Commercial Appeal
Mid-South Memories

The Memphis Commercial Appeal has a series that features "Mid-South Memories" of the past 125 years.  Below are a few of the past "memories", related to Tech.


December 7, 1954
   Photo by The Commercial Appeal files
With football careers in view, three of the Prep League's outstanding players are University of Alabama-bound. Crimson Tide assistant coach Tilden "Happy" Campbell (left) signed (from second left) Don Owen and Ray Hardage of Treadwell and
Randy Hale of Tech to scholarships .


November 29, 1954:
1954 Gridiron standouts honored: High school football players who won the Memphis Quarterback Club's prep player-of-the-week awards in the 1954 season gathered at the club's luncheon at Nov. 30, 1954, at the Gayoso. The group, which would make any college coach's heart throb, includes Tech fullback Terry West (seated from left), Humes halfback Jerry Sanders, CBC halfback Charles Torti, CBC center Hugh Provine, Tech tailback Randy Hale (standing from left), Tech guard Bruce Holliman, South Side quarterback Fred Hearn, Treadwell halfback Robbie Robinson, Central center Richard Sperry, Central quarterback David Robertson, Treadwell halfback Ray Hardage and Catholic High tackle Jimmy DiSalvo.


              Photo by The Commercial Appeal files

Photo by The Commercial Appeal files                    

November 28, 1951
Holiday floats will travel Main Street:  High school and college students have been busy in November 1951 putting finishing touches on the 12 floats and two tally-hos for the annual Spirit of Christmas Parade on Main Street.  One of the most colorful will be the merry-go-round float, the pride of Eugene Gill, 886 Bingham, Memphis State student, and Bobbie Gladden of 1675 Overton Park, who goes to Tech.

April 1958
Still strumming along: Junior Hawkins (left) and Travis Wammack perform in this image from 1958. Wammack is scheduled to appear at today's (April 2011) Memphis in May Beale Street Music Festival.



     Photo by The Commercial Appeal files

Photo by The Commercial Appeal files                       


January 26, 1954
The ball-grabbing attempt by CBC's Charles Tiller (right) results in a foul shot for Tech's Wayne Arterburn in a Prep Leagues game at Tech on Jan. 26, 1954. Don McCaskill (left) of CBC and Bruce Holliman of Tech alertly watch the play.

February 19, 1952

Circle of excellence: The All-Memphis basketball team in February 1952 included (clockwise from lower left) Jerry Cobb, Central guard; Bill Schilling, CBC forward; Jim Ballard, Tech center; Joe Guess, East forward and Herbie Kosten, Central guard.



    Photo by The Commercial Appeal files

January 15, 1957
One might be Miss Dixie Belle:
The latest entrants in the Miss Dixie Belle contest on Jan. 16, 1958, are (from left) Miss Elaine Henderson, 18, of 1935 Clovia Lane;
Miss Sonja Bailey (Tech 1957), 19, of 3468 Buchanan, and Miss Mary Carolyn Campbell, 16, of 192 Windover Cove.


January 7, 1951

Wooden valentine has practical purpose: Students in the Tech High School workshop are utilizing their class work not only to learn but to serve their community in January 1951. As part of their work they are building huge plywood hearts such as pictured here for display in downtown lobbies to call attention to the Memphis Heart Association's fund drive, to be held during February. Here,
Howard Taylor of 364 North McNeil (left) measures the first of the hearts, while Martin J. Bradley of 847 North Avalon (center), Tech woodworking instructor, looks on, and Gladwyn Caldwell of 37 North Bingham helps hold the tape.



Photo by The Commercial Appeal files

Photo by The Commercial Appeal files

December 20, 1975
Miss Ann Polk, 20, won the Miss Black Memphis Pageant on December 20, 1975 at the Towne 11 Theater.  A student at Elkins Institute studying radio broadcasting, Miss Polk is the daughter of Laura Watson of 2333 Dwight.  She won over 16 other girls and will represent Memphis in the Miss Black Tennessee pageant.

December 18, 1952
Former stars gather for 1952 league: All-Memphians of the past, Rodney Dunn (from left) of Central, 1950, Jimmy Childers of Messick, 1948, and Jimmy Ballard of Tech, 1952, are stars in the 1952 All-Memphis Basketball League at Gaston Community Center. Dunn is with Standard Parts, Childers with Master Television and Ballard with Nat Buring.











April 16, 1955

Curtis Person checks his score of 69 against the others after the first round of the Tennessee Open Golf tournament at Chickasaw Country Club on April 16, 1955.  Person finished in third place in the tournament won by Pat Abbott in a playoff with Mason Rudolph.

May 18, 1954

Dapper Robby Joe Moore (front), senior class president at Tech High, is flanked by the three equally well-dressed Tech students who tied for valedictorian May 18, 1954.  They are Richard Ashman, Dorothy Smith, and John Craddock.



Photo by The Commercial Appeal files 

Photo by The Commercial Appeal files 

May 31, 1955
Tech High's leaders prepare for graduation The trio of fair coeds surrounding Terry West, son of Mrs. Opal West of 1331 Isabel and Tech High School senior class president, are valedictorians who will participate in the school's commencement exercises at Ellis Auditorium on May 31, 1955. They are (from left) Barbara Clifton, daughter of Mrs. Claudin Clifton of 351 North Cleveland; Martha Barker, daughter of Mrs. John Barker of 1080 Monroe; and Linda Wilbanks, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W.L. Wilbanks of 2518 Lowell.

April 15, 1945
Debate team heading to Knoxville: Two debate teams from Tech High School will represent Memphis and Shelby County in the Tennessee Interscholastic Literary League at Knoxville on April 30, 1954. They are composed of Barbara Clifton of 351 North Cleveland and Robert Ashton of 2864 Arlington (front), Orville Duncan of 310 North Garland and Harvey Cox of 2773 Filmore, both on the back row. The teams swept a preliminary debate tournament at Memphis State the second week of April.




Photo by The Commercial Appeal files

Photo by The Commercial Appeal files

March 20, 1952

Wrestling win by decision: Bearing in is Paul Tase (left) of Tech High, who took a decision from his foe, Lonnie Wilson of Humes, in the finals of the prep wrestling tournament at the Central YMCA on March 20, 1952


November 1951

Roane Waring Jr., commander of American Legion Post No. 1, presents Cadet Commander Bobby Joe Johnson (second from left) and Nancy Fisher, both of Humes High ROTC, with a saber and red ribbon as first-place awards in competitive marching at the Victory Day Parade on a rainy Nov. 12, 1951. Looking on is Maj. John R. Ellis (left), director of public school ROTC training. Patsy Young and Cadet Commander Walter Moore (back left) accepted the second-place white ribbon for Messick High. The third-place blue ribbon was presented to Cadet Commander Thomas Neely and Joyce Lewis, both of Tech High. The girls were sponsors of their ROTC units.


Tom Neely - Joyce Lewis, Tech 1952

Photo by The Commercial Appeal files



August 1956

Sign on the dotted line: Checking the cards on Aug. 22, 1956, to make sure they really won the Memphis golf tournament pro-am are Curtis Person (from left), Jake Fondren, the pro member, and Vernon Bell. Billy Bobbitt was the fourth member of the Colonial combine that had a best ball of 61, nine under par.

Curtis Person, Tech 1933


Photo by The Commercial Appeal files


July 1959

My Hero!   :    Boy scout to the rescue

Eight-year-old Sherron Lynn Thorne of 4257 Belle Meade Circle shyly and gratefully felt the muscle of 16-year-old Walter Robbins Jr. of 312 North Watkins on July 29, 1951, after he had saved her from possible drowning in Tennessee Chute off Riverside Park. The two are distant cousins and were attending a family reunion picnic. Walter is a Tech High Boy Scout



Walter Robbins, Tech 1952


The Commercial Appeal Files                   


Among those exhibiting hobbies at Captain Jerry's Hobby Show in June 1951 are these three hobbyists, who took time out to sample a box of candy. They are (from left) Bobbie Nell Speck, 13, of Capleville, Paul T. Richter, 9, of 982 Rozelle, and Frances Andrews, 11, of 760 Cypress.


Paul Richter, Tech 1960





June 1934:  New prices at downtown movie theaters are 15 cents in the afternoon at the Strand and Warner's, and 25 cents a seat after 5.  At the Loew's Palace and Loew's State, the afternoon prices are 25 cents and the night prices are 40 cents a ticket.



April 1939


Memphis singer went on to national fame: Kay Starr is pictured in April 1939. Her real name was Kathryn Starks, but already she was using the radio name of Kay Starr on Memphis' WMPS where she was featured regularly with the "Rhythmaticians." Starr went on to become known nationwide for her singing. By 1950, her most frequently requested numbers included "Mississippi" (one line of which goes, "What a thrill it is to be back in Memphis, Tennessee"), "Bonaparte's Retreat," "Wabash Cannonball," "I Wanna Be Loved," "And Maybe You'll Be There," "Ain't Misbehavin'," "Mama Goes Where Papa Goes," "He's a Good Man to Have Around" and "I'm the Lonesomest Gal in Town," one of the all-time Starr favorites.

Kay Starr graduated from Tech in 1940


The Commercial Appeal Files


The Commercial Appeal Files

March 1957

Meeting the officers Tony Barrasso, 11, of 884 North Parkway, inspected a line of patrolmen at Police Headquarters after being named Junior Police Chief in March 1957. From left to right are: Chief J.C. Macdonald, Junior Chief Tony, and Patrolmen Lloyd Allsop, Robert Tabor, Frank Bruno and J.R. Cartwright.


Chief MacDonald is a Tech Alumnus


The Commercial Appeal Files

January 1956

Trying his hand at police work Jerry O'Daniel, who wants to be a policeman, didn't get on the force in January 1956, but he managed to take the fingerprints of Chief J.C. Macdonald. The chief visited the boy in his home at 1045 Rozelle after the youngster wrote a letter asking for a job as a law enforcement officer.


Chief MacDonald is a Tech Alumnus

February 1951

Two officers of the newly created Shelby County High School Publications Advisers Council discussed common problems in February 1951 with Bob DeZonia, editor of the Tiger Rag, Memphis State College student newspaper. 

Formed after a luncheon at Memphis State, the council named Mrs. Louise Askew Rauscher (right) of Central High School, President, and Miss Margaret Kelly (center) of Tech High, Vice President.

Margaret Kelly was a long-time teacher at Tech

The Commercial Appeal Files



February 15, 1951

Havin' a Heatwave / Swinging hips to a Latin rhythm in February 1951 is this turbaned little replica of Carmen Miranda - pretty Sonja Bailey of Peabody School. Sonja was one of the entries in a Kiwanis Club-sponsored party at Linden Circle Theater for Safety Council patrol members.


Sonja Bailey, Tech 1957

- Rudolph Vetter.  The Commercial Appeal filess


November 10, 1952

With rag and oil can in hand, Fred Goldsmith (left) and Bill Thaxton put finishing touches on one of the floats, which will roll down Main Street in the brilliant Spirit of Christmas Parade in November 1952.  Mr. Goldsmith is general chairman of the event.  Mr. Thaxton is artist and production manager.  Helping is Mrs. Mike Abt, whose late husband arranged many of the parades for Memphians.

Mrs. Abt was the wife of Mike Abt, Tech Art Teacher 1918-1950



Robert E. Lee birthday celebration photographed in front of Tech.

January 14, 1934

Memories of the Old South will be revived this week at Tech High as the ever-thinning ranks of Confederate veterans in Shelby County take part in the annual celebration of Gen. Robert E. Lee's birthday.  This year 14 wearers of the gray, three less than last year, will take part in the fete.



October 25, 1951

Career Day at Tech High School in the Home Economics section.  Mrs. Owen Massie of The Looking Glass, a modeling school, shows how the sweater fits Glynda Pruette of 2761 Burns.  During Career Day, students are allowed to choose sessions on a variety of subjects, ranging from Crime Prevention to Art.  Former graduates of Tech often discuss their field with students.  The Career Day observance is part of the school's vocational guidance program. 

Glynda Pruette graduated from Tech in 1952





September 21, 1950 

Kay Starr opened a 10-evening engagement at the Fairgrounds Casino, singing twice each evening.  Her most request numbers included "Mississippi" (which has a line that goes:  "What a thrill it is to be back in Memphis, Tennessee"), "Bonaparte's Retreat, "Wabash Cannonball", "I Wanna Be Loved", "And Maybe You'll be there", "Ain't Misbehaving", "Mama Goes Where Papa Goes", "He's a Good Man to Have Around", and "I'm the Lonesomest Gal in Town", one of the all-time Starr favorites.


Singer Kay Starr graduated from Tech in 1940


...To be Continued...