1900s

1909 - W.C. Handy writes the "Memphis Blues", which is considered the first blues song ever put down on paper. Memphis adopts the commission form of government.

1911 - The University of Tennessee Medical School merges with the Memphis Hospital Medical College and the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

1912 - A major Mississippi River flood brings high water to downtown Memphis.

1916 - Clarence Saunders opens his first Piggly Wiggly store.

1923 - The Universal Life Insurance Company, one of the largest black-owned insurance companies in the nation, is founded.

1925 - The present Peabody Hotel opens to the public. Tom Lee rescues 32 people when the excursion boat M.E. Norman capsizes in the Mississippi River.

1928 - The Orpheum Theatre opens; replaced Grand Opera House.

1937 - The Mississippi River Great Flood devastates huge area; thousands of homeless brought to Memphis.

1939 - City purchases the local utility company and renames it Memphis Light, Gas & Water Division.

1942 - The Naval Air Station at Millington is built.

1943 - The Army (now Defense) Depot and the Mallory Air Force Depot built.

1948 - Construction on the Memphis Harbor project begins.

1950s - Memphis named the country's quietest, cleanest and safest city on several occasions.

1951 - Tri-State Defender, local black newspaper, begins publication.

1952 - Kemmons Wilson opens his first Holiday Inn on Summer Ave.

1954 - E.H. Crump, Memphis political leader for 45 years, dies. Elvis Presley gives his first concert in Memphis.

1958 - Stax Records, creator of the "Memphis Sound," organized.

1960s - Federal court decisions end segregation in the city's public libraries, schools, parks and recreation facilities.

1962 - St. Jude Children's Research Hospital founded by entertainer Danny Thomas.

1968 - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. assassinated Apri1 4 at the Lorraine Motel while in Memphis to support the Sanitation Workers' strike.

1972 - Federal Express Corporation organized.

1973 - Busing begins in order to bring about full integration of schools.

1976 - Benjamin L. Hooks elected executive director of the NAACP. Victorian Village named historic district.

1977 - Elvis Presley dies at Graceland on August 16.

1982 - Mud Island Park and River Walk open. Elvis Presley?s Graceland mansion opens to the public.

1983 - Redeveloped Beale Street opens as a tourist attraction. Jesse H. Turner becomes first black to serve as chairman of the Shelby County Board of Commissioners.

1986 - Lighting of the Hernando DeSoto Bridge features 2,000 lights in a giant M.

1987 - Ramesses the Great initiates the Wonders Series.

1990 - World War II Memphis Belle moved to Mud Island.

1991 - Dr. W.W. Herenton elected as city's first black mayor. National Civil Rights Museum and Memphis Pyramid open.

1993 - Downtown trolley begins operation.

1996 - Memphis boasts a Nobel Prize winner and four Olympic gold medalists.

1997 - Memphis gets a Triple-A professional baseball team, the Memphis Redbirds.

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