Lost Collierville: Does Anybody Remember This Building That Stood at Poplar and Shea?



I've been looking through a box of color prints that I converted years ago from 35mm slides, when I came across this.

Please accept my apologies for the poor quality of the image. The original slide, taken with my trusty and beloved 35mm Canon FTb (which I still have, by the way) was quite clear; I don't know what happened during the conversion process. But it's certainly not the Ansel Adams-quality images you have come to expect from Vance.

Even so, you get a general idea of what the building looked like. It was a sturdy two-story brick structure, with a covered entrance in front and rows of windows across the first and second floors (but not too many windows, as you might expect from a school). It stood abandoned for years and years at the northwest corner of Poplar Avenue (Highway 57) and Shea Road, just west of Collierville. You can see a stone banner of some type across the front of the building, but as I recall, it was blank — no name of a business, or a school, or anything carved into it, as you might expect.

(If it wasn't blank, then why did the place remain a mystery to me all these years? I'm not that stupid. Or am I?)

Topographical maps used to show individual houses and buildings (those details always amazed me) and they indicated schools with a little flag attached to a black box, and churches with a tiny cross. The old maps I looked at years ago didn't even show this building at all, which seemed very strange to me.

As I said (have you been paying attention?), the building was empty and abandoned for most of the time I "knew" it. Then, in the mid-1970s, it seems a plant nursery of some kind opened up behind it (I vaguely remember rows of bundled trees behind it), if that helps revive anyone's dormant memories. And then one day I drove by, and it was gone.

The site is now part of the Baptist Hospital - Collierville's campus, so not a trace of it remains.

Does anybody: 1) remember this place, and 2) know what it was?

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Ask Vance

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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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