East End Map

Dating from 1889, East End Park was a PRIVATE park and a community gathering place for all Memphis.  It was the area's most elaborate entertainment complex and featured a lake, a music and Dance Pavilion, named Chrysanthemum Ballroom, a swimming pool, a roller skating rink, games, fireworks shows, a theatre with some bizarre vaudeville performances, and amusement park rides, including the "Tumblebug" and the "Pippin" roller coaster, which was originally built there.  Other park rides included a merry-go-round, "shoot-the-dip", a miniature railway, huge circle swings and 23 other amusements.   The park was moderately successful until 1903, when John D. Hopkins took over. 


John D. Hopkins was one of the most colorful characters to ever hit Memphis.  He had opened popular-priced vaudeville houses in Chicago and Boston, and opened amusement parks in St. Louis and Kansas City.  In Memphis, he had taken over the Lyceum Theater and the Grand Opera house.  It was inevitable that he would develop East End into a major venue for Vaudeville.   In addition, there was another big drawing card - alcohol!   East End enjoyed a major and successful run, but the golden days were numbered.  In 1913 ... Prohibition!  East End closed in 1913 and was placed in the hands of a receiver in 1914.  The Dance Pavilion was destroyed by fire in 1923.  The land was sold in 1924 and the lake was filled in.  By 1936 only a swimming pool and roller rink were left.  The carnival rides were only a memory.  The Pippin Roller Coaster and the Merry-Go-Round were dismantled and sold to the new Fairgrounds Park *.


Park Entrance

East End Park-Pavilion

Dance-Music Pavilion 1900

East End Trolley Stand today


East End Location

Billboard Article - 1908


Billboard 1912

Closing 1914



From Billboard 1907:  "The East Park Theatre, which Is under the management of the Park Circuit and Realty Company, which operates Forest Park Place, St. Louis; Fontaine Ferry Park, Louisville, and Forest Park, Kansas City, opened this spring at the close of the Grand Opera House with Advanced Vaudeville. Bad weather was encountered at the opening of the season which held back the attendance, but later the park drew well and played to crowded houses during most of the season, which proved a very successful one. The theatre closed Oct. 1".

* "Memphis in Black and White" by Beverly Bond and Janann Sherman; "Memphis:  Images of America" by John Dougan; and "Historic Photos of Memphis" by Gina Cordella and Patrick O'Daniel
East End Park is extensively covered on a separate page of the website.  Please visit  >>   . East End Park



Historic Memphis Website



The Historic-Memphis website does not intentionally post copyrighted photos and material without permission or credit.  On occasion a "non-credited" photo might possibly be posted because we were unable to find a name to give credit.  Because of the nature of our non-commercial, non-profit, educational website, we strongly believe that these photos would be considered "Fair Use.  We have certainly made no monetary gain, although those using this website for historic or Genealogy research have certainly profited.  If by chance, we have posted your copyrighted photo, please contact us, and we'll remove it immediately, or we'll add your credit if that's your choice.  In the past, we have found that many photographers volunteer to have their works included on these pages and we'll  also do that if you contact us with a photo that fits a particular page. 


The "Historic-Memphis" website would like to acknowledge and thank the following for their contributions which helped make this website possible:  Memphis Public Library, Memphis University Library, Memphis Law Library, Memphis Commercial Appeal, Memphis Press Scimitar, Shelby County Register of Deeds, Memphis City Schools, Memphis Business Men's Club, Memphis Chamber of Commerce, Memphis City Park Commission, Memphis Film Commission, Carnival Memphis, Memphis Historical Railroad Page, Memphis Heritage Inc, Beale Street Historic District, Cobblestone Historic District, Memphis Historic Districts, Vance Lauderdale Family Archives, Tennessee State Archives, Library of Congress, Kemmons Wilson Family, Richard S. Brashier, Lee Askew, George Whitworth, Woody Savage and many individuals whose assistance is acknowledged on the pages of their contributions.  Special thanks to Memphis Realtor, Joe Spake, for giving us carte blanche access to his outstanding collection of contemporary Memphis photos.

We do not have high definition  copies of the photos on these pages.  If anyone wishes to secure high definition photos,  you'll have to contact the photographer  or the collector.  (To avoid any possibility of contributing to SPAM, we do not maintain a file of email addresses for anyone who contacts us).