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Friday, May 20, 2016

Raleigh Springs Mall Memphis TN

Front Entrance to the Raleigh Springs Mall

Raleigh Springs Mall is an enclosed shopping mall serving the city of Memphis, Tennessee, USA. It is located on the north side of Memphis, on Austin Peay Hwy. just north of Interstate 40. Opened in 1971 as one of the city's first two shopping malls (the other being Southland Mall), owned and managed by Angela Whichard, Inc., Raleigh Springs Mall originally featured about seventy stores later to be remodeled and feature a twelve-screen multiplex, with four anchor stores, formerly occupied by Sears, JCPenney, Goldsmith's and Dillard's. The theater closed in December 2011, Sears closed in April 2011, and the other three anchors closed in 2003.

 Sign for the Mall


 Center Court In Front of Goldsmith's Entrance
Raleigh Springs Mall opened in 1971. Developed by the Edward J. DeBartolo corporation (now known as Simon Property Group) as one of the first two malls in the Memphis area, it featured four major anchor stores: national chains JC Penney and Sears, as well as local chains Lowenstein's (which was sold to Dillard's in 1982) and Goldsmith's. A Woolworth dime store also served as a junior anchor next to JC Penney; after the Woolworth store closed in the 1990's, it was replaced with a twelve-screen multiplex (that closed December 5, 2011).
 Center Court Of The Mall
Initially the dominant mall in the Memphis area, Raleigh Springs Mall would lose several stores over time as newer malls opened, such as Hickory Ridge Mall and Mall of Memphis. Hickory Ridge Mall, in turn, has lost most of its national tenants as well, while Mall of Memphis has been demolished; both of these malls lost most of their business to the newer Wolfchase Galleria, which opened in 1997.
  A Jewelry Store near front Entrance
By the 2000's, Raleigh Springs Mall had begun to lose many of its tenants. In early 2003, Dillard's announced that its location at Raleigh Springs Mall would be one of several stores closed that year. Goldsmith's parent company Federated Department Stores (now known as Macy's, Inc.), who was in the midst of significant corporate reorganization at the time, announced that the Goldsmith's location at Raleigh Springs would be shuttered by April of the same year. Finally, the JC Penney store (which had been downgraded to a JC Penney outlet center along with Dillard's) was closed as well, leaving Sears as the only anchor store.
 Vacant Stores
Starting in 2005, Wal-Mart began negotiations with Simon Property Group to open a Supercenter at the mall. These plans would call for the demolition of the former JC Penney space, as well as the mall's movie theater, to make way for the Supercenter. However, these plans never materialized, and Wal-Mart signaled its intentions of staying at its current location when it started renovating it in early 2010.
In January 2011, Sears confirmed that its location in the mall was to close on April 3, 2011. This left the Raleigh Springs Mall without an anchor store. 
Demolition on the former J.C. Penney's anchor store at the north end of the mall began in November 2012 due to severe vandalism and break ins. Demolition on the vacant Sears automotive store occured May 2016. Demolition of the entire mall is occurring due to the city trying to take over the mall to make way for a civic center.
 Tearing Down the J C Penny's Portion of the Mall
Crews are ripping down part of the Raleigh Springs Mall.
 Back Door to newest Theater and the Foundation of J.C. Penny's looking toward Austin Peay
Demolition began Tuesday on the old J C Penney.
People familiar with how vibrant the Raleigh Springs Mall once was say it has been on life support for quite some time. On Tuesday, the plug was pulled on at least one part of the building.
"There was nothing left but to tear it down," said Juanita Jones, Raleigh Springs Mall manager.

Crime and copper theft has been all too common inside the mall's abandoned buildings in recent years.
Mall manager Juanita Jones is passionate about ridding the Raleigh shopping center of its negative reputation.
 Closed Order Pick-up Area
Jones says the revitalization is a part of preserving those memories while creating new ones for future generations.
New stores, government offices, and a community college are all possibilities for the space. Jones says she has been meeting with city developer Robert Lipscomb and Memphis Mayor A C Wharton about rebirth.
 Closed Sears Service Center
"I'm already talking to a huge, big chain about coming in here and building their store here," said Jones.
Raleigh residents like Donald Green say any change is welcome.
"Whatever they do is going to benefit me," he said.
"This community wants this mall. They need this mall," said Jones.
 Side view of Closed Dillard's Store
Jones said the demolition of J C Penney should be complete by the end of the week. She says she is soliciting community support and anyone or any business interested can stop by the mall at any time.
Present Day:
The part of the mall that was the J C Penny's building has been demolished and all that is left of that portion of the mall is the foundation. 
 Closed Movie Theater by Demolished J.C.Penny's Building On Yale Rd. Side
All of the  anchor stores have closed as well as the newer movie theater. All that is left in operation are a few small stores that are still in operation near the front entrance of the mall.
There are a few new stores that have been added to the community of Raleigh but for the most the area around the mall most of the building that surrounded it have been razed.
 Outside Entrance To The Dillard's Store (Glass Front is covered up)
Jan. 17, 2003--The Goldsmith's store at Raleigh Springs Mall is scheduled to close in mid-April, leaving the mall with Sears as the only remaining full-scale department store.
 Mall Directory
Goldsmith's parent, Federated Department Stores Inc., announced the closure Thursday, along with plans to close 10 other stores and cut 2,000 jobs.
Federated said it expects flat sales and earnings for fiscal 2003.
Looking From the J.C. Penny's Store toward center of Mall

Last month J.C. Penney announced it was closing its catalog outlet center at the Raleigh mall on Jan. 25, 2003.
A spokesman for mall owner Simon Property Group Inc. said it's too soon to say what will become of the store, which is owned by Simon and leased to Goldsmith's.
At Front Entrance by the Restrooms
Simon Property Group also owns Oak Court Mall and the Wolfchase Galleria, both of which have Goldsmith's stores.
Not-so-rockin' Raleigh:
Hickory Ridge isn't the only longstanding mall to undergo changes. In many ways, Raleigh Springs Mall experienced many of Hickory Ridge Mall's growing pains first.
 Stores that were located near the Sear's Anchor Building
Built in 1971, Raleigh Springs Mall was at the forefront of America's mall craze. It was developed by the former Edward J. DeBartolo Corp., one of the leaders of U.S. mall design and construction.
Goldsmith's Customer Pick-up Area
"It was a bell ringer," said Gary Myers, who was the mall's general manager from 1977 to 1980. "There was only Southland and Raleigh Springs for that kind of shopping experience. It commanded lots and lots of customers."
 The Sears Customer Service Pick-up area
Myers, who now owns the Gary Myers Co., noted that many of Raleigh Springs' customers diminished over the years, drawn to the newer offerings out east. The loss of shoppers has resulted in a loss of occupancy.
"There's some small shops in there, trying to stick it out," Myers said. "They're leaking ever so slowly. They'll get to a point where it may not be worth it to keep it open. But, that hasn't happened yet.
 Sears outside Entrance
"Over the long haul, I would expect their business maybe to diminish a little bit unless there's some other traffic generator on the property."
Goldsmith's Parking and second floor entrance.
As to what traffic generators could salvage the mall, those aren't known at this time. Repeated calls to the Raleigh Springs Mall and to Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group Inc., which manages the mall, were not returned.
It all grown up and looking desolate now at the front entrance of the once beautiful Raleigh Springs Mall.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Loretta Lynn Shares The Heartbreaking Journey That Led Her To Jesus Christ

Loretta Lynn is arguably one of country music’s greatest legends of all time. But there are a few things about the talented singer many Americans don’t know.

I’ve always loved Loretta Lynn, but after learning a bit more about her life, I must admit that my admiration for this incredible woman has grown all the more.

In honor of Loretta Lynn’s 84th birthday last month (April 14), we’re taking a look back on the humble and challenging beginnings of this remarkable woman’s life.

Born on April 14, 1932, Loretta Lynn is an American country music singer-songwriter whose work spans over more than 50 years. But the “Queen of Country Music” hasn’t always had it easy.

Loretta was the second of eight children born to a poor coal miner named Theodore Melvin “Ted” Webb and his wife, Clara Marie “Clary,” in a small cabin in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky.
Loretta told Country Living, “My mommy and daddy had 8 kids, so there were 10 of us living in a small cabin in the mountains (pictured below). The winters were cold, so my mommy glued newspapers and pages from old Sears Roebuck catalogs to the wall to help keep the cold out. We didn’t have money for wallpaper, but my mommy made that old house stay warm and beautiful.”
To this day, you can visit Loretta Lynn’s humble childhood home, which is now maintained and preserved by Loretta’s younger brother, Herman.

Loretta was just shy of 16-years-old when she married 21-year-old Oliver “Doolittle” Lynn (aka “Mooney”) on January 10, 1948.

Their whirlwind romance was the definition of love at first sight. The young couple tied the knot just one month after they first met. Loretta’s life with Doolittle helped inspire the music she wrote.


One year into marriage the Lynns left Kentucky and moved to the logging community of Custer, Washington, while Lynn was seven months pregnant with the first of their six children.


Lynn’s hubby bought her a $17 Harmony guitar from Sears & Roebuck when she was 18. Over the course of the next three years, Lynn taught herself to play that little guitar.

Lynn began singing in local clubs in the late 1950s with the help, insistence, and support from Doolittle. Eventually, the talented singer started her own band, “Loretta and the Trailblazers.”

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 12.08.16 PM

But despite Loretta’s undeniable talent, she wasn’t always successful. Even when Loretta had her debut in Nashville, she and her husband stayed in their car the night before because they couldn’t afford a hotel.
After years of traveling the road and chasing her dreams, Loretta finally made it big. On February 2, 1960, 28-year-old Loretta Lynn signed her first contract and released a single entitled “Honky Tonk Girl.” 
Sadly, Lynn’s beloved father wouldn’t live to see his daughter become famous; he died the year before her big break.

When she wasn’t writing music, Loretta had her hands full raising her six beautiful children.

The Lynns had three children by the time Loretta was 19; and by the age of 20 she gave birth to their fourth child, Clara “Cissy.”
Loretta’s first song was written while she with her beautiful little family. Loretta shared, “One day we went fishing. I don’t know why I just sat down and wrote a song. But I remember being shocked that those lyrics just came pourin’ out of me.”

The beautiful singer had six children altogether with her husband, Doolittle:

– Betty Sue Lynn, November 26, 1948 – July 29, 2013 (aged 64) from emphysema
– Jack Benny Lynn, December 7, 1949
– Ernest Ray Lynn, April 12, 1951
– Clara Marie Lynn (Cissy), April 7, 1952
– Twins: Peggy Jean and Patsy Eileen Lynn, August 6, 1964

How Loretta managed a successful career in addition to her very-full household, we will never know!


Loretta Lynn has received numerous awards for her groundbreaking role in country music, including awards from both the Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music as a duet partner and individual artist. Lynn remains the most awarded female country recording artist. Loretta has 16 No. 1 hits, and over 70 chart-topping songs.

Loretta Lynn was a trailblazer in the music industry, paving the way for women across America.


In 2013, President Obama awarded Lynn the Presidential Medal of Freedom, acknowledging her legacy of “courageously breaking barriers in an industry long dominated by men.”
Obama awarded Lynn with the Medal and shared, “Lorretta Lynn was 19 the first time she won big at the local fair. Her canned vegetables brought home 17 blue ribbons and made her ‘Canner of the Year.’ Now that’s impressive! For a girl from Butcher Hollow, Kentucky, that was fame. Fortunately for us she decided to try her hand at other things than canning. Her first guitar cost $17 and with it this coal miner’s daughter gave voice to a generation, singing what no one wanted to talk about and saying what no one wanted to think about. Now, over 50 years after she cut her first record and canned her first vegetables, Loretta Lynn still reigns as the rule-breaking, record-setting Queen of Country Music.”

But despite her unparalleled success, Loretta Lynn hasn’t always had it easy. And for many years behind closed doors, Loretta’s life was almost anything but glamorous.

An unimaginable tragedy struck for the Lynn family on July 22, 1984. It was on that fateful day that Loretta’s second child and eldest son, Jack Benny, died tragically.

At only 34-years-old, Jack died while trying to cross the Duck River at the family’s ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. It was a heartbreaking a horrendous tragedy.

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But Jack’s death wasn’t Loretta’s only hardship. Behind her flawless smile, Loretta Lynn hid a dark secret.


In a shocking interview with CBS News in 2002, Lynn revealed the heartbreaking details of her husband’s scandalous affairs. Loretta explained that Doolittle would ‘regularly’ cheat, abuse her, and once even had the audacity to leave her while she was giving birth.
Lynn and her husband fought frequently; Lynn choked back the tears and forced a smile as she confessed, “[H]e never hit me one time that I didn’t hit him back twice.” Adding that her marriage with Mooney was “one of the hardest love stories.”

Lynn recalls in one of her autobiographies:
“I married Doo when I wasn’t but a child, and he was my life from that day on. But as important as my youth and upbringing was, there’s something else that made me stick to Doo. He thought I was something special, more special than anyone else in the world, and never let me forget it. That belief would be hard to shove out the door. Doo was my security, my safety net. And just remember, I’m explainin’, not excusin’… Doo was a good man and a hard worker. But he was an alcoholic, and it affected our marriage all the way through.”

It’s beyond obvious that many of Loretta’s heartbreaking songs were written thanks to her personal experiences throughout her roller-coaster of a marriage. But despite her husband’s horrendous behavior, Loretta never gave up on her marriage.

They’d been through hell and back, but Loretta’s whole-hearted devotion to her husband shined through her lyrics. And slowly but surely, Doolittle changed his ways.

Once while the couple was on a television show together, Loretta sang “Love Is The Fountian” to Doolittle as he held back tears, it was simply beautiful.

The couple was married for over 47 years when Doolittle passed away in 1996. For the last several years of his life, Lynn spent many hours caring for him due to his heart problems and complications from diabetes. Eventually, Doolittle’s hearing and vision also failed.
“My husband was my priority, I’d sleep in a couch right by the bed. If he made one grunt, I was awake. Not one move did he make that I wasn’t awake. You know, I’d still be doing it if he was here.”
Lynn’s famous hit song “I’m All He’s Got (But He’s Got All Of Me)” was dedicated to her husband after he passed away. And I could barely hold back the tears as I heard Lynn’s powerful tribute to her late husband.

Perhaps the reason for Loretta Lynn’s unparalleled success is her unashamed faith in Jesus Christ. Loretta shared,
“My daddy’s first cousin was a preacher, Elzie Banks, who I wrote a song about. All of us kids would sing in Sunday school as long as we could carry a tune. Gospel music and church is what I knew. We knew Sunday school, and the preacher, Elzie Banks. We had church in a little one-room schoolhouse that my great-grandfather built,” Lynn said.

Loretta’s faith is made obvious throughout her lyrics. And over the years, Loretta has released three gospel albums.

Her hit song,“Ten Thousand Angels” is just one of Loretta’s powerful gospel songs that gives all glory to her Savior, Jesus Christ.
Time and time again, Loretta has unashamedly sung the lyrics, “He could have called ten thousand angels to destroy the world and set Him free, He could have called ten thousand angels but He died alone for you and me.”
There has never been, and will never be, a country music artist more influential than Loretta Lynn. 

Loretta Lynn

Thank you Loretta Lynn, for paving the way for women in America. Your unwavering devotion to your family, unashamed faith in Jesus Christ, and God-given talent is simply undeniable. America needs more women like Loretta Lynn. Please share if you agree!


Hernando de Soto Bridge

HernandoDeSoto Bridge Pyramid.jpg
Hernando de Soto Bridge photographed from the Memphis Pyramid

The Hernando de Soto Bridge is a through arch bridge carrying Interstate 40 across the Mississippi River between West Memphis, Arkansas, and Memphis, Tennessee. Memphians also call the bridge the "New Bridge", as it is newer than the Memphis & Arkansas Bridge (carrying Interstate 55) downstream, and the "M Bridge", due to its distinctive shape. It is of similar construction to the Sherman Minton Bridge between Louisville, Kentucky, and New Albany, Indiana.

Hernando de Soto Bridge from Martyr's Park in Memphis


The bridge is named for 16th century Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto who explored this stretch of the Mississippi River, and died south of Memphis. His body was believed to have been buried in the Mississippi River after his death (although, according to legend, his body lay at the bottom of Lake Chicot in Arkansas, an oxbow lake of the Mississippi River about 130 miles south of Memphis.)


On August 23, 2007, an inspector discovered that a bridge pier on the approach bridge west of the river had settled overnight, and the bridge was subsequently closed to perform a precautionary inspection. The bridge was reopened later that day.

Bridge Illumination: 

Hernando de Soto  Bridge Illuminated At Night

At night, the bridge is illuminated by 200 sodium vapor lights along its "M" shape structure. The bridge was first lit on September 5, 1986, after $373,000 of private funds had been raised to fund the cost and installation of the lights. Due to some river traffic having issues with the lights at night reflecting on the water, the city installed a remote switch to toggle the lights on and off briefly while the vessel passes under the bridge. During the 2011 Mississippi River floods, the bridge became dark for about 2 months because the transformers that supply the electricity for the lights were removed to prevent damage to them by flood waters. The bridge was re-lit in a ceremony which occurred on June 21, 2011.

Seismec Retrofit Project:

Crossing into Memphis on the Hernando de Soto Bridge

Since 2000, the bridge has been under a seismic retrofitting project, which allows it to withstand a 7.7 magnitude earthquake. This is being done since the bridge is located within the New Madrid Seismic Zone and would not have been able to sustain that magnitude of an earthquake. Work is being completed as funds are available. As part of this project, the main span, approaches, and ramps for the downtown exit are being retrofitted. A bridge about 1 mile west of the main span was rebuilt with earthquake considerations. As the main span (the "M" portion) is located entirely within Tennessee, the funding formula is split 60%/40% between TDOT and AHTD. To date, $175 million has been spent with another $80 million expected.


The Frisco Bridge

Memphis, Harahan, and Hernando de Soto Bridges.jpg
Memphis & Arkansas Bridge, left
Frisco Bridge, center
Harahan Bridge, right

The Frisco Bridge, previously known as the Memphis Bridge, is a cantilevered through truss bridge carrying a rail line across the Mississippi River between West Memphis, Arkansas and Memphis, Tennessee.


At the time of the Memphis bridge construction, it was a significant technological challenge and is considered to be chief engineer George S. Morison's crowning achievement. No other bridges had ever been attempted on the Lower Mississippi River.

The bridge is built entirely of open-hearth steel, a newly developed material at the time of construction. The structure features a 790-foot main span and two additional 600-foot spans. Its 65-foot height above the water was the highest clearance of any U.S. bridge of that era. The construction of the piers went nearly 100 feet below the water's surface.

Though some sources claim two cantilevered roadways were added to the bridge in the 1930's, one on each side, they probably confuse this bridge with the neighboring Harahan Bridge, which had two cantilevered roadways from 1917 until the Memphis & Arkansas Bridge opened in 1949. Today, the Harahan Bridge still has the metal remains of its cantilevered roadways; the Frisco Bridge does not. However, pedestrians, buggies, and some automobiles used the main deck of the Frisco Bridge before the Harahan Bridge opened (the bridge was closed to such traffic while a train was crossing).

Construction for the Kansas City, Fort Scott and Memphis Railway, later acquired by the "Frisco," began in 1888 and was completed May 12, 1892. In the end the project created a bridge that was the farthest south on the Mississippi River, featured the longest span in the United States and cost nearly 3 million dollars.

A testament to its design and construction, as of 2014 the bridge is still used by BNSF Railway. The bridge is listed as a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.

George S. Morison.jpg

George S. Morison: 

George Shattuck Morison (December 19, 1842 – July 1, 1903) was trained to be a lawyer, but became an engineer and the leading bridge designer of his time.


Born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, he was the son of John Hopkins Morison, a Unitarian minister. At age 14, he entered Phillips Exeter Academy and graduated by age 16. He went on to Harvard College where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1863 when he was just 20. After a brief break he attended Harvard Law School where he would receive a Bachelor of Laws degree by 1866 and was admitted to the New York Bar. In 1867, with only general mathematics training and an aptitude for mechanics, he abandoned the practice of law and pursued a career as a civil engineer and builder of bridges. He would apprentice under the supervision of engineer Octave Chanute during the construction of the first bridge to cross the Missouri River, the swing-span Kansas City Bridge.

He is known for many steel truss bridges he designed, including several crossing the Missouri River, Ohio River and the Mississippi River. The 1892, Memphis Bridge is considered to be his crowning achievement, as it was the largest bridge he would design and the first bridge to span the difficult Lower Mississippi River.
Morison was a member of several important engineering committees, the most important of which was the Isthmus Canal Commission. He was instrumental in changing its recommended location from Nicaragua to Panama.

Union Pacific R. R. Bridge (1887) between Omaha, Nebraska and Council Bluffs, Iowa
Morison died in his rooms at 36 West 50th Street in New York, and was buried in Peterborough, New Hampshire, where he had a summer home (and designed the town library).

The Memphis Bridge: 




1901 Map Of Memphis Tennessee

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