PHOTO COURTESY OF “THE ARTWORK OF MEMPHIS,” THE GRAVURE ILLUSTRATION COMPANY (CHICAGO, 1926)
In the early 1900s, a publishing house in Chicago produced a series of softcover books called The Artwork of Memphis, which contain wonderful images of homes, churches, parks, cemeteries, and other local landmarks. One set of books came out in 1912, and — no doubt due to popular demand — another volume was produced in 1926. There may have been others, but these are the only ones I’ve seen so far.
This view shows South Belvedere as it appeared in 1926. I believe the first houses (and they were grand ones) were built along the street around 1910, so this shows the street in its infancy. What’s remarkable is how little it’s changed. Sure, the trees have grown up to form a lovely canopy, and it’s a rare day when you see so many vintage cars in one place, but anyone from 1926 who found themselves transported into the future would have no trouble recognizing where they were.
I don’t know who gets credit for that: the original city planners who laid out such a lovely boulevard, the members and volunteers of the Central Gardens Neighborhood Association, or other groups, but they certainly did a mighty nice job, didn’t they?