Follow-up Meeting to discuss Restoration of Cobblestone Landing

Aug. 25 (Tues.), 4-6 pm, at Memphis Heritage's Howard Hall (2282 Madison Ave.)

What About a Plan to Really Restore the Landing?

"My Big Backyard," the new children's garden at Memphis Botanic Garden, is getting rave reviews and bringing smiles to the faces of kids and parents. It's imaginative, creative, and a wonderful addition to Memphis's amenities. Let's bring some of that creativity to the table and think about how to restore our historic landing.

Bring your ideas, thoughts, questions, and creativity. Invite your friends to come, too.

Reducing the boat landing to a dead relic is not a solution. It's a missed opportunity.

How to Repair a Boat Landing?

Boat landings, like all things, need maintenance and repair. Sloughing off at the toe of a landing is not a problem unique to the Cobblestone Landing. It's happening at the Wolf River landing in Shelby Farms Park, too.

Because of the integrity of its original design, the Cobblestone Landing has been in continuous use for more than 150 years with insufficient maintenance. The RDC Masterplan described it as "the perfect form for boat landings given the river's rising and falling tendency."

The City has received $13M in Federal and State funds to restore the landing. What's the correct way to do it -- the way that will repair, support easy future maintenance, and open the public boat landing up for people to use and enjoy in the future?


Ideas for Cobblestone Landing from Previous Plans

All of these riverfront plans called for restoration of the Cobblestone Landing as an active and well used docking point for boats - all kinds of boats, from canoes to special use barges.

Plan Presented for Cobblestone Landing Restoration

Here's the proposal of how to restore the Cobblestone Landing presented to the public on Aug. 11.

2 Big Problems:
1. Riprap - Blocks access to the water for people and boats
2. Sidewalk - It looks like a stroll around the edge of a lake, but the Mississippi River and Memphis harbor are not a lake. Water levels at Memphis rise and fall approximately 50' each year.

High water

Low water

Approximately where that sidewalk would be.

And a Question: Since we do care about quality of life and recreation issues, we want an authentic Memphis waterfront to support boating, tourism and economic revitalization downtown. How can RDC's plan for our cobblestone landing respond better to these concerns?

Note: To hear an audio recording of the Aug. 11 meeting and view the RDC powerpoint/hand-out, click HERE. To read the Flyer's take on the meeting, click HERE.


Several people have said they left the RDC public meeting on Aug. 11 confused about the purpose of the meeting. We were told it wasn't a meeting to discuss design ideas. Then we were shown a plan to use riprap to repair the landing. That's not a viable design. People cannot walk on riprap. Boats are damaged by riprap. In fact, a couple of weeks ago a barge was damaged and sank because of the riprap at the edge of Tom Lee Park. To read about it in "The Flyer," click HERE.


What's Wrong with This Picture?

No boats ( = no people, no fun)
If the proposed plan "fixes" the cobblestones,
NO More Boats... Ever!
Be Heard or Be Without
Speak Up for the Riverfront

IMPORTANT: Cobblestone Public Meeting
Tues., Aug. 11 -- 5:30 - 7:30 pm
The Balinese Ballroom
330 N. Main Street, Downtown.

We call for an alternative design that respects the authenticity and use of the public landing.

Talk about making Memphis a more livable community - what about a harbor full of boats and a National Historic Landmark?

Blogger Takes Hard Look at Cobblestone Landing

An independent blogger takes a tough look at the issues -- Cobbles under Glass? How stupid are we? Check it out - lots of interesting stuff. Click HERE.


What about walking on cobblestones?

Spiked heels not advised, but Gwyneth Paltrow did it.
Michele Obama, in low heels, did it.

Regular people, kids and grown-ups, do it.

They do it all over the world.

Segways and dancing permitted.


What's Riprap & Why do you need to know?

It’s stones or chunks of concrete thrown together without order on a slope to prevent erosion. That’s how Merriam-Webster defines it.

It's used to stabilize river banks, but not at boat landings. People can’t walk on riprap; and boats can’t land on riprap. You can see that at Tom Lee Park.

The RDC is proposing to use riprap on the Cobblestone Landing.

YES, repair the cobblestone landing. BUT NO RIPRAP. Keep it open for the future.

Attend the public meeting on Aug. 11, at 5:30 pm, at the Balinese Ballroom (330 N. Main).


Case Study - Restoration Pays Off

Let’s repair the Cobblestone Landing, and let’s do it correctly.

The small city of Natchitoches, LA proved it’s worth the effort. They repaired their historic brick Front Street removing, numbering, cleaning, and then replacing each brick after utilities, drainage, and foundation were repaired. In 2005, the town was named one of the “Dozen Distinctive Destinations,” and it has received the Presidential Award for Heritage Tourism and the Great American Main Street Award. Today Natchitoches draws more than 1,000,000 visitors annually to enjoy the town’s historic authenticity and rich sense of community.

Planning a vacation? Click HERE and HERE to learn more about Natchitoches.


Cobblestones Something to Brag About

Cobblestones may not be the smoothest ride for cars or bikes, but cities and neighborhoods brag about their cobblestones - a link to their history and a part of their charm and attractiveness.

This is Thames Street in Baltimore's Fells Point. The historic waterfront neighborhood has protected its authentic character, and today is alive with restaurants, cafes, and shops serving a diverse mix of people. For more on Fells Point, click HERE.


Public Meeting to Determine Future of Cobblestone Landing

Yes, it is August. Yes, the 11th is the 1st full day of school. Yes, 5:30 is a difficult time.

Yes, where is the Balinese Ballroom? 330 N. Main (corner of Commerce & Main, just north of the interstate highway). There is free on-street parking, lots nearby, and it's on the trolley line.

And YES, your voice is important. Come, learn about the plan, be heard. This may be the only public meeting to determine the future of the Cobblestone Landing.
* Keep the landing open
* Repair it
* Protect and maintain it for the future.


Original Waterfront Cobblestones

Memphis is not the only city with cobblestones, but few U.S. cities have original waterfront cobblestones. That makes Memphis a primary destination to see and board a boat on an original cobblestone landing on the Mississippi River. Archaeologist Guy Weaver says of all the great 19th c. stone-paved wharfs, Memphis Landing is acknowledged as the best preserved.

Known affectionately as the Cobblestones, the Memphis Landing is situated along the Wolf River Harbor. The stone pavement stretches about 2,000 feet between Court Avenue and Beale Street and covers about 11 acres. First major paving project occurred 1859 -1869. Final phase occurred 1879-1881.