September 10, 1884, is an important date in Memphis history, although one often forgotten.
This was the day that the final spike was driven for the Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad, later to become a part of the Illinois Central Gulf.
The railroad would open service between Memphis and Vicksburg, through the previously un-served Yazoo Delta. It opened the area to constant trade and year-round markets. Lumber, cotton, beans, and manufactured products were shipped on this new railroad.
Ever since the Battle of Memphis in June of 1862, the town had been in Union hands. This was especially galling to Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, since Memphis was his home town.
On September 10, 1864 Forrest staged a nighttime raid, hoping to free Confederate prisoners and capture two Union Generals, Washburne and Hurlburt, who were in command there. Forrest led about 1,500 men against a force of 6,000 Union soldiers. His forces arrived on Beale Street, and then split up.
Davy Crockett, folk hero, West Tennessee Congressman, bear-hunter, and martyr of the Alamo, had a colorful reputation, which he enjoyed and promoted. And his first entry into Memphis was a fitting addition to his legend.
Along with being an Indian Scout, frontiersmen, farmer, and politician, Crockett was an entrepreneur.
Hidden beneath the tall buildings and major venues of Downtown Memphis lies General Washburn’s Escape Alley, which is home to a significant piece of Memphis history.
Union Major General C.C. Washburn was in Memphis during the Union army’s occupation of the city during the Civil War. The alley, which runs from Front Street to Autozone Park, backed-up to the General’s home.
For the grand sum of $5.50, Memphis residents could have attended the only local performance of the Beatles. As one of only 14 stops during their summer tour, the Beatles scheduled two shows at the Mid-South Coliseum for August 19, 1966.
The Memphis engagement lives large in the lore of the Beatles for the controversy surrounding the concert. A month before the Memphis shows, a controversial article appeared in the magazine Datebook in which John Lennon was misquoted as he attempted to describe the hysteria surrounding the band’s fame.