Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and the city’s Division of Housing and Community Development officially opened the Memphis Heritage Trail on March 30, 2018, offering both visitors and locals a new and exciting way to explore the city’s history and culture.
“Memphis Heritage Trail will be another great addition to our city as we educate and celebrate our rich cultural history,” the mayor said, and you’ll get no argument from us! The trail and the simultaneously-launched Memphis Heritage Trail app make it easier than ever to find historically significant and culturally rich sites in Memphis—of which there are many.
Heritage and history
One of the greatest (and most overdue) accomplishments of the Memphis Heritage Trail is the fact that it highlights African-American history and achievement. From the National Civil Rights Museum and the Blues Hall of Fame to the Clayborn Temple and the historic Mulberry Street shotgun houses, examples of the city’s African-American history are at the heart of the Memphis Heritage Trail.
The trail is a great way for Memphians to connect with our shared history, but it’s also more than that. This ongoing revitalization project will renovate existing structures and attract tourists to the area, all while revitalizing historically rich yet often-underserved parts of the city. As Felicia Harris, manager of planning and development for the trail, explained, “It’s about educating our future, our children, and our residents and our visitors alike about all the beautiful assets that Memphis has to offer.”
Exploring the trail
To start exploring the Memphis Heritage Trail, be sure to download the app, which makes it easy to find your way to historic sites across the city. There’s also an online map on the trail’s official website and, for those who are less technologically inclined, a printable driving brochure is available as well. After you set off, you’ll see wayfinding signage, beacon technology, art installations and historical markers along the trail, many of which provide historical information in addition to pointing the way.
Keep in mind that the Memphis Heritage Trail is a work in progress with two of the four planned trail loops currently open. The Civil Rights Loop and the Entertainment Loop are each about 2 miles long and include nearly 30 historic sites. Of course, there are many more miles and sites to come as progress on the trail continues.
To learn more about the Memphis Heritage Trail, download the app today and start exploring! The trail offers everyone from visiting tourists to longtime Memphis residents the chance to connect with the city’s rich cultural history in a deeper way than ever before.