Mid-Century Architecture in Memphis with Aften Locken

In this episode of Memphis Type History: The Podcast, I talk to Aften Locken, the face behind one of my favorite Memphis Instagram feeds – @midcenturymemphis.

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Aften takes us back to the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s – very important in understanding mid-century modern architecture. Then, she schools us on how to recognize key aspects of these structures… Here’s a hint: Does it look like it’s from The Jetsons? It’s probably mid-mod!

Some of her favorites in Memphis from each decade include many of our favorite barbecue joints, the Lorraine Motel, the Memphis College of Art, the Memphis airport, the Cossitt Library, Regions Bank on Lamar Ave, and Visible Music College in downtown Memphis.

Alexander Marble & Tile built in 1961: Example of Mid-Century Modern Architecture in Memphis, TN

Aften also regales us with a story of jukebox distributors Sammons-Pennington located at 440 Madison Avenue (now home to Holiday Flowers’ events location).


Finally, we wrap up with tips for becoming architectural explorers in Memphis. The full “Day of Mid-Mod in Memphis” itinerary can be found on Patreon at (become a patron for access!)

Links Mentioned:

Follow @midcenturymemphis on Instgram

More from Aften at


Sammons-Pennington Distribution

Jukebox Repair Letter from Elvis

Sears Crosstown:

Sears Crosstown: The Final Tour

General Information:

Memphis Heritage Commission

Urban Renewal Project

“A Survey of Modern Public Buildings in Memphis, Tennessee from 1940-1989,” Askew, Gorman, Pounders, 2010

Architects of Note:

Alfred Aydelott (Government buildings in Civic Center Plaza, ofOffice in Midtown on Peabody Avenue)

Walk C. Jones (Catholic Boys High School Gymnasium)

Francis Mah (Southern College of Optometry, Hyatt Hotel)

Roy Harrover (MCA, Memphis Airport)

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