1st Hand Account of 1927 Flood

Charles French was 7 years old in the Flood of 1927. His first hand account describes sandbags several feet high lining Front Street to protect downtown Memphis, houses floating downstream, and the giant sternwheeler steamboat Sprague rescuing 20,000 people in Arkansas and bringing them to safety on the Memphis bluff. Click HERE to read his account.

Blues Captured Tragedy of Past Floods

"When the Levee Breaks" by Memphis Minnie and Joe Mccoy.

Water Rising - Events Cancelled on Waterfront

Forecasts warn the Mississippi River will reach flood level by Wednesday and continue rising to record levels. The River is expected to crest at Memphis on May 8 at approximately 44', but may go higher according to the National Weather Service.

Water levels reached 45.8' in the flood of 1927

and 48.7' in the flood of 1937.

A Clean-Up of McKellar Lake sponsored by the City, City Beautiful, local businesses, students, and community organizations including FfOR had been scheduled for Saturday but is now postponed until waters recede.

The 30th Annual Outdoors Inc. Canoe & Kayak Race, scheduled for May 7, has been cancelled.

Honors for Cossitt Library's Inger Upchurch

Cossitt Library is a public treasure on our riverfront's Promenade, and Inger Upchurch is a staunch guardian of this historic property - the first public library (1893) in Memphis. On April 29th, she will be honored at Tri-State Defender 4th Annual Women of Excellence Awards, and FfOR will be there to applaud! FfOR is a member of Friends of Cossitt which is represented on the board of Friends of the Library of Memphis and Shelby County. And we are friends of Inger Upchurch!

A lifelong Memphian, Inger Upchurch has a strong sense of place and Cossitt Library's place in the history of Memphis, including Cossitt's being the first Tennessee Literary Landmark, recognizing its role in advancing the career of author Richard Wright (1908-1960). In the 1920s Wright was denied access to the segregated library. Through the help of a white co-worker, he used a "fake" library card to access Cossitt's books, a story he recounts in his famous autobiography Black Boy. "It would have been impossible for me to have told anyone what I derived from these novels, for it was nothing less than a sense of life itself," he wrote. To read "The Library Card," click HERE.

Please join us in congratulating Inger Upchurch for her honors so well-deserved!
E-mail: Inger Upchurch at Upchurchi@memphislibrary.org

Greenline already Benefitting Local Economy

ABC/24 takes a look and reports the positive effects of the Greenline and what it means to the local economy. It's happened in other cities and now Memphis is seeing the benefits.

Connect the dots & bring it on down to the Riverfront!!

$75M & 10 Years Later on the Riverfront

The Commercial Appeal reports the Riverfront Development Corporation (RDC) has spent $75.6 Million on the riverfront with nearly 95% of that being taxpayer money. Click HERE for the article by Tom Charlier.

"Friends" Joins MS River Network

Friends for Our Riverfront is proud to be part of the MS River Network, a coalition of 30 non-profit organizations, funded by the McKnight Foundation, who share common goals and are working together to protect OUR River.
  • Land Goal: To restore, protect and reconnect environmentally sensitive lands and use working lands sustainably on a continental scale.

  • Water Goal: To reduce water pollution, restore the river as habitat, and improve natural processes and features that can reduce flood damage.

  • People Goal: To urge people of the Mississippi River Watershed and the nation to treat the Mississippi as a national treasure to be protected, restored, enjoyed and sustainably developed, and as a resource that enriches both the economy and the quality of life.
Click HERE to learn more about 1 MS, use the map to find parks and events up and down stream, and become a MS River "citizen."

Network organizations span the length of the River. For a list, click HERE. In our region, MS River Corridor-TN and Ducks Unlimited in Memphis, Quapaw Canoe Company in Clarksdale, and National Audubon Society in Vicksburg are also partners.

Stewards of our Waters - How they're Saving San Francisco Bay

We're late getting a start on stewardship of our waterways in Memphis, but Wolf River Conservancy and Sierra Club are two of the groups who’ve been making a difference. The conference at Bridges, "Gathering at the River,” and the recent clean-up by Living Lands and Waters at McKellar Lake brought the issue to the forefront.

Now there’s the upcoming 4-part documentary “Saving Our Bay.” Spectacularly beautiful and narrated by Robert Redford, it will air on WKNO each Wed. night April 20 – May 11 at 9pm. It’s the story of the San Francisco bay from its origin to its restoration as citizens became its stewards. It can be the story of our own rivers - the Mississippi, Wolf, Nonconnah, and the creeks and basins that drain into them. (Click HERE for a map.)

Photo of our own Carol Lee Royer paddling in the clean waters of San Francisco Bay.

At Our Doorstep - Getting on the Water

Natural beauty and recreational opportunity is right at our doorstep; Alan Spearman's photo captures it.

Today the only legal put-in for boats on the Memphis side of Wolf River Harbor is a small ramp under the Willis/Auction Street Bridge. If we want more recreational opportunities and a harbor full of boats, that needs to change. It's one good reason to repair, maintain, and open-up the Memphis Cobblestone Landing - not as currently proposed with riprap, a steeper slope, and a barrier wall separating the land from the water, but as a real, functioning boat landing.

The Landing's original design is perfect for the River's rise and fall. With some TLC, a push to clean-up our waters, and an invitation to come on down, we'd be set for the next 150 years.