Friday, August 28, 2009

National Historic Landmark

The authors of the Garrow Report and others have recommended that Memphis nominate the Cobblestone Landing for designation as a National Historic Landmark (NHL). What does that mean?
National Historic Landmarks are nationally significant historic places designated by the Secretary of the Interior because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States. Today, fewer than 2,500 historic places bear this national distinction. Working with citizens throughout the nation, the National Historic Landmarks Program draws upon the expertise of National Park Service staff who work to nominate new landmarks and provide assistance to existing landmarks. [emphasis added]

The benefits of a National Historic Landmark include enhanced prestige and tourism, and special access to Federal grants.

Continues...Memphis currently has four National Historic Landmarks:
It should be noted that NHL status can be withdrawn, and that Beale Street Historic District (designated in 1966) is currently in jeopardy. From the NPS website:
Statement of Significance (as of designation - May 23, 1966):
This district is recognized for its importance in the development and influence of the "blues," a unique Black contribution to American music. This popular musical style was born on a Beale Street lined with saloons, gambling halls, and theaters. William Christopher Handy (1878-1958), a preeminent figure in the establishment of composed blues, wrote "Memphis Blues" here.

Deterioration, neglect of maintenance, and incompatible usage are threatening the landmark district.

Recommendation/Change since last report:
The city of Memphis should enforce maintenance of the historic buildings in the district by lease holders. The Tennessee State Historic Preservation Office has recommended an assessment of remaining cultural resources within the district.


Dickerson888 said...

I was confused by one thing in the CA article. It related that the cobblestones are from local quarries.

I learned long ago of a different source during Boy Scout Hikes of downtown Memphis.

I completely agree that the cobblestones should preserved.

There are repair issues but overall it should be left alone.

Not everything should be torn up/down and replaced with nice shiny venues.

They will end up destroying the very thing that makes Memphis special.

(p.s. I guess we should tear down the St Louis Arch since it's over 40 years old and put up a new shiny one.)

Mike said...

Garrow Report: "The stone used in the project was quarried in Illinois; contrary to popular and longstanding myth, it did not originate as ballast stones in sailing ships."