A Year’s Journey

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The Memphis Type History book and project have been quite an endearing journey. As an appreciation to the people we met in this city we love, we wanted to put together a little image collection of some of the places and people who made this project possible and delightfully memorable. Without these people and places, the stories in our book and blog couldn’t be documented.

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We sat in Leahy’s office with the employees and a resident who couldn’t stop recalling her blessed memories of Elvis Presley. This was a photograph one of the employees passed over to show us what the front lawn looked like in the eighties.

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We met with Jeff Balton of Balton Sign Co. who gave us a tour of the company and showed us the art of sign making.

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We learned the process of how to make a rubber stamp at Sign Smiths.

Turn-Star and Roto-Sphere Cover

We discovered Roadside Architecture, a wonderful blog of signs around the U.S. As it turned out, the traveler behind this site had met the inventor of the Joe’s Sputnik sign.

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We learned about a hotel we’ve only seen as an open lot. However, it once stood across the street from the Arcade in that very spot.

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We heard stories from Vicki Jackson, a girl who grew up loving downtown and Artiek Smith, a local artist and sign maker.

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We watched Memphis Jones light up a room at B.B. King’s.

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We watched a midnight drag show and learned a little bit about pole dancing at Drink-N-Drag with Erin Marie Adelman.

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We discovered a family’s history in roller skating and how important the role of the DJ is.

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We met my Memphis hero, June West, who I didn’t ask to take a picture with because I was afraid that would seem nerdy so I just took a picture of the inside of the Memphis Heritage house.

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We toured the Universal Life Insurance Company with Jimmie Tucker and the photographer who started Memphis Type, Jeremy Greene.

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We visited Soulsville, which now contains more than just a museum.

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We learned the significance of the Four Way restaurant in Soulsville from Willie Bates. He is someone who genuinely loves his community.

Photograph courtesy of Gabe Romero

Photograph courtesy of Gabe Romero

We toured the Sears Crosstown building just before it closed down for revitalization.

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We met Neil Cameron of the UK Elvis Travel Service/Strictly Elvis, who has shared a good number of fun facts on Memphis history with us. He calls Memphis his second home.

And now, here it is. A year of Memphis signs, stories, and memories wrapped up in 154 pages. Dear Memphis, we hope we’ve told these few stories of yours well.

Rebecca Phillips

I am a female born in the United States though I generally fear the border patrol. Buy me an ice cream cone and maybe I'll paint you something.

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