Historic Maywood Beach

    ...a different kind of Water Park


Maywood Beach was a water park located just across the Mississippi state line in Olive Branch, Mississippi.  It was opened by Memphians Maurice and May Woodson in 1931, who were looking for a change of pace from city life.  To achieve this, they purchased 400 acres of land 17 miles south of Memphis.  On the property was a spring fed lake.  They dug out the lake and lined the bottom with several tons of beautiful white sand imported from Destin, Florida.  And then they filled the lake by tapping down into a natural artesian water basin below ground.  This eventually fed into two other lakes on the property.  They added  picnic tables, barbecue pits, pavilions, a bowling alley, playgrounds, snack bar,  and a tearoom and named the complex "Maywood" after Mrs. Woodson. 

From the beginning, Maywood was a great success.   For many in the Memphis area, it was the only beach they'd ever seen.  And it remained largely unchanged throughout its long history.  Water was the key element at Maywood.  The water was cold, clear, with no hint of chlorine.  It was so clear you could see your toes against the white sandy bottom.  The feeling here was often compared to spending a vacation at a 1930s campground beside a  lake.  It was just about the best place a kid from Memphis could go during the hot-humid summers.

The Maywood Pavilion was a popular dance arena and is remembered as a revenue where Elvis Presley played early in his career.  The Maywood Tearoom offered social events for the ladies, including hat contests.  Maywood Beach was considered THE PLACE for graduating high school classes to hold their senior picnics.

For 70 years people enjoyed Maywood.  And then in 2003 came the totally unexpected news from the current owner, Hugh Armistead, that Maywood was closing, and the lake and surrounding property would be turned into a private residential development.  What a sad day this was for Memphis.


 Click on small photos to enlarge them. 

Maywood Beach                 Maywood Maywood


Maywood 1964 Maywood 1957 Maywood Group Photo

Maywood Fountain

Elvis 1953

Maywood 1930s


1951 - It was  a High School tradition for classes to hold their "Senior Picnic" at Maywood.


Maywood Ad

Maywood Ad

Maywood Pass 1980

Maywood Beauties Maywood Ad Maywood 1997 Maywood

Vintage Maywood

Vintage Maywood


Vintage Maywood


CREDITS: The "Historic-Memphis" Team would like to acknowledge and thank the following organizations for their contributions which helped make this page possible:  Memphis Public Library, University of Memphis Libraries, Memphis Commercial Appeal, Memphis Press Scimitar, Greater Memphis Chamber, Memphis Flyer, Vance Lauderdale Family Archives, Memphis Heritage, Tom Leatherwood Shelby County Register, Lee Askew, George Whitworth, Joe Spake,  and many other individuals whose assistance is acknowledged on individual photos.


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