Beale Street was established in 1841 by entrepreneur and developer Roberston Topp. 'Back then, Topp had no idea that 100 years later Beale Street would become the Home of the Blues. Let us take you on this fascinating journey back in time and follow the street from its very beginnings as a trading district to a vibrant African-American community and, ultimately, America's most iconic street. 'Learn about the people who called Beale Street home; from gangsters who ran the street to the musicians who put it on the map and the civil rights leaders who instituted change that would impact an entire country.
This 45 minute journey begins at The Orpheum where performers such as Bob Hope, Mae West, Jack Benny, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington have performed. 'Then visit Lansky Brothers where all the entertainers in Memphis have shopped including Elvis.
As you pass over'Second Street you will visit King's Palace Cafe home to pawn shops, photography studios and also where the leading black newspaper in the city was published. 'You'll also see A.Schwab's, the oldest business on Beale Street and the famous Gallina Exchange Building.
You'll then pass by Handy Park where blues musicians made a living and famous music venues where B.B. King, Ray Charles and Isaac Hayes performed. 'You'll also hear about some of the more colorful characters on the street like Virgilio Maffei, who won a wager by swimming across the Mississippi River, W.C. Handy the Father of the Blues and Jim Kinnane the czar of the Memphis underworld.
No trip would be complete down Beale Street without visiting the Beale Street Baptist Church built in 1885. 'If you've always wanted to know the true stories of the most famous street in Memphis then this is the tour for you.