develop resources.
Create a regional history
project and promote its activities.
Develop a comprehensive preservation strategy covering the
entire Memphis region in all three states. Link historic sites
and districts to the four historic trails. Involve regional
universities in the identification and preservation of
regional historical assets (schools of urban studies,
architecture, history, etc.). Establish a regional tax
abatement plan for the regional historic districts and overlay
zones to aid in their preservation.
Grow the heritage component
of the tourism economy.
Capitalizing on the region's historical resources to increase
heritage and eco-tourism will add breadth to create additional
synergies with other convention, sports, entertainment and
regional tourism facilities. Promoting the region's historical
assets can significantly increase the region's attractiveness
as a destination location. Locally, regionally and nationally
promote the region's historical offerings including the area's
history museums, historic districts and sites, Indian mounds,
historic forest areas and significant trees.
Use the region's history to
build a stronger image and identity in the national and global
The region's history - including its people, culture and
geography - has helped develop its identity in the emerging
global marketplace. The region's history should become a
significant component of its overall national and global
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