We Were There... 

15 pivotal events in Memphis history since 1989.

Federal Express buys Flying Tigers, 1989. Prior to changing its name to FedEx, the comparative upstart in air express vaults to international prominence by buying its former competitor.

Willie Herenton beats Dick Hackett in mayoral election, 1991. Tops in drama, nail-biter election gives Memphis its first elected black mayor, now serving his fourth consecutive term.

The Pyramid opens, 1991. Tomb of doom? Take a look at the Mid-South Fairgrounds and the Coliseum. No Pyramid means no SEC tournament, no Grizzlies, no Calipari, no Tyson-Lewis fight, and no skyline addition.

Belz and Harrah's fail to get legislative powers to back a casino at Lakeview in DeSoto County, 1992. Tunica and Mississippi get a lock on the casino business, with Memphians contributing $300 to $400 million annually.

Congressman Harold Ford is acquitted in federal court trial, 1993. A guilty verdict would have sent Ford Sr. to prison and possibly derailed the political career of Harold Ford Jr.

FedEx plane hijacker Auburn Calloway is overcome; plane lands safely, 1994. In all likelihood, Calloway intended to crash the plane into FedEx headquarters. Were 9/11 hijackers watching?

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital commits to huge expansion, 1995. The expansion is a major medical story, an employment story, and a real estate story. Imagine the north end of downtown without it.

Memphis extends the city sewer to eastern Shelby County, 1997. Along with the opening of the first leg of Nonconnah Parkway and Wolfchase Galleria, the sewer extension is a vital ingredient in suburban sprawl.

City begins the systematic demolition of public housing projects, 1997. Hope for residents and the ripple effect are still being felt in public school enrollment and shifting neighborhood demographics.

Belz Enterprises builds Peabody Place, 1998. The culmination of Belz's 20-year commitment to downtown, starting with the renovation of the Peabody hotel.

AutoZone Park opens, 2000. Dean and Kristi Jernigan build the model for public-private partnerships and turn a derelict downtown corner into a happening place.

Vancouver Grizzlies move to Memphis, 2001. After 30 years of failures, Memphis makes the major leagues. Competition for casinos and U of M Tigers, and the FedExForum outshines the Pyramid.

Mayor Herenton burns bridges with City Council, 2004. They're not kidding around. They really don't like each other.

The Tennessee Lottery begins, 2004. A tax on stupidity or a boon to higher education? We'll see. Government enters the gambling business, and Memphis is the biggest customer.



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment



We Saw You

Military Masquerade, Maciel's Highland, The Gray Canary

Hungry Memphis

Beer Bracket Challenge, Round 2


Tayari Jones Reading at the Orpheum

Hungry Memphis

Muddy's Bake Shop Turns 10

Tiger Blue

Tigers 91, #23 Houston 85

Intermission Impossible

Dead in the Water: New Moon's "Eurydice" is wet and wonderful

Politics Beat Blog

Alexander Touts Tax Bill, Offers Proposals on Guns and Immigration

News Blog

Memphis Pets of the Week


More by John Branston

  • Pyramid History 101

    Bass Pro should acknowledge the big pointy building’s backstory.
    • May 14, 2015
  • Let it Be

    What to do about the Fairgrounds? How about nothing?
    • Jan 29, 2015
  • Let’s Go, Shelby County Schools!

    Some suggestions for how the new Shelby County Schools system can hold its own in the years to come.
    • Aug 14, 2014
  • More »
© 1996-2018

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation