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Alex Burr - hester_nec

U S 51 - Memphis, Tn

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For some time now I've been tracing 51 thru Memphis - and I finally got it back to 1926, from a 1926 Automobile Blue Book.


From the description in the book the route, in 1926, ran north on Main from Main and Court, at the park, following the trolly. You made a right turn onto Jackson, made a right at a 5 corner at a church and then left onto 7th Street. I was over that way the other day, and it's now a 4-corner, but you can see a trace where the 5th street went.


Following 7th the route curves left, today joining 2nd Street. From that point the route followed 2nd up and to the right onto Whitney, then crossing the current 51 (Thomas Street) and a little further on bearing left becoming Millington Road.


Moving ahead about 10 years to a 1937 AAA tour book the route changed a bit. It's not quite clear, but it looks like it followed Main to Chelsea - but from that point it's very vague. I'm of the opinion that it ran along Chelsea to the current Thomas Street, then turned north. I know Thomas was there in 1937 and there is a bridge not far north of Chelsea that has railings that fit the 1930's styling.


Going south the ABB routing is shown as starting at Main & Court, go south on Main to Monroe and turn left for two blocks, turn right on 3rd and follow south to McLemore, then east to Mississippi Blvd. Follow Mississipppi and turn left on Kerr, heading east and pick up Mississippi Blvd again (this area is now pretty much buried under I-240, but Mississippi Blvd. does follow I-240 south to Alice Avenue where it ends. From that point on no streets or roads are mentioned, and the routing further south, while following the current 51 south alignment, thru Hernando, Coldwater and on south apparently turning south of Enid, down by Oakland and going southwest on what is now MS 35 to Charlestown, then south to Greenwood. There is no mention of a routing from Memphis down thru Grenada and Winona given in 1926.


Things had changed a bit 10 years later. A 1936 AAA tour guide map of Memphis shows the southbound routing going east on Linden Avenue to Lamar, then south along Bellvue (Elvis Presley Blvd today). Like the northbound routing, southbound routing has also changed, mainly due to the intersatate routings. Today, 51 routes out Union Avenue, under I-240, then turns south on South Bellvue (Which becomes Elvis Presly Blvd south of S. Parkway E.


Happy Traveling.



Alex Burr

Memphis, TN

Edited by Alex Burr - hester_nec

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