Delta Queen May Sail River Again

An article in the Commercial Appeal has reported that the Delta Queen may leave its berth in Chattanooga and once again be allowed to carry overnight passengers on the Mississippi. Click HERE (paywall) for the story.

Here's a photo by Alan Spearman of the great sternwheeler docked in 2006 at Mud Island River Park in Memphis's Wolf River Harbor.

And for fun, some thoughts of nestling in on board.

Bass Pro's Sign Proposal for Pyramid & Downtown

UPDATE: Downtown Memphis Commission’s Design Review Board voted 5 -1 to approve Bass Pro's exterior Pyramid signs.  Click HERE.

Bass Pro's final proposal for adding a large number of commercial signs of all sizes to go on and around the Pyramid has been released and will be voted on by the Memphis Downtown Commission Design Review Board Tues., July 30, 2013.

Since these proposals will dominate the downtown and riverfront viewscape for the foreseeable future, please examine the details to insure that this meets with your approval. Click HERE for Bass Pro's application & DRB staff's report.

 Here are a few photos from the application and the map that shows proposed locations for the signs.
5-story structure for Front Street with digital ad/event signs facing N & S

entryway near TN Visitor's Center

monument style sign

map to indicate sign locations

bowling alley sign

for S, E, & W faces of Pyramid, each the size of 10 large highway billboards, silver & green halo light

If you have suggestions or comments, the DRB meeting will be open to the public or you mail email your comments to Brett Roler <> .  

Riverfront History & 2 New Markers to Tell It

Two new historic markers share some Memphis riverfront history and tell a family story to boot. Erected 2013 by the Shelby County Historical Commission, the Astor family of Memphis and the descendents of Charles Vincent Garavelli. 

Astor Park -
Yes, the Memphis Astors are kin to John Jacob Astor, the New York financier and 1st U. S. multi-millionaire. He amassed his fortune by establishing a global fur trading empire, and therein lies his connection to the Mississippi River and our Bluff City.

In the early days of colonial America, the River served as a major route for exploration and commerce, and Astor established a trading post at the top of Memphis's bluff near Beale Street. By 1823 explorers and commerce had headed farther west, and the Astoria Fur Company had given their building and land, which extended to the river's edge, to the city. The land remained undeveloped and, according to newspaper reports, was gradually eroding.  In the 1930s when Riverside Drive was being constructed, the eroded land, between Beale and Linden, was visible at low water. In 1938 the city created a park on the land at the foot of Beale and named it Astor Park in recognition of the original land gift. Later as landfill was added to create Tom Lee Park, Astor Park was encompassed in the larger park, and the name disappeared from maps.

Memphis Boat Supply -
Jump to the 1950s, and the Astor connection to River commerce was still intact. Charles Vincent Garavelli, who had married a Memphis Astor relative,  owned and operated the Memphis Boat Supply. The floating store served river traffic and was moored at the foot of Beale.

Historian Vincent Astor, author of "Memphis Movie Theatres" who receives much credit for saving the Orpheum Theater, has been instrumental in documenting and sharing this piece of Memphis riverfront history. Thank you, Vincent!

Canoe & Kayak Race 2013, Memphis

The water was up. The times were faster. It was a great morning on the riverfront - on water and on land - at the 32nd annual Outdoors Inc. Canoe & Kayak Race!

Happy Independence Day

There'll be fireworks on the Memphis riverfront (around 10 pm at Mud Island River Park) and in cities all across America. But this year eyes will focus particularly on on New York harbor - Lady Libery will re-open! 

Sandy flooded the 12-acre island on which the statue stands with surges as high as 8 feet, but Lady Liberty was spared. Hundreds of National Park Service workers from all over America spent weeks cleaning mud and debris, plus numerous other recovery efforts. The statue was dedicated in 1886 and welcomes about 3.5 million visitors.