Helen of Memphis in 1942

A hodgepodge of buildings on Union was THE place to shop for decades.



I’ve written before about Helen of Memphis, a retail landmark for decades. It was, quite simply, THE place to shop in Memphis for women of all ages, and was so fancy that it even featured a glove department, where gloves were tailor-made to fit your hands.

None of that “one size fits all” for Helen customers.

Looking through an old Tech School yearbook from the 1940s, I found this old photo showing how the store looked in the early 1940s. It’s especially interesting, if you ask me, because if you look carefully, you can see the old Gothic Revival church, St. Luke’s, that formed part of the rambling complex. (It’s at the right — or eastern — side of the buildings shown here.)

In later years, architect Nowland Van Powell did a fine job of blending the buildings together a bit more, but Helen of Memphis finally closed and the buildings were demolished. A Rite Aid pharmacy stands on the site today.

 

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

Rare Photo: Gladys Presley's Original Gravesite at Forest Hill Cemetery — Mother of Elvis Presley

2012.11.18 08:47 PM

A 1911 View of Broad Avenue in Memphis

A 1911 postcard offers a rare view of Broad Avenue before it was annexed. Look closely and you’ll see a hog hanging outside an old-timey grocery store.
2015.06.25 11:49 AM

Lost Memphis: Wolf River Bathing Beach

The beaches and sandbars of the Wolf River attracted Memphis swimmers and sunbathers in the early 1900s.
2015.06.17 11:09 AM
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Stories

Lost Memphis: Lauderdale Industries

Readers have asked Vance, “How did your family make its money?” Well, here’s how.
2015.07.01 11:31 PM

A 1911 View of Broad Avenue in Memphis

A 1911 postcard offers a rare view of Broad Avenue before it was annexed. Look closely and you’ll see a hog hanging outside an old-timey grocery store.
2015.06.25 11:49 AM

The Mulford Mansion: Then and Now

Vance Avenue is a street of ghosts. Not a trace remains of one of this city’s nicest homes, the residence of jewelry store owner John Mulford.
2015.06.22 12:02 PM

Add your comment:
Edit Module

Buy the Ask Vance Books

Edit ModuleShow Tags


Famed Memphis trivia expert Vance Lauderdale answers reader questions weekly here on his blog!

About This Blog

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. 

You can find him from time to time in the pages of the Memphis Flyer and MBQ, on WKNO television, and on Facebook. When he is not exploring the highways and byways of Memphis, he spends his time sleeping, napping, and dozing.

Got a question for Vance?  Email him here.

Find Vance's old blog posts (pre-April 2011) and comments here.

Be Vance's friend on Facebook:  facebook.com/vancelauderdale

Recent Posts

Archives

Feed

Atom Feed Subscribe to the Ask Vance Feed »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags