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PHOTO: Beale StreetBeale Street has seen thousands of blues artists since the art form developed. W.C. Handy once operated a music publishing business on Beale and hired out a band from Pee Wee's Saloon. Most Memphis blues musicians have performed on Beale Street at some point in their career, whether in a theater or busking on the street.
PHOTO: lobby of Peabody HotelAs historian David Cohn wrote in 1935, "The Mississippi Delta begins in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel." This downtown Memphis institution, designed by architect Walter Ahlschlager, opened at its present location on Union Avenue in 1925. The Peabody has been host to recording efforts by the Memphis Jug Band, Tommy Johnson, Frank Stokes, Furry Lewis, and others.
PHOTO: Orpheum TheaterThe Orpheum Theater is a restored 1920s vaudeville and movie palace. It sits near the top of Beale Street at 203 South Main Street. The Orpheum has featured concerts by Memphis blues legends Albert King and Alberta Hunter.
PHOTO: former Monarch ClubThe Monarch Club at 340 Beale Street was a famous gaming house built by Jim Kinnane, the "czar of the Memphis underworld" immortalized in song by Robert Wilkins. Constructed in 1910 at a cost of $20,000, it was the South's finest gambling parlor with a mirror-walled lobby and trap doors with secret exits in the case of a raid. In its heyday it was known as the "Castle of Missing Men" because a funeral parlor located behind the Monarch received patrons killed in gambling disputes.
PHOTO: Sun Records Studio706 Union Avenue is the birthplace of groundbreaking music label Sun Records. Although famous as the studio where Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins waxed early rockabilly classics, Sun was also used by great bluesmen including B.B. King, Sleepy John Estes, and Howlin' Wolf.
PHOTO: Memphis Music Hall of FameThe Memphis Music Hall of Fame is located at 97 Second Street, around the corner from the Peabody Hotel. It features antebellum artifacts from Memphis's days as a slave-trading center as well as vintage records from the 1920s and 1930s by Memphis blues musicians. The Hall of Fame traces the development of Memphis music and includes exhibits on rock and roll and soul music.
PHOTO: W.C. Handy houseThis small shotgun house at 352 Beale Street is Memphis's W.C. Handy house. Originally located at 659 Jennette Place, this house was Handy's home when he wrote such classics as "Yellow Dog Blues" and "Beale Street Blues." The house is now headquarters of the Blues Foundation.
PHOTO: Center for Southern FolkloreThe Center for Southern Folklore at 130 Beale Street is a nonprofit institution that documents southern culture, including blues, through film, oral histories, and recorded sources. The center features rotating exhibits and performances by local blues artists such as pianist Mose Vinson.

PHOTO: W.C. Handy ParkW.C. Handy Park, located on Beale Street and dedicated to W.C. Handy in 1931, has a long tradition of hosting blues acts. Since its creation, Handy Park has been a meeting ground for musicians. Blues artists still play the park for tips.


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