cumberland.JPGSeems like that’s really the question in the flap about what should happen to the Cumberland Presbyterian Church archives and administration building at the corner of Union and Rembert. Chick-fil-A bought it in February, and now looks to be getting ready to bulldoze it and build a new restaurant. In fact, I got an urgent E-mail from Memphis Heritage this morning saying that the fast food company has applied for a demolition permit from Code Enforcement, without even meeting with representatives of Memphis Heritage, which seems pretty low to me. Though in The CA story I’ve linked above, the commercial real estate broker is quoted as saying they couldn’t sell this old, neglected building any other way, and wouldn’t it be better to have something there that was adding to the tax rolls?

Lots of things get me down about Memphis, even when the azaleas are blooming and the Redbirds are at AutoZone. But the idea that we can’t figure out how to save even some of the old buildings on our main streets is beyond depressing. As is yet another fast food restaurant on Union. To tell

Chick-fil-A what you think of their plans, call 404.765.8000 TODAY.

Posted Thursday, April 17th, 2008 at 11:25 am
Filed Under Category: Only In Memphis
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Responses to “Taxes or history?”


Such a sad thing.

We should get a group together and stand in front of the bulldozers like true activists. Or can they arrest us for that now?

I live in Collierville, and we still have a lot of our old buildings sticking around. But I have to wonder how long they will stay. With the way our world is changing, history will be something only read about in books. We are on our way to having banks on every street corner, when we are all too poor to save. It’s very sad, really.


OK, devil’s advocate here.

I love old buildings too, when they serve a purpose i.e. are preserved and of use as museum, cool office space, etc. What I don’t love are old, neglected, run-down, rat-infested buildings that drop bricks on you as you walk by.

The problem I have with the Heritage Society is that they spend all their time getting injunctions keeping people from tearing down old buildings but they don’t provide any funding for preserving and using the buildings.

St. Jude had a nasty run-in with them 10 or 15 years ago over some buildings on the SJ campus. The Heritage Society stopped SJ from tearing down the buildings, but wouldn’t DO anything with them themselves. They wanted SJ to pay to have the buidlings renovated. Now, no offense, but SJ is in the business of saving children’s lives, not saving old buildings. Obviously, they’re not going to spend their money – donor dollars – on preserving the buildings.

So still they sit, taking up space on the campus and what’s won really? They’re there, but they’re not providing any historical relevance. No one is driving by SJ and saying, oh, look at those lovely old crumbling buildings.


*I* drive by and look at lovely old crumbling buildings.

I don’t even want to think about this. Memphians spend millions of dollars for McMansions, but can’t cough up the money to keep the Hunt-Phelan’s stuff with the house. Last I heard the Magevney House was closed to the public. Just bulldoze the whole city already and call it a day, my will to fight died when we lost the Memphis Belle.


What bothers me is seeing buildings in midtown shuttered up and not used for any viable businesses while midtowners are underserved compared to other parts of the city. Take a drive down Madison and see the empty Chicago Pizza Company, the old Andertons and Melos Taverna to see what I mean.

While some might like to drive by the lovely, old crumbling buildings, they add to urban decay. They slowly fall apart and become magnets for graffiti, trash and vermin. If no other viable use can be reasonably found, then they should make way for places that can serve the public.


I have to agree with Susan and khyman.

I agree most with this statement: “The problem I have with the Heritage Society is that they spend all their time getting injunctions keeping people from tearing down old buildings but they don’t provide any funding for preserving and using the buildings.”

I think what this is really about is the area HOAs, a select group of Midtown residents and the Heritage Society attempting to pick and choose what businesses they want near them. If the Heritage Society wants this building to stay, why didn’t its members band together to buy it?

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