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.


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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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