Window Shopping at Fortner Furniture in 1979 — The Hard Way



Photo courtesy Special Collections, University of Memphis Libraries

As you know, I've been talking recently about the old Fortner Furniture Company clock, and thought I'd share a story about an interesting event in the life of that building.

On June 15, 1979, Mrs. Joy Butler was driving east on Summer at National, when she "accidentally" ran the red light at that intersection. Bad timing. Her car was struck broadside by a Memphis sanitation truck. Butler lost control of her vehicle, and here's the result — her car ended up parked inside the furniture store after crashing through one of the big windows. Her five-year-old daughter suffered a slight cut to her leg, but that was the only injury. Nobody was hurt on the truck.

Scribbled notes on the back of the original Memphis Press-Scimitar photograph tell us that Butler's car "came to rest beside a dresser."  I guess that was an important detail at the time.

PHOTO COURTESY SPECIAL COLLECTIONS, UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS LIBRARIES

Reader Comments:
Sep 18, 2012 01:46 pm
 Posted by  critter42

I see a lot of your stuff comes from the Special Collections of the UoM Libraries - are these open to the public, or do you have to make special arrangements to search?

Sep 21, 2012 03:57 pm
 Posted by  Vance Lauderdale

The Special Collections Department at the U of M, housed on the fourth floor of the McWherter Library, is indeed open to the public.

Oct 1, 2012 02:12 pm
 Posted by  Farmers13

Still have a lamp I purchased at Fortner's in the early 70's. Pone de Leon-about 4 ft tall. I paid so much for it my husband would never let me get rid of it. LOL What was I thinking. I recently gave it to my son. He loves it. Says people always coment about it.

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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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