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South Main Stories' Robert McGowan Jeffrey P Frye South Main Stories' Full Cover South Main Stories' Reviews Download a PDF sample of South Main Stories South Main Stories Buy South Main Stories on Amazon Buy our Books on our Paypal Shop Return to MurderSlim.com

"South Main had risen up mostly in response to the burgeoning railroad commerce of the first decades of the twentieth century. But when in the fifties both people and freight stopped traveling by train, the Memphis stations, Union and Central, were soon abandoned, and South Main declined. All but died. The 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King from the back window of one of those little South Main buildings was the mortal blow. By the time Thomas arrived on the street, the city had officially given South Main up for dead."
[Robert McGowan, from South Main Stories]

These stories are derived of the author's ten-year struggle (1982-1991) on behalf of the endangered South Main Street Historic District in downtown Memphis, Tennessee. The photographs are from a 1986 series of gelatin silver photos taken by McGowan in and near the district.

The stories focus in large measure on confrontations with inept and visionless city agencies and arts funding groups and the frustrations inherent in seeking to work with such entities toward district revitalization. Memphis' South Main Street Historic District, once neglected and deteriorating, much of it on the verge of demolition, is now, two or three decades later, a thriving, energetic mixed commercial/residential neighborhood with a distinctive arts vitality. South Main Stories conveys to the reader what it can be like for a neighborhood to make that transition and will therefore be of relevance to any adventurous and determined individuals involved in such an effort.

South Main Stories is designed by the artist Terri J. Jones.