The Mid-South Coliseum Under Construction - 1964

With all this talk about whether we should preserve the Mid-South Coliseum or feed it to the bulldozers, I thought it would be interesting to share this image with you.

In the 1964 edition of the White Station High School yearbook, the editors decided to pose two students in the interior of the building as it was being constructed. Often compared to the famous Coliseum in Rome (well, by some people, anyway), it really does resemble its more famous namesake from this angle, and in this condition. Look at all that nicely poured concrete! Can't you just smell the cement dust?

But, impressive as it may look here, what's really intriguing is what, precisely, the authors of Memphis: An Architectural Guide say about the building.

Or more accurately, don't say. This handy book normally lists significant buildings here, provides the architects and date of construction, and then offers comments on their design. About the nearby Liberty Bowl, for example, authors Eugene J. Johnson and Robert D. Russell Jr. admit that it has "a particularly graceful profile against the sky."

And about the Coliseum? Nothing at all.

Oh, they list it in their book. They name the architects (Furbringer and Ehrman, and Robert Lee Hall and Associates). And they tell us that it was constructed in 1964, as we can see here. And that's it. Not another word. Perhaps the sheer beauty of the building rendered them speechless.

At any rate, I present you with Lyn Wilkins, voted "Most Vivacious," and C.B. Baker, named "Most Athletic" at White Station. A rather strange pairing of titles, if you ask me. I guess way back in 1964 it just wouldn't have seemed proper to call a woman "Most Athletic."

Where are these folks today, I wonder?

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Ask Vance is the blog of Vance Lauderdale, the award-winning columnist of Memphis magazine and Inside Memphis Business. Vance is the author of three books: Ask Vance: The Best Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine's History and Trivia Expert (2003), as well as Ask Vance: More Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine's History Expert (2011) and Vance Lauderdale's Lost Memphis (2013). He is also the recipient of quite a few nice awards, the creator of several eye-catching wall calendars, and the only person we know with a vintage shock-treatment machine in his den. 

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