2023 Mysteries – Solved


2023 Mysteries – solved

check out some of the mysteries that have already been solved. IF YOU CAN HELP US with additional details, please submit information below!

updated mysteries!

DIG MEMPHIS MYSTERIES is a multi-week series of mysteries, all centered around a common theme. 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 record in the DIG archives.  To keep up to date with all DIG MEMPHIS MYSTERIES, follow us on Instagram at @digmemphishistory

Winter 2023


“Building near Union”. Robert Lanier Collection, DIG MEMPHIS (Digital ID: RLC250)

The title given to this photograph in our archive is “Building near Union”, but the description indicates that information is not conclusive. All we know is that it’s “a photo featuring construction around an apartment house or hotel, possibly on Union Avenue.”

Is this construction or a demolition? Is this building located on Union or perhaps a nearby street? If you know, please let us know in the comments box! 


This was solved through a collaborative effort. Several detectives sent in parts of the answer. Over on Instagram several people concurred that the intersection of Dunlap and Union is what was captured in the photograph. But looking in which direction?

Instagram user @mistr.kay elaborated that it appeared the photographer was standing alongside Health Sciences Park, looking across to Union. @b_m_boswell followed up suggesting the demolition was to make room for the UTHSC Dental building.@lesaispas concurred that the location was near what used to be the College of Social Work.

We received one submisstion through the website from a detective named Patrick, who summed up the findings nicely: “The building in the picture was located on the south east corner at the intersection of Union and South Dunlap street next door to the Scottish Rite Cathedral building. Today it is occupied by the UT Dental/Orthodontics building. There is a corner of a building, the University of Tennessee Health Science O.W. Hyman building, showing on the left side of the photo which can be seen on the google maps street image at this location.”

All of these details help to place our photograph near 35.138688, -90.033775.


“White house”. Robert Lanier Collection, DIG MEMPHIS (Digital ID: RLC149)

This week’s mystery photograph is another from our Robert Lanier Collection. Unlike many of our previous mysteries, this photo was taken fairly recently. The date on the image is May 20, 2008. The description only states, “A photo of the front of a white house.  The light pole has the number 916 on it.” 

We’re not sure what neighborhood this is or the street where this house is/was located. Can you help? If you recognize this house and can provide more details about where it is located, let us know in the comments box! 


This mystery was solved both on our Instagram account and through submissions on the web. The first submission we received incated that the home is at 916 Rayner Street, and though the home has been remodeled, the pole with the address is still there today.

@whattangledwebs on Instagram used Google Maps to confirm the location as 916 Rayner Street, placing the photograph around 35.120924, -90.011704.

Explore more mysteries:


Here are some resources that can help with your search.

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

Commercial Appeal Archives 1894-Today – ProQuest(link)

Historic Shelby County – Aerial Maps (link)

Maps of Memphis (link)

Vehicle Registration Plates of TN – Wikipedia (link)