Playful, Fun Lesser-known Facts About Memphis

Memphis, a city steeped in blues history, the smoky scent of BBQ, and the mighty Mississippi River flowing alongside it. But there’s more to this musical town than Elvis and Beale Street.

Let’s dive into some quirky and surprising Memphis facts:

  1. It’s All Greek to Memphis: Despite the name, Memphis, Tennessee has no direct connection to ancient Egypt. It was named for its position on the river, mirroring that of the original Memphis.
  2. Piggly Wiggly’s Humble Beginnings: The world’s first self-service grocery store, the iconic Piggly Wiggly, was born in Memphis in 1916.
  3. Ducks in the Lobby? You Betcha!: The Peabody Hotel hosts a quirky tradition: twice a day, a small flock of ducks marches (or rather, waddles) down their red carpet to splash in the fountain.
  4. Sweet Shipping: Memphis is the world’s largest shipper of cotton, earning it the nickname “Cotton Capital of the World.”
  5. Music Runs Deep: Not just the birthplace of Blues, Memphis was influential in the development of soul, rock ‘n’ roll, gospel, and more. From W.C. Handy to Johnny Cash, the city’s musical roots are legendary.
  6. FedEx Hub: Memphis International Airport is the busiest cargo airport in the North America, and the second busiest worldwide, thanks largely to being the central hub for FedEx.
  7. Civil Rights Landmark: The Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was tragically assassinated, is now the National Civil Rights Museum, preserving his legacy.
  8. The King’s Sweet Tooth: Elvis Presley was famously fond of unusual snacks, especially the peanut butter, banana, and bacon sandwich, a Memphis specialty.
  9. Crystal Shrine Grotto: A man-made cave in Memorial Park Cemetery is adorned with glittering crystals and biblical scenes, offering a unique, hidden attraction.
  10. Giant Pyramid…in Memphis?: A gleaming 32-story pyramid sits on the banks of the Mississippi, once a sports arena and now a massive Bass Pro Shops megastore.
  11. Home to the Largest Artesian Well: Memphis sits atop one of the purest natural water sources, giving the city excellent drinking water.
  12. Wrestling Royalty Reigns: Memphis was the epicenter of territory-style wrestling in its heyday, with Jerry “The King” Lawler as its biggest star.
  13. Can I Get a Side of Ghost?: Some of Memphis’ most famous BBQ joints are rumored to be haunted by past regulars.
  14. It Wasn’t Always Beale Street: Before the iconic music haven took center stage, Handy Park was the heart and soul of the Memphis blues scene.
  15. A Cure on the Air: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, dedicated to treating and finding cures for childhood cancer, was founded in Memphis by entertainer Danny Thomas.

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