Ask Anything About Memphis, We’ll Get The Answers

Posted by Holly Whitfield | July 15th 2015 8015 0

Local historian and tour guide Jimmy Ogle is a walking encyclopedia of Memphis, and now is your chance to take advantage of his genius.

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Photo of Jimmy Ogle by Mike Brown, via jimmyogle.com

Leave me your questions about history, people, places, architecture, and urban legends in the comments on this post by Friday, July 17 at 10 a.m., and my podcast cohost Kevin and I will get answers from Jimmy when we record the next edition of the I Love Memphis Podcast next week.

Think of this as an AMA ("ask me anything") on Reddit, except the questions are mostly for him and they should be about Memphis. Even if we can't get to all the questions on air, I'll do my best to answer the rest in an upcoming post.

Mr. Ogle is a bit of a legend around town: I've heard about his enthusiasm for our city and its past and present basically since I moved here. He's the one who helped me solve the mystery of the Yellow Robot Guys, the one who took my predecessor on a tour of the Memphis underground storm drains, and he gives regular free walking tours of different parts of the city (scroll down to see that tour schedule).

What would you ask the man who knows basically everything about Memphis history, people, places, and trivia? Leave the questions in the comments by 10 a.m. on Friday, July 17 and we'll pass them along!

Show Comments


  1. Billy Nation says:

    What would you say are contributing factors to the revival in Memphis pride and culture in our recent years?

  2. Alex says:

    This may be somewhat of a controversial question, but I'm curious, what's the civil rights history of some of the prominent long-run businesses in Memphis? For example were people of color always welcome at the Arcade?

  3. Sarah says:

    I recently toured Gettysburg and learned that there was a Memphis-based cannon maker name Quinby and Robinson. The tour guide told me he's been trying to track down information about this company, but he hasn't been able to find anything. Any ideas?

  4. JL says:

    The last 10 years has seen a lot of change and growth in certain areas of Memphis. What does Jimmy think the next 10 years will bring? What kinds of things does he think he'll be showing on his tours then? 

  5. John Joseph Guinozzo III says:

    When did the University of Memphis start playing football?

  6. Roy Barnes says:

    What's Memphis' weirdest street name (November 6, 1934 excepted) and the story behind it?

  7. Felipe Olvera says:

    How did the infrastructure of Memphis come to be, why we are not closely connected/a grid like city similary to NYC? What are the trends of "flight" patterns?

  8. Katie Walsh says:

    I'd love to know the origin story of the Chinese Sub Shop!  And Wild Bills!  Such completely Memphis places.  There has to be a history!

  9. Meghan Stuthard says:

    1) I heard that the Turner milk factory on Madison sits on top of an ice skating rink. That true? 2) What's the story behind the face in side of that one Rhodes College building? 3) I work on South Main and our building has a basement. My coworker told me that our basement used to be the storefront of our building, and that most of South Main is actually elevated a story above where it used to be. I think he's full of it, but he said that if I go down in the basement and walk towards the street, I'll be able to tell. I'm absolutely not going to do that, so I turn to you. 

  10. Meghan Stuthard says:

    Oh! And another one! 4) Where exactly was the Battle of Memphis fought? I know it was "north" of Memphis, but how far north? Where could I stand on the riverbank and look at exactly where it occurred? 

  11. Sammie says:

    ive always wondered about November 6th street sign? What its significance? My birthday is November 6th so I've always wondered…

  12. G.E. Waddell says:

    Near Court Square, there is the Burch Porter and Johnson Building, and across the street there is the high rise 147 Jefferson Building that is now closed.  Caddycorner to the Burch, Porter & Johnson building is a law office and studio at 140 Jefferson Avenue and inside there is a brick wall that is apparently original going back to the 1800s.  Down the years I've heard the 140 Jefferson building was the first hospital in Memphis, a Saloon and previously part of the Calvary Church.  Any ideas on what 140 Jefferson used to be? Here's the Google Streetview:  https://www.google.com/maps/place/140+Jefferson+Ave,+Memphis,+TN+38103/@35.146797,-90.050579,3a,75y,22h,90t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sSCwa0BiRWETT978FZRCh4Q!2e0!6s%2F%2Fgeo0.ggpht.com%2Fcbk%3Fcb_client%3Dmaps_sv.tactile%26output%3Dthumbnail%26thumb%3D2%26panoid%3DSCwa0BiRWETT978FZRCh4Q%26w%3D374%26h%3D75%26yaw%3D22%26pitch%3D0%26thumbfov%3D120%26ll%3D35.146797,-90.050579!7i13312!8i6656!4m2!3m1!1s0x87d57e936e6a02db:0x6b47ffce4bb476c8!6m1!1e1

  13. What was the name of the original school newspaper at University of Memphis (now called Daily Helmsman)?

    What was the first full service restaurant to open in Memphis?

    First band to ever perform at Levitt Shell?

  14. tracy lannum says:

    the memphis state college paper was the tiger rag


  15. tracy lannum says:

    MUSIC IN THE 1930S

    The Shell’s history has special meaning for a town that takes its music seriously. During the 1930s and 1940s, the Shell was the site of the memorable Memphis Open Air Theater (MOAT) orchestra performances, light opera and musicals. In 1947 the Memphis Federation of Musicians launched its Music under the Stars series, free to the public.


    On July 30, 1954 Elvis Presley took the stage before headliner Slim Whitman. Elvis stole the show in what music historians call the first-ever rock and roll show. And it happened at the Shell in Overton Park.


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