Memphis Madison Avenue Vintage Postcards and Photos


From the earliest days, Madison was known as "The Wall Street of Memphis" with the old Customs House at the end of the street on Front and the First National Bank of Memphis, chartered in 1864, at Madison and Third.  The Avenue has had some pretty impressive tenants during its history as well as being witness to historic events.  After the Civil War, Jefferson Davis made his career change from Confederate president to insurance salesman, on Madison, and operated his agency out of an office at Second and Madison.  His office was demolished and replaced in 1910 with the 22-story Exchange Building.  At the intersection of Main and Madison, Memphians witnessed the city's first electric streetlight in 1881.  And the University of Memphis began as a two year teacher's college on the corner of Main and Madison in 1912.


Madison was originally named "Madison Street".  Around 1910, Memphis reorganized their entire street numbering system and changed the name of all the North-South roads to "Street" and all East-West roads to "Avenue."  Madison begins at Front Street at the Old Customs House (University Memphis Law School) and runs east,  ending at East Parkway.


Click on small photos to enlarge them. 


Vintage Postcards of Madison Avenue ...


          Madison 1918

Madison  1907-10                       Madison 1907-10

         Main - Madison 1917

Exchange 1911



Madison 1950


Madison Circa 1910      Vintage Vintage 1907 Madison 1910

West 1914

From 3rd




Looking West 1909


Vintage 1900 1905 Madison -Night

1911 1911




Vintage Photos of Madison Avenue ...


This is ,perhaps, the most famous photo of Madison Avenue ...  taken around 1907



Main-Madison - 1912





Madison - 2nd 1950

Madison - YMCA

Madison - 2nd 1952


Old Customs House 1906

Looking West


Between Manassas and Pauline



1895 1900s




Madison-Bellevue 1900s





1923  Federal BAkery       









Toward Front Street    


<            The very busy intersection of Madison and Main ... Memphis 1912            >







Telegraph 1908 1875 Looking WEst 1930 Madison-Second
Madison Avenue ... Today







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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).