2000 and Beyond

2000 - AutoZone Park, home of the Memphis Redbirds, opens at Union & Third downtown.

2001 - The Memphis Grizzlies play their first home game. The NBA team is the first major professional sports team for the City of Memphis; Memphis music legend Rufus Thomas, the longest running DJ in the history of radio, passes away; Peabody Place Retail and Entertainment Center opens; Gibson Beale Street Showcase opens.

2002 - Graceland celebrates its 50th anniversary; New Memphis arena, the FedExForum, breaks ground downtown at 149 Linden Avenue.

2003 - The Memphis Zoo gets its own pair of giant pandas, "Le Le" and "Ya Ya"; Soulsville USA: The Stax Museum of American Soul Music and Music Academy opens to the public; Memphis' antique trolley expands into the Medical Center/Midtown area.

2004 - Completion of $250 million arena-FedExForum, opens to public; Renovation begins for restoration of Court Square Gazebo to its original 1912 design.

2005 - U.S. Highway 61 in Tennessee renamed B.B. King Highway. The 79-year-old famed bluesman was on hand for the ceremony, but without the guitar he calls Lucille. "I'm not very good at talking and Lucille is asleep on the bus," King said. "Thank you Memphis. Thanks to all of you, God bless you."; Memphis proved to be a hot commodity in the movie industry. Films such as "Hustle & Flow," "Forty Shades of Blue" and "Walk the Line" were added to the ever-growing list of films shot in Memphis; Memphis assisted many Hurricane Katrina evacuees as they found their way to safety.

2006 - Craig Brewer's "Black Snake Moan" is filmed in Memphis. The Memphis Zoo celebrates its 100th anniversary, and opens "Northwest Passage exhibit" in March.

2007 - January 16 - A Groundbreaking ceremony was held for Lee's Landing Retail, Entertainment and Parking, a complex that will include Ground Zero Blues Club, a Clarksdale, Mississippi-based juke-joint and restaurant partly owned by Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman; The sweet sounds of soul music officially took center stage as Memphis celebrated 50 years of soul; COGIC Bishop G.E. Patterson died on March 20th.

2008 - 40th Anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King, Jr.; 75th Anniversary of the Peabody Hotel Ducks (which started as a mischievous prank in 1933, remains a Peabody tradition); The Orpheum celebrates its 80th anniversary.

Portions of this History Timeline come courtesy of the Memphis Shelby County Public Library.

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