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Friday, January 8, 2010

Russwood Park - A Nice Aerial View

Posted By on Fri, Jan 8, 2010 at 11:00 PM

Medical Center - Late 1950s
  • Medical Center - Late 1950s
I was rooting through the basement of the Lauderdale Library the other day, seeing if I could turn up a dusty bottle of Kentucky Nip to ease my lumbago, when I came across a stash of nice old aerial photographs of Memphis.

So I might share some of them with you from time to time. This one is an especially clear view of Russwood Park, destroyed by fire in 1961 in one of our city's biggest blazes. So there's one clue to the date of the photo: before 1961.

That's Madison Avenue running diagonally across the top part of the photo — just about the only manmade object in this whole sweeping image that has survived, 40 years later. Across the street from the old baseball stadium is the original portion of the old Baptist Hospital. In the foreground you can see the incredible Italian Renaissance-designed Memphis Steam Laundry building, with one of the tallest smokestacks in town.

To the right are various older hospital buildings in our city's medical center, most of them replaced by The Med complex. And if you squint your eyes and look very carefully, you can barely make out the circular Duke Bowers Wading Pool in the corner of Forrest Park.

Not a trace remains of any of these things, not even the little neighborhood down in the bottom left corner, so it's a good thing somebody held onto these old photos after all these years, isn't it?

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