It started out Saturday as a
typical salvage operation for Memphis Heritage's Preservation Posse.
The volunteers went in,
crowbars ready, and pulled whatever they found in the house at 998
Emmie in the Rozelle-Annesdale Historic District that could be used
by someone else.
But a late-morning discovery
revealed something much more important than old doors.
"We had to rip this wall out
to get over in there, and they were all stacked up nice and neat
over there in the corner," said posse member Mike Force.
What Force found in an attic
storage area was an oversized framed diploma for Willie Rosella
Scott, who graduated from Kortrecht High School in Memphis on June
8, 1917. Kortrecht, the first brick building built for
African-American students would eventually become Booker T.
There were also four large
framed photographs of three African-American men and a young woman
from around that same period.
"I hope we can find the
family," said June West, Memphis Heritage executive director. "Our
goal would be to track the family down and give them to them."
Items salvaged from houses
usually end up in the Memphis Heritage Architectural Auction, held
this year in October at Sears Crosstown.
The diploma and photographs
will be sold at the auction only if the family isn't located and no
historic group wants them, West said.
Most of what was found at the
house on Emmie Street, built in 1900, is typical for the period,
said Erich Schroeder, posse sheriff.
"There's all this solid oak
trim that you don't find in houses anymore," Schroeder said.
The volunteers popped out trim
work around doors and windows and baseboards, but didn't have the
time or manpower to save the oak flooring.
There had also been some
mid-century upgrades to the kitchen which had metal cabinets and the
bathroom which sported mint green tile and tub.
Upstairs they found a large
1940s linoleum floor rug, which was lowered from a second-story
The volunteers even dug up the
Rozelle-Annesdale is one of
the 11 Memphis Landmarks Commission preservation zones. Structures
in those zones must get authorization from the commission to be
demolished, said Nancy Jane Baker, Landmarks manager.
"The reason that these
districts are created is to preserve the historic character of
neighborhoods, so we don't want to lose houses," Baker said.
"However there comes a time when a house is not structurally sound
and it has to come down."
The owner of the house on
Emmie died, she said. The heir didn't have the means to maintain it
and asked for a demolition permit, Baker said.
Memphis Heritage has asked
permission from Landmarks to go into the homes awaiting demolition
to salvage whatever it could, she said.
-- Linda A. Moore: