Ashlar Hall in 1912

A view of the Snowden family home in 1912.



From "The Artwork of Memphis"

Ashlar Hall has been in the news lately, as everyone is trying to decide what to do with the stone castle at Lamar and Central. Various groups have come forward with various options, and unfortunately one of them includes demolition of the property, if it is deemed too expensive to repair and restore.

The magnificent building, once a private residence that rivals anything owned by the Lauderdales, has certainly had its odd share of tenants over the years, serving as home to a Conestoga Steak House, one of the Grisanti restaurants, and most recently as a nightclub for Robert “Prince Mongo” Hodges.

It still looks great, but is beginning to show its age. But look how beautiful it was in 1912, when it appeared in a nine-volume series called The Artwork of Memphis, published by the Gravure Illustration Company of Chicago.

Thanks to Lee Askew for letting me scan images from his books.

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Ask Vance is the blog of Vance Lauderdale, the award-winning columnist of Memphis magazine and MBQ: 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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