See Rock City

See Rock City

Sunday, September 8, 2013

City Beautiful Movement


In Memphis, the City Beautiful Commission was officially established by a city ordinance on July 1, 1930, making it the first and oldest beautification commission in the nation. It was the brainchild of the mayor, Mr. E. H. Crump. The first Commission was appointed and had operating expenses of $1,500. A small office was set up in the Nineteenth Century Club. Mrs. E. G. Willingham was chosen as chairman and Mrs. William B. Fowler served as vice chairman. In 1935, the Riverside Drive project was dedicated. Costing nearly $1,000,000 (largely WPA funds) the City Beautiful Commission landscaped the bluffs with crape myrtle, redbuds, magnolias, dogwoods and Paul Scarlet roses. White roses were planted at each guardrail post. In 1936, Mrs. William B. Fowler became chairman of the City Beautiful Commission and served for many years. City Beautiful grew under her leadership and soon had to relocate to larger headquarters. Through the efforts of City Beautiful, Memphis gained the title of cleanest city in Tennessee in 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945 and 1946. Memphis also received the Ernest T. Trigg “Nation’s Cleanest City” award in 1948, 1949, 1950 and 1951. During this time, volunteers were organized into Wards and Block Clubs with Ward Chairmen and Block Captains. The City Beautiful staff grew to include 30 inspectors by 1954 who worked through these organizations to identify and improve eyesores. Memphis participated with the National Clean-Up, Paint-Up, Fix-Up Beautification Bureau headquartered in Washington, D.C. In 1978, the Commission was reorganized, eliminating the field inspectors. In February 1989, the Commission moved to its present location at The Massey House in Victorian Village.

Source: Internet