Lost Memphis Update: The Big Shoe

In this month's issue of Memphis magazine, I tell the story of the "Big Shoe" (as it was usually called) — the big white concrete shoe-shaped shoe store on Lamar that so many of you seem to remember. If you haven't read it, then what on earth have you been discussing at your fondue parties?

Well, my pal Rob Jolly recently sent me an email adding a bit more information to the original story:

"The story on the big shoe brought back early childhood memories. I was 12 years old when the shoe was built. My father (who died this last August) Robert E. Jolly Jr. was the individual that installed the metal roof on the shoe. Jolly Roofing and Sheet Metal (still in existence on Lamar — near the former location of the shoe) had the contract to roof it.  The metal shingles were installed individually by my dad, and the trim work was made in our shop and installed by hand.

"I was on the job after school and weekends and handed "Bobby" items to install. My sister and I were both invited to the opening and we went. We were very sorry when they tore it down. Thought you might like an additional, hometown bit of history to a great story."

Thanks, Rob, for that extra bit of information. Putting the roof on the Big Shoe is not something that many companies can brag about.

Rob, by the way, is a lifelong Memphian and THE expert on the history of the old Tech High School here. He's played a major role in maintaining and contributing to the website run by the school's alumni, and it's just packed with great information and photos and memorabilia. If you know about the ongoing debate about whether Tech or Central High School is the oldest high school in Memphis, well you can read a long discussion of that topic here.

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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.

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