Tuesday, October 11, 2011

[Book Review] LOST MEMPHIS by Laura Cunningham

Nonfiction/Memphis History

Wayne reviews LOST MEMPHIS by Laura Cunningham (History Press, 2010)

Have you ever wanted to know what the riverfront looked like a hundred years ago or what happened to the giant shoe that was once located on Lamar Avenue? If so, then Lost Memphis, by library assistant and local historian Laura Cunningham is the book for you. As she writes in the introduction, the book “offers on a glimpse of Memphis, from its earliest beginnings to the present. It focuses on aspects of the city’s history that no longer exist, whether due to urban renewal, advancements in technology, or changes in society.” But what a glimpse it is.

Cunningham takes us on a fascinating journey into the Bluff City’s forgotten past. In the book we see the cobblestoned riverfront piled high with cotton, the Frisco Bridge being constructed, and what the city’s first amusement park looked like. In addition we learn many fascinating tidbits about the Bluff City, such as the time a former prime minister of Australia once lost his pants in the lobby of the Admiral Benbow Inn and that the Fortune’s Ice Cream parlor on Union Avenue offered the nation’s first drive-in service. Lost Memphis provides readers the opportunity to travel back in time to see the Bluff City as it looked in the 19th and 20th Centuries.

Wayne Dowdy, Business and Social Sciences Department

Note: Laura Cunningham is also the author of Haunted Memphis (previously reviewed). She was also one of many local authors at the library's first ever Bookstock event. View photos from Bookstock on the library's Facebook page.

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