Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Where Is This HUGE Church?

Posted By on Wed, Jun 2, 2010 at 2:46 PM

1937 Toddle House - But Where?
  • 1937 Toddle House - But Where?
Last night I was looking through old photos in the Memphis Room, and I came across this dramatic image of a charming little Toddle House nestled in the shadows of a GIANT Gothic Revival church.

BUT WHERE IS IT?

The photo is dated 1937. On the back, someone had scribbled in pencil, "Highland - St. Luke's." That would put it on the east side of Highland, south of Midland. There's just one problem: The church building in this photo (see a detail below) bears no resemblance to the present St. Luke's Methodist Church at 490 South Highland.

You can't see it in this scan, but there's a street address at the bottom of the door of the Toddle House — 482 — which would indeed place it next to St. Luke's. But only if this is South Highland.

But this is NOT St. Luke's. For one thing, St. Luke's has a front entrance with THREE doors instead of one, it does NOT have the massive and elaborate stained-glass window in the facade, and it is only about two-thirds the size of this building. Even the stonework looks different.

Note that the photo carries the inscription "J.C. Stedman, Memphis, Tenn." But that may only indicate the photographer is from Memphis. It's not definite proof that this is a Memphis scene.

There's another reason I'm not convinced this is South Highland. The Memphis Room has another view of this same Toddle House, taken from a different angle, so you could see what was off to the left side (and behind) the little building. As you can see from the detail below, it seems to be some kind of car dealership or used-car lot. Since the neighborhood east of Highland (which would be behind the buildings shown here) is residential, it really seems unlikely there was a car dealership there, even in 1937.

Heck, for that matter, even the double-wide sidewalk and fancy lamp posts (not visible here, but in another photo of this place) tell me: This is NOT Highland.

Okay, history detectives. Where is (or was) this church, and the Toddle House next to it? (Click on any of the images to enlarge them.)

Detail of Church
  • Detail of Church

Visible behind the Toddle House
  • Visible behind the Toddle House


ALL PHOTOS ARE COURTESY OF THE MEMPHIS ROOM, BENJAMIN HOOKS CENTRAL LIBRARY

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