DIG MEMPHIS MYSTERIES


DIG MEMPHIS MYSTERIES

LOOKING FOR A FUN ACTIVITY TO ENGAGE IN FROM HOME? WANT TO EXPLORE MEMPHIS and still practice social distancing?  WE NEED YOUR HELP! EACH WEEK WE’LL BE POSTING IMAGES FROM DIG MEMPHIS THAT ARE MISSING CRUCIAL DETAILS.  SEE IF YOU CAN HELP US FILL IN SOME OF THE GAPS!

Here are some resources that can help with your search.

City Directories 1849-1943 – Shelby County Registrar (link)

Commercial Appeal Archives 1894-Today – Newsbank (link)

Historic Shelby County – Aerial Maps (link)

Maps of Memphis (link)

Vehicle Registration Plates of TN – Wikipedia (link)

Recently added images will appear first. To see older posts or access our solved mysteries, scroll to the bottom of the page.

If you suggest an answer, please share with us how you solved the mystery!

Include your name, and we’ll give you credit on the item record.

10/19/2020:

“Hollywood Avenue”. Memphis Streetscapes Collection, DIG Memphis. (Digital ID Street0524)

This photograph is a challenge to locate due to the lack of notable structures or signs. The description on the digital records simply reads, “Traffic on Hollywood Avenue and fields surrounding.” The date is also unknown. If you are able to locate this spot along Hollywood Avenue and/or the time period in which the photograph was taken, please let us know below!


9/28/2020:

“Madison Avenue”. Memphis Streetscapes Collection, DIG Memphis. (Digital ID Street0496)

This image shows Northcross Machine Mfg. Co. on Madison Avenue, and the record indicates that the photograph was taken in 1950. Where along Madison Avenue was Northcross Machine Mfg. Co. located?


9/21/2020:

“Chelsea Avenue (2)”. Memphis Streetscapes Collection, DIG Memphis. (Digital ID Street0014)

The markings on the back of this photograph indicate that it was taken on April 18, 1936 and depicts Chelsea Avenue before the street underwent a paving project. The description does not include any more specific information that would let us know where on Chelsea Avenue this spot is located. Are you able to determine where the photographer was standing back in 1936?


8/24/2020:

” Suffrage parade “. Pink Palace Photograph Collection, DIG Memphis. (Digital ID PP1038)

100 years ago today, on August 24, 1920, Tennessee Governor Albert H. Roberts certified the state’s ratification of the 19th Amendment, sending it on to Washington, D.C. to be officially enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. So, for today’s mystery we’re highlighting one of the images from our Votes for Women online exhibit.

The description on the photograph states, “Women on a float bearing sign, ‘Tennessee Equal Suffrage Association, Inc.’ in front of Memphis Photo Supply on S. Main Street.”  What building is this?  Where was Memphis Photo Supply Company? 


8/3/2020:


“Idlewild Avenue”. Memphis Streetscapes Collection, DIG Memphis. (Digital ID Street0527)

The above image is another photograph that is part of the series showing old homes from around the turn of the 20th century. This on depicts a scene on an unpaved Idlewild Avenue. Are you able to recognize any of the old homes seen here?

“Hernando Street”. Memphis Streetscapes Collection, DIG Memphis. (Digital ID Street0519)

This 1895 photograph shows homes along Hernando Street. The age of the image and the placement of the camera make this mystery especially difficult to solve. We do not see many details of the homes; however, it is possible other photographs exist showing this area of Hernando Street. If you recognize where these homes would be located today, let us know!


7/27/2020:

“Houses on Washington Avenue “. Memphis Streetscapes Collection, DIG Memphis. (Digital ID Street0395)

This picture, c.1900, shows Victorian-era houses lining a stretch of Washington Avenue. Nearly all of the grand homes along Washington have been lost over time, making it difficult to pinpoint exactly where this photograph was taken. Are you able to recognize any of the old homes seen here?


7/13/2020:

“Scene on Speedway (2)”. Memphis Streetscapes Collection, DIG Memphis. (Digital ID Street0354)

This photo shows the Speedway with trees and gardens along both sides. Can you help us pinpoint what spot along the Speedway is shown in this image?


7/6/2020:

“Madison Avenue” . Memphis Streetscapes Collection, DIG Memphis. (Digital ID Street0511)

This photograph of Madison Avenue was taken in 1953. The description in our archive states, “Business signs on Madison Avenue, including: Toof Printers and Ace Wallpaper and Paint Stores”; however, the exact location has not been added to our records. Can you help determine the coordinates and/or street address of the buildings seen here?

“Madison Avenue” . Memphis Streetscapes Collection, DIG Memphis. (Digital ID Street0495)

This 1950 photograph shows another area of Madison Avenue, lined with automobiles and businesses. Our records do not currently include geographic information for this image. Can you determine where the photographer was standing when this picture was taken?


6/29/2020:

“Scene On Poplar” . Memphis Streetscapes Collection, DIG Memphis. (Digital ID Street0829)

This black and white postcard shows homes along Poplar Avenue at the turn of the twentieth century. The caption on bottom of postcard reads, “Scene on Poplar. 1900.” Poplar Avenue has changed dramatically over the course of the previous century. Can you determine what block of Poplar Avenue is shown here?

Residences on Union Avenue, 1900. Memphis Streetscapes Collection, DIG Memphis. (Digital ID Street0377)

These two photographs (each measuring 7.25 x 4.25 inches) labeled “Scenes on Union Avenue” show Victorian-era houses on Union Avenue. The notation “1900” is written in the lower right corner. Can you help us determine the coordinates or street addresses for each of these locations?


6/22/2020:

East McLemore Street. Memphis Streetscapes Collection, DIG Memphis. (Digital ID Street0482)

This photograph, taken on November 15, 1950, is described as, “View of East McLemore Avenue”. Our records do not include any specific coordinates or cross streets. Can you help determine what stretch of East McLemore is shown in this photograph?


6/08/2020:

Main Street. Memphis Streetscapes Collection, DIG Memphis. (Digital ID Street0575)

This old photograph shows a horse-drawn carriage pulling a boat. A crowd of onlookers can be see lining the cobblestone street, watching what was a likely a parade. The description on the digital item identifies this as Main Street, although it’s not clear if the physical photograph was labeled that way. Can you confirm this is Main Street and pinpoint the exact location?


5/18/2020:

Jackson Avenue construction in 1938. Memphis Streetscapes Collection. DIG Memphis. (Digital ID Street0541)

Here’s another Jackson Avenue mystery from May 1938. This
photo shows surfacing work being done as part of a Works Progress Administration project. Without many notable signs, it is difficult to determine where this photographer was standing. Can you locate this stretch of Jackson Avenue?