In addition to more rigorous research, I’ve been visiting and photographing Beale Street and chatting with tourists for the last three weeks. Beale was declared the official “Home of the Blues” in 1977. According to the Memphis Chamber of Commerce, the street receives over 4 million annual visitors, making it the top tourist attraction in Tennessee. There’s a lot to say about Beale, but for now I’m just sticking with some visuals that show the ebb and flow of visitors at different times of the day and on different days of the week.
Beale on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon
Beale on Friday afternoon and night
Beale on Saturday evening and late night
I’ve been trying to get in touch with the Beale Street Development Corporation for a few years. I’ve never received a reply and, since their office is on Beale, I decided to just knock on their door today (mid-day on a Tuesday). Well, there’s a serious locked and dusty gate on the stairway to their office, so I’m fairly certain they don’t use this facility anymore. April 2019 Correction! I have since met Lucille Catron, the executive director of the BSDC, which is and has been going for 45 years. She commented below, and here’s an excerpt: “Beale Street Development Corporation (BSDC) caused the redevelopment of Historical Beale Street, a $23 million dollar back in 1973. Todays dollars, that over $200 million dollars… Just so you will know, the gate is there for safety and security reasons. That gate has been there a lot of years as we are on the backside of Beale Street.”
I hope to have much more info on BSDC from Lucille in the near future!