- Memphis, TN
- Site Type:
- Public Housing, Civic Facilities
- New Deal Agencies:
- Public Works Administration (PWA), Public Works Funding
- John F. Highberger
- Anker Hansen, J. Frazer Smith, Walk C. Jones Sr.
- T. C. James & Company
Lauderdale Courts was one of the first public housing projects undertaken under the New Deal, and one of the few housing developments originated under the New Deal that is still standing. The Market Street slums were cleared in order to build the apartments near downtown Memphis, Tennessee. The one, two, and three story group homes contained 66 buildings, 449 units, and held one-through-five-bedroom apartments. The project was one architecturally designed to “promote a sense of community” through a central mall/courtyard which connected apartments to the open shared space.
One of the most famous tenants was Elvis Presley, who lived there from 1949-1953 with his parents, Vernon and Gladys. A young Elvis gave his first concerts in the courtyard, singing for his neighbors while developing the style that was influenced by the Beale Street blues nearby. The units were scheduled for demolition during the mid-1990s, but was preserved through the efforts of local developers, preservationists, and Elvis fans, with the support of Elvis fans nationwide. The Presley family apartment has been restored to replicate the period style during their residency.
Bond, B. G., & Sherman, J. (2003). Memphis in Black and White. Charleston, NC: Arcadia Publishing.
Johnson, J. (n.d.) The art of architecture: Modernism in Memphis 1890-1980. www.memphisheritage.org
Plaque on building.
Site originally submitted by Susan Allen on February 24, 2013.
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