Antique Warehouse: Memphis History Through Antiques

Located on the iconic Summer Avenue, Antique Mall Warehouse has a special selection of antiques all about Memphis.

With antiques dating from the 1930s and even further back, it makes you wonder what this city used to look like and what that means to its residents. Having just celebrated our 200 year anniversary as a community capable of great change and progressivism, it feels appropriate that we dig into some of the more eclectic parts of history. 

School Pride

One section of this collection that immediately draws your eye is the variety of university memorabilia from Christian Brothers University, the University of Memphis (“Memphis State”), and Rhodes College. 

It’s interesting to compare the University of Memphis’s seat covers & marching band attire to that of today with the old “MSU” emblazoned on just about everything. If you’re new to town, you may not be familiar with the University of Memphis’s former name, but for those born-and-raised Memphians out there who are familiar with their grandparents congratulating them on getting accepted to “Memphis State”, antiques like these probably remind you of the staple sign at the heart of U of M’s campus, reminding us all of their roots as a “Teacher’s College” and the first Tennessee state university to gain accreditation of the entire curriculum.

Today, much like in the 1930s, University of Memphis continues to be an athletically inclined school, their football team ranking as a division 1, and only having a total of two losses last season – both to the same team. This picture from an antique book entitled “Memphis State 1965” shows star football players representing their university at home. We wonder if they knew at the time what an impressive and historical team they were building!

Events & Games

Continuing with the trend of Memphis being a historically active city, the Antique Mall has a small collection of signed baseballs from games played at what was Blues Stadium at the fairgrounds, later renamed Tim McCarver Stadium. This baseball comes from a limited collection of Memphis Blues Baseball memorabilia. The Memphis Blues was a minor league baseball team that played from 1968 – 1976, this ball, in particular, coming from a 1970 home game. That year, they made it to the league’s playoffs. An important piece of Memphis history for anyone who grew up pitching baseballs with a ratty old glove while chewing up and spitting out sunflower seeds. 

Having just finished the 2019 Cotton Carnival, it’s crazy to look back at pictures of one of the first ones from the 1930s. Hidden away in this book of images of Memphis from the 30s, this book captured images of the King and Queen of the festival as well as carriages and a band.

However, after sorting through all the memorabilia and historic finds, what brings it all together is the random assortment of postcards. There are dozens of postcards sent from relatives, friends, spouses, etc. from all around the country with Memphis being their final destination. One, from Vermont, details how ‘rural’ they find Vermont to be in comparison to Memphis. Another describes the coast and various East Coast museums. However, no matter how far these local Memphians traveled, it’s clear that their hometown was at the forefront of their thoughts.

The Antique Mall Warehouse has 20% off sales every second Saturday of the month and will be celebrating the 4th of July with a 25% off sale. With a variety of booths and antiques from around the country, whether you’re looking to get some unique pieces for your living room or stumble upon your own bit of history, this is a must-visit place to check off your summer bucket list!

They’re located at 2563 Summer Avenue. 

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