Poster & Festival Link River History and Art

Dolph Smith's poster links our early river history to two days of street art and activities on South Main - River Arts Fest 2011, Oct. 21 & 22.

The 1st river steamboat headed from Pittsburgh down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to Memphis and New Orleans in 1811, but most early river traffic floated downstream by canoe, keelboat, and flatboat.

Keelboats were usually long, canoe-shaped, and had a mast for sailing. Flatboats on the other hand were raft-like, rectangular, and built of oak planks with sides 2-3 feet high. Many had a shed in the rear for horses and cattle and a forward cabin for the owner and his family. To go upstream the boats had to be poled or dragged. Instead most flatboats, called "the boat that never came back," were broken up at the end of their journey and the lumber used to build houses and furniture.

Wolf River flowed into the Mississippi just north of today's Pyramid and provided safe harbor for the boats and their cargo, including whiskey from Middle and East Tennessee. The whiskey was shipped on flatboats to Natchez where it brought $2 a gallon, twice the going price in Nashville.

A famous flatboat visit: In 1828, then 19 year-old Abraham Lincoln, passed through Memphis on his journey down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans.

The Mississippi River Museum at Mud Island River Park has a life-size replica of a flatboat and the museum is open Tues. - Sun. from 10 am - 5 pm. Tickets: adults/$10; seniors (60+)/$9; youth 5-11/ $7; children 4 and under/free.

A Special Treat on the Memphis Riverfront

The Nina & Pinta have sailed into Memphis and are docked at the Memphis Cobblestone Landing. Well, actually life-size replicas of Christopher Columbus's boats, and they'll be here for public viewing and on-board tours through Oct. 24th.
What a sight!

For more information on Columbus's voyage and ships, click HERE.
For more information on replicas and the Columbus Foundation, click HERE.

Cobblestone Landing - A Memphis Icon & Living History

Joe Spake captures the Landing's beauty and the tragedy of its neglect.


History of Memphis Parks, & YES they started at the River

As Richard J. Alley wrote for the Commercial Appeal,
When Memphis was established in 1819, parks and open spaces were as much a part of the vision as the Mississippi River, commerce and cotton. With a total of 36 acres decreed by the founders (the earliest being Court Square, Market Square, Exchange Square, Auction Square and the promenade along the bluff), Memphis established itself as a city on the cutting edge of culture, recreation and meeting the needs of the community."

Click HERE for the article, a concise, fascinating outline of Memphis Park history.

Today, with activists and leaders intent on expanding and utilizing existing green space as an amenity to attract people and new jobs to Memphis, our parks and public spaces provide the opportunity.

2 Experiments / 2 Events for a Better Memphis

Broad Street Water Tower Wrap
Sears Light-Up

- 2 community experiments that don't cost a fortune and give citizens a chance to help build a better Memphis!* Click BROAD and SEARS.

-2 fun events this month:
Broad Avenue Fall Art Walk
Fri. Oct. 14

* These are the kinds of inexpensive experiments the Project for Public Spaces recommended for the Memphis riverfront. Take a look; click HERE.