The William R. Moore Cottage Mystery

Newsletter courtesy Special Collections, University of Memphis Libraries

In our October 2012 issue, I wrote a heartwarming column about the William R. Moore School of Technology — perhaps better known today as Moore Tech — where students are trained in all kinds of hands-on crafts: plumbing, auto mechanics, electricity, carpentry, you name it.

And if you were studying carpentry there, you didn't just build some bookends, or a gun rack.

Nope. You built a house.

Well, technically, a child's playhouse, as shown in this 1940 issue of the William R. Moore School newsletter.

But what a playhouse it was! Complete with fireplace and steeply shingled room, the wooden cottage included a bedroom, living room, kitchen, and breakfast room. (No bathroom, though.) According to the newsletter, this fine-looking little home was designed by student Robert Irwin and constructed by James Bazemore. How many homes today are designed and built by just two people?

Okay, that's all very interesting, but why did I title this column a "mystery"? Well, because I want to know what happened to the playhouse. It's not only very nice looking, but it seems to be very substantial. I wonder if they donated it to some organization, or perhaps sold it to an individual in town?

I know it's a long way back to 1940, but if anybody can recall seeing this little building anywhere, or knows what happened to it, please let me know.

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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. 

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