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Vance Lauderdale

Our trivia expert solves local mysteries of who, what, when, where, why, and why not. Well, sometimes. Read more

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Dear Vance: My parents told me they shopped at a store called McLellan’s, which was located somewhere Downtown. I thought they meant McCrory’s, but they insisted they had the name right. Can you help? — B.H., Memphis. Read more

Dear Vance: Where was the little restaurant called the Salad Bowl? I remember eating there a few times in the 1970s. — E.G., Memphis. Read more

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Our trivia expert solves local mysteries of who, what, when, where, why, and why not. Well, sometimes. Read more

Ask Vance

Two boats left Memphis for a Mississippi River outing on May 8, 1925. Only the Choctaw came back. Read more

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Our resident historian reveals that Bemis Bag Company once manufactured, of all things... bags. Read more

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Our trivia expert solves local mysteries of who, what, when, where, why, and why not. Well, sometimes. Read more

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Early plans for downtown Memphis don't really compare to how it looks today. What about the helicopters? Read more

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Vance Lauderdale may not provide the answers you seek. But he probably won't lie to you. Read more

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An unusual advertisement from a 1908 guidebook poses a real riddle for our history columnist. Can he solve it? Maybe, maybe not. Read more

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Dear Vance: I have found a reference to old-time “radio exercise” programs and don’t know what they are talking about. Can you help? — A.N., Memphis. Read more

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Dear Vance: While removing the medicine cabinet from my old home in Midtown, I found a packet holding a razor blade sold by the Shelby Blade Company. Where was this business located? — E.G., Memphis Read more

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Dear Vance: I found this old photo of Herman’s Sandwich Shop at a local estate sale and wondered what you could tell me about this establishment. — T.M., Memphis. Read more

A gas station on Central, remembered as a landmark, once gave customers puppies as a promotion. Who ran this establishment? Read more

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Our resident curmudgeon explains why there are lion-like creatures stalking the ground floor of the Raymond James Tower downtown. Read more

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Our resident curmudgeon reluctantly tackles a 1930s barber shop mystery. Read more

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Dear Vance: An old building on Jackson has a painted sign with the words “Mr. Bower” below what seems to be an image of a dog. Who was Bower, and what kind of business was this? Read more

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Our trivia expert solves local mysteries of who, what, when, where, why, and why not. Well, sometimes. Read more

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Old ads for Memphis coal companies were sometimes downright bizarre. Read more

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He founded Holiday Inns, and he made sure everyone knew that when they visited his gravesite. Read more

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The guitarist and bassist for Booker T. and the MGs sported a cleancut look before they became musical superstars. Read more

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Robbing graves for their precious stonework and bronze art is an ongoing problem. Read more

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Our trivia expert solves local mysteries of who, what, when, where, why, and why not. Well, sometimes. Read more

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Memphian Henry Stiles met an unusual death. Was it murder, suicide, or accident? Read more

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This tiny establishment was one of the most popular eateries in town. Read more

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Their tombstones in Forest Hill Cemetery give clues about their colorful past. Read more

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Snakes.png

Illustration by Greg Cravens

The 1877 "snake shower" is always included when anyone lists "Weird Moments" from our city's past. But did it really happen? Read more

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One of the most popular restaurants in town bragged it was a "Dispenser of Southern Horse-pitality." Read more

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Yes, I know it was more than half-a-century ago, but maybe somebody's parents (or grandparents) played a role. Just look at their outfits and makeup! Read more

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I beg and beg, and I still can't find decent photos of this unique East Memphis restaurant. Read more

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Dear Vance: I found a set of snapshots inside an old book showing a portion of a graveyard. Do you think these were taken in Memphis? — T.R., Memphis. Read more

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Dear Vance: My parents told me they shopped at a store called McLellan’s, which was located somewhere Downtown. I thought they meant McCrory’s, but they insisted they had the name right. Can you help? — B.H., Memphis. Read more

Nearly everything you see here has changed. Read more

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Where was the photographer standing when he took this photo of a 1933 parade on Main Strret. Read more

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Drivers didn't worry about traffic jams when "The Most Expensive Highway in the World" opened in 1935. Read more

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This "large-letter" postcard from Memphis doesn't follow the usual model for these things. Read more

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