Years ago, I think people took more pride in their work, even when their jobs involved routine labor. It’s also possible that they saw marketing opportunities that we just overlook today. Of course, nowadays when you want to find the name of a builder, or a contractor, or any sort of manufacturer, you search the Internet or flip through the phone book. But years ago, you could actually admire a fellow’s work, and often find their names right on it.
Although Memphis had quite a number of nightclubs in the 1940s and 1950s, the two that get mentioned the most by readers of my column are the Silver Slipper and the Cottage Inn. I’ll talk more about the Silver Slipper someday, and — if I feel like it — even post some photos of what’s left of the property, which once stood along Macon Road.
But today I just wanted to share a couple of interesting images of the Cottage Inn, which was tucked away between present-day Park Avenue and Poplar Avenue, just east of Ridgway. Years ago, if you were driving east on Poplar, a narrow road angled off to the right and intersected with Poplar Pike. The Cottage Inn was on that narrow road (which survives today as the street running behind the Shea Clinic — pretty much where a Residence Inn stands today.) Anyway, many years ago, I managed to find a dinner menu for this establishment, with an illustration on the cover (above) that showed it was certainly much fancier than its humble name implied — a gleaming Art Deco building, with spacious grounds and some kind of stone fountain in the front.