I-40 Welcome Center

Start your Walking Tall Trail here.

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119 N. Riverside Dr. Memphis, TN 38103


More About: Memphis

The city of Memphis was originally settled by the Spanish in the late 1700s. It was officially founded in 1819 by a group of property investors that included Andrew Jackson, and named for the ancient capital of Egypt. The area proved tough to develop, with natural disasters, epidemics, and competitions with neighboring cities presenting challenges to the first residents. When the railroad came to town in 1842, Memphis began to grow, and by the 1860s, the city’s railroads connected it to the Southeast and Midwest. The city grew to 12 times its size in those 20 years, with many German and Irish immigrants shaping the culture. Once a slave trading center in the 1850s, the city has been an important landmark for African-American cultural experience as well as a crucial battlefield in the fight for civil rights. Memphis is the birthplace of Holiday Inn and FedEx, the famous home of Elvis Presley and Beale Street, and a popular destination for visitors from around the world.


National Civil Rights Museum

Housed in The Lorraine Motel, the assassination site of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., this award-winning museum brings the American Civil Rights Movement to life. Exhibits focus on landmark events like the Montgomery bus boycott and the Memphis sanitation strike, as well as more recent struggles and achievements following King's death. Audio tours available. Guided tours with advance request.

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450 Mulberry St. Memphis, TN 38103


Turn R out of pt. 1. Turn R on Riverside Dr., L on Beale St., R on Main St., L on Butler St. to Mulberry St. and pt. 2.

More About: The Memphis Pyramid

“The Great American Pyramid” in downtown Memphis is 321 feet tall — it's one of the largest pyramids in the world. It is a 60 percent replica of Egypt’s Great Pyramid of Cheops.


South Main Historic Arts District

A lively, artsy neighborhood in the heart of downtown Memphis, the South Main Historic Arts District is home to some of the most important cultural attractions in Memphis. The National Civil Rights Museum, the Orpheum Theater, and historic Central Station are all in the area. Hip restaurants and boutiques as well as cutting-edge art galleries complete the scene, making South Main an attractive place to locals and visitors alike.

Here are a few highlights:

The Arcade Restaurant: An historic diner serving downtown since 1919, The Arcade is Memphis' oldest restaurant.

Ernestine & Hazel's: Enjoy a "Soul Burger" and some live Memphis music at one of the city's favorite dives.

WEVL 89.9 FM: Drop by the studio of the Mid-South's only listener-supported, independent, volunteer radio station. Tune in at 89.9 FM or stream live from wevl.org

Trolley Nights: Take the trolley for a free ride to the shops, restaurants and galleries in the area - 6 pm to 9 pm the last Friday of every month all year, come rain or shine. Otherwise, the fare is $1 or $3.50 for a daily pass.

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S. Main St. between Beale St. and G.E.Patterson AVe. 38103

Take Mulberry St. back to Butler St. to South Main St.


Memphis Rock & Soul Museum

This exhibition about the birth of rock and soul music was created by the Smithsonian Institution and tells the story of musical pioneers who overcame racial and socio-economic barriers to create the music that shook the entire world.

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191 Beale St. Memphis, TN 38103


More About: Blues Boy

A young musician named Rufus King hitchhiked to Memphis in 1947 and earned the name “Blues Boy,” which he shortened to “B.B. King."


Beale Street

The blues are alive and well today on historic Beale Street. Dance to the music of live bands in open-air W. C. Handy Park, or spend a night sliding in and out of its famous spots. From 2nd to 3rd Streets, Beale Street is closed to vehicles. Park and walk to see the attractions, restaurants, shops, clubs and museums.

Here are a few highlights:

B.B. King's Blues Club: This Beale Street original features live music nightly. It'’s open for lunch, dinner and late-night entertainment.

Blues City General Store: Find the perfect Memphis souvenir here.

King's Palace: Stop at this cozy little joint for jazz and Southern delicacies.

A. Schwab Dry Goods Store: This Memphis landmark features merchandise from old time candies to undergarments, hoodoo potions to rain gear. "If you can't find it at Schwab's, you're probably better off without it."

Silky O'Sullivan's: It's always St. Patrick's Day in this 100-year-old saloon. Grab a Hurricane and visit the "Irish Diving Goats."

Alfred's: Great food, live music and the best dance floor on Beale.

Withers Collection Museum & Gallery: Freelance African American photographer and Memphis native Dr. Ernest C. Withers is famous for his black and white images of the segregated South, the Civil Rights Movement, Memphis music and Negro League baseball.

W.C. Handy House Museum: Moved here from its original South Memphis location, this museum houses the desk where the Father of the Blues wrote his greatest hits.

Ground Zero Blues Club: Get a taste of the Delta blues and BBQ at this restaurant, co-owned by actor Morgan Freeman.

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Beale St. Memphis, TN 38103


Park and walk to see Beale Street.

More About: “Conjure” Doctors

In the early 1900s, “Conjure” Doctors—African-Americans practicing a form of hoodoo—brought their mixtures, charms, and graveyard or “goober” dust from the cotton fields to peddle on Beale Street. The potions and powders were purported to cure diseases and ward off trouble.


Sun Studio

Sam Phillips' Sun Studio is ground zero for rock 'n' roll's explosion onto the world stage. Literally packed with memorabilia, the "Birthplace of Rock 'n' Roll" lets you hear historical outtakes and even touch Elvis' first microphone. Experience the stories that put legends like Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and others on the map.

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  • Live Music
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706 Union Ave. Memphis, TN 38103


More About: Memphis Music History

Memphis is known throughout the world to have played an important part in America’s music history. The blues, rockabilly, rock ’n’ roll, jazz, gospel, and rhythm and blues were all born or significantly shaped here, and much of it started on Beale Street. This was the cultural and economic center for African-Americans coming from all over the Mississippi Delta area in the 20th century. The clubs on Beale Street will be forever associated with the Memphis blues sound, developed by artists like B.B. King and Muddy Waters. Artists like Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash mixed the music of the rural South with the urban sounds of Memphis, creating a new style recorded and popularized with the help of Sam Phillips at historic Sun Records. Another important label, Stax Records, gave rise to the R&B sound with artists like Otis Redding and Isaac Hayes. The Memphis music scene also played a significant part in creating distinctive gospel and jazz sounds that continue to influence artists today.


Stax Museum of American Soul Music

This is the only soul music museum in the world. It sits on the site of the original Stax Records, the studio where music icons like Isaac Hayes, Wilson Pickett, Booker T. & The M.G.s, the Staple Singers, Otis Redding and others recorded career-launching hits. Visit the Satellite Record & Gift Shop (museum admission not required) to pick up records, CDs, concert posters and other souvenirs of the Soulsville legacy. The Stax Museum also hosts live music and special events.

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926 E. McLemore Ave Memphis, TN 38106


More About: The Soulsville Foundation

The Stax Museum is one program of the Soulsville Foundation, which also operates the Stax Music Academy and The Soulsville Charter School, both adjacent to the Stax Museum. The Stax Music Academy is a world-renowned after-school and summer music school for high school students from all areas. The Soulsville Charter School is an academic college preparatory school for students in 6th - 12th grade.


Elvis Presley's Graceland

Walk in the footsteps of the King of Rock 'n' Roll while enjoying video, photos, personal mementos, movie memorabilia, stage costumes and more. Tour Elvis' home, Graceland Mansion, on an audio-guided tour featuring commentary and stories by Elvis and his daughter, Lisa Marie. Explore the Elvis Car Museum, Elvis' custom jets and Elvis' Hawaii, a new exhibit for 2013. Don't miss the on-site restaurants and Elvis gift shops.

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  • Live Music
  • Motorcoach
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3717 Elvis Presley Blvd. Memphis, TN 38116


More About: Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley won three Grammy Awards, all for his gospel music.


Memphis Zoo

This 100-year-old zoo is home to more than 3,500 animals representing over 500 different species. Visit giant pandas Ya Ya and Le Le, the Once Upon a Farm exhibit, and the Teton Trek featuring grizzly bears, elk and timber wolves. Covering 70 acres in the middle of Overton Park, this wild experience is just minutes from downtown Memphis.

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  • Motorcoach
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2000 Prentiss Pl. Memphis, TN 38112



Germantown Commissary

For over 25 years, locals have known that this is the place for hickory-smoked, slow-cooked, Memphis-style BBQ and ribs. Voted one of the Top 10 U.S. BBQ Restaurants by Playboy magazine.

2290 S. Germantown Rd. Germantown, TN 38138


More About: Nashoba

In the 1820s, a young Scotswoman named Frances Wright founded the utopian community of Nashoba near today’s Germantown. It was an experimental colony, created to teach Southern slaves to be self-sufficient. The colony was controversial in the community, and Wright left Tennessee to promote the experiment abroad. When she returned, she found the residents sick, poor and in worse living conditions than they had known as slaves. Wright abandoned the colony, returning three years later to offer them a life of freedom in the form of a one-way trip to Haiti. They accepted, ending the failed Nashoba experiment.


Germantown Depot

Find this 1868 Memphis-Charleston Railroad depot in Old Germantown, situated on high ground where the area's first settlers made their homes. Today, it's home to the Tennessee Shakespeare Company, and houses a great collection of railroad memorabilia. Notice the markers identifying the original buildings and sites.

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2260 West St. Germantown, TN 38138

(901) 755-1200

More About: Memphis-Charleston Railroad

This railroad served as an important connection between the eastern and western portions of the South, connecting the Atlantic coast to the Mississippi River. Before the railroad, goods and passengers traveled by water or long land routes, and the railroad provided a speedy alternative, connecting Memphis to New York in just under 80 hours. The traffic and business it brought to Memphis contributed to rapid growth in the mid-1800s. The M&C was the site of many Civil War battles, including the Battle of Shiloh, as Union forces sought to disrupt the supply routes that connected Southern states. The railroad suffered heavy damages during the war. During the reconstruction, railroads consolidated, and the M&C became a part of the Southern Railway System. Today, it is still an important line as part of Norfolk Southern, one of the major railway systems in the U.S.


Fort Germantown

This was the site of a Civil War fort built by the Union Army to guard the Memphis-Charleston Railroad, a vital Confederate supply route. The site is marked by Howitzer cannon replicas. Listed in The National Register of Historic Places, Fort Germantown is now a quiet neighborhood park.

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3085 Honey Tree Dr. Germantown, TN 38138


More About: The Union

During the Civil War, Tennessee was the last state to leave the Union and the first state to rejoin after the war ended.


The Collierville Greenbelt System

With more than 60 miles of trails and sidewalks, this system connects Collierville's parks, schools, neighborhoods, and commercial districts offering recreation in a natural setting. Start exploring at W.C. Johnson Park where you'll find natural areas, wetlands, three lakes, elevated boardwalk (.70 miles), a 9-field baseball/softball complex, and multipurpose fields.

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419 Johnson Park Dr. Collierville, TN 38017

(901) 457-2777


Civil War Markers in Tom Brooks Park

During the Civil War, Union invasions of Georgia, Alabama or Mississippi had to cross through Tennessee because of its location over the deep South. In 1862, the main forces of the Confederacy were forced below Tennessee, and Collierville (like much of the state) was under Federal control through the remainder of the war. There are two markers here: The Battle of Collierville and Chalmers’' Collierville Raid.

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W. Poplar Ave. Collierville, TN 38017


More About: Collierville

Situated so close to the Tennessee-Mississippi line, it’s no surprise that Collierville was once located in both states simultaneously due to a surveyor’s error in the early 1830s. Built on land belonging to Jesse R. Collier, the town was incorporated in 1850, and was originally located a few miles east of where it is today. Following the bloody Civil War Battle of Collierville in 1863, the town was burned to the ground. The second town of Collierville was incorporated in 1870 at the present location, built around the historic town square. In the 1900s, Collierville became a cotton trade center and was known as the dairy capital of West Tennessee. In the mid-1900s, manufacturing brought economic opportunity and growth to the area. Today, Collierville’s Historic District, with its local shops, restaurants, and history lessons, is a popular stop for locals and visitors alike.


Collierville Historic Square

Stop and enjoy this charming square, lined with independently owned local businesses like coffee shops, restaurants and bookstores. In the center, you'll find Confederate Park, with its sidewalks laid out to form a Confederate flag. Visit the log cabin here: it's an 1851 stage coach rest stop. Walking Tour maps are available from the Main Street Collierville office in the historic Train Depot.

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Mulberry St. Collierville, TN 38017


Continue to walk Town Square. Walking Tour maps are available from the Main Street Collierville office in the historic Train Depot.

More About: Father of the Blues

“Father of the Blues” W.C. Handy once performed in Collierville's Confederate Park. Handy is well loved all over Shelby County; Memphis honors the former resident with a park and museum on Beale Street.


Collierville Historic Train Depot

This is believed to be the third depot located in Collierville since the Memphis-Charleston Railroad was originally chartered in 1852. Today, the depot is the office for Main Street Collierville, a non-profit group that preserves the area. Pick up a Collierville Historic District Walking Tour brochure here.

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125 N. Rowlett St. Collierville, TN 38017


Located on Historic Town Square.


Magnolia Cemetery

Nestled among the large magnolia trees from which it received its name, this is the final resting place for Civil War soldiers, unknown soldiers and victims of the yellow fever epidemic of the 1870s.

435 S. Mt. Pleasant Rd. Collierville, TN 38017

(901) 853-1949


The Avenue Carriage Crossing

The Avenue offers a dynamic mix of premier national retailers, select local merchants and specialty restaurants in an open-air, pedestrian-friendly setting.

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4674 Merchants Park Cir. Collierville, TN 38017



"Mississippi" Fred McDowell Historical Marker

On your way to Rossville, you'll pass this marker for one of America's eminent blues artists, born in Rossville in 1904. His style was rooted in the Delta blues tradition with a signature bottleneck guitar technique. "I make the guitar say what I say," said McDowell. "If I play 'Amazing Grace,' it'll sing that too." His influence spread beyond blues to gospel and popular artists.

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  • African American
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Rossville, TN 38066


More About: Rossville

Rossville is one of the oldest towns in Fayette County, named for the land owner who gave the property for its first buildings, Thomas M. Ross, in 1859. Like many of the area’s early towns, Rossville was occupied by Union soldiers for several years during the Civil War, which left many of its buildings in great disrepair and left the task of rebuilding to the town’s residents. An 1844 flood, the Yellow Fever epidemic of the late 1870s, and a 1922 fire that claimed an entire section of the town were all setbacks the early residents overcame in establishing the town. Today, it's a friendly community just outside Memphis with many beautiful historic homes and easy access to the Wolf River.


Rossville Historic District

The 33 buildings and homes that contribute to the beautiful Historic District of Rossville date from before the Civil War to 1945. Every June, the Historic District Association sponsors its Tour of Homes. Park near the gazebo and stroll around the area for your own impromptu walking tour.

William B. Clark Boardwalk is a 1,500 foot gravel and elevated nature trail that runs along the Wolf River into a State Natural Area that includes Lily Lake.

Civil War Skirmish Historical Marker: Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, returning from Jackson, skirmished with Union troops at the Wolf River and along the Memphis-Charleston Railroad on December 27, 1863.

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Main St. Rossville, TN 38066


More About: Mr. Ross's Generosity

When the Memphis-Charleston Railroad was built from Memphis to Moscow and La Grange in 1853, Mr. Ross gave land on which to locate a community along the rail line. The town of LaFayette was moved several hundred yards north and renamed Rossville.

General Area:




Get ready to explore West Tennessee like you’ve never seen it before on the Walking Tall Trail. On the surface, it’s a collection of charming small towns, mom-and-pop eateries, courthouse squares and barbecue gems. Dig a little deeper and you’ll uncover the fascinating stories, people, and places that have shaped American history and culture.

It’s a trail defined, in part, by the stories of the larger-than-life figures with ties to the area. W.C. Handy, B.B. King and many more blues legends got their start on Beale Street; Rockabilly pioneers like Carl Perkins, country legend Eddy Arnold and international icon Elvis Presley all have their roots here. You’ll visit the home of railroad legend Casey Jones, and learn how President Andrew Jackson and frontiersman David Crockett are tied to these towns. Connect with powerful figures in American history like author Alex Haley; uncover the stories of the Queen of the Confederacy, the sharp shooter and the 1,000-pound man. Get to know the trail’s namesake and a fascinating figure of the American South, Sheriff Buford Pusser of McNairy County. He famously fought crime along the Mississippi state line in the 1960s and has been depicted in four major motion pictures, two TV movies, and a TV series.

The trail explores the history of African-Americans in the South, with sites that tell the stories of slavery and war, early freedom and the blues culture, and the struggle for civil rights. It’s also a barbecue lover ’s dream, with opportunities to sample this authentic culinary art and its subtle regional differences - we guarantee it’s worth as many stops as you care to make.

You’ll find these towns dotted with markers detailing the skirmishes and turf struggles of the Civil War. These stories aren’t confined to the battlefields - homes, churches, and courthouses have stories to tell from their days as headquarters, hideouts and hospitals. You’ll also visit what is arguably the best-preserved Civil War battle site in the South at Shiloh National military park - the site where one of the bloodiest conflicts of the war raged for two cold, wet days on the banks of the Tennessee River.

The Wolf, Hatchie and Beech Rivers also cut through the Walking Tall Trail, along with many lakes, five State Natural Areas and five Tennessee State Parks, recognized as the best in the nation. From sunsets over farmland to the wildlife on the river banks, West Tennessee’s quiet natural beauty is an attraction on its own.

This is truly a trail for Tennessee explorers, for those who love the charm of a small town square, the satisfaction of a down-home meal, the ghosts of America’s history, and the adventurous spirit of a good road trip.