Memphis Sesquicentennial Celebration-1969

"This is the Year"


The city of Memphis was 150 years old in 1969 and planned a grand celebration to commemorate its sesquicentennial anniversary - a birthday party the like of which the South had never seen.  The sesquicentennial theme was "This is the Year" and events were planned for the entire year.  On May 3, the historic Cotton Carnival began its 9 day run.  And this was followed by the Memphis Open Golf Tournament, The Memphis Rose Show and the Tennessee Poetry Festival.  June started off with the W. C. Handy Memorial Concert, honoring "The Memphis Sound - Yesterday and Today".  This was followed by the Mid-South Fair at the Fairgrounds, Sailing Regattas on the Mississippi, the Performing and Graphic Arts Festival, and the Autorama which featured rallies, races, modern and antique auto shows.  In December, the year of celebrations culminated with the Liberty Bowl Football Classic at the Fairgrounds. 

Mayor Henry Loeb  


The paragraph above is the "official" information.    However, photos and information of all Sesquicentennial celebrations seem to be almost non-existent.  Even the memorabilia is rather dull.  


 Click on small photos to enlarge them. 


1969 Logo Photo        

1969 Cotton Carnival Royal Barge

Cotton Carnival Queen - 1969


Country-Blues Festival

Blues Festival Poster

Liberty Bowl Program

Liberty Bowl Game


Hendrix at Ellis

Big year for Elvis

1969 Movie Ad

1969 in Review


 City Hospital Marker

Old City Flag

New City Flag - 1969


Bukka White - Misty Lavendar

Johnny Winter

Crazy Horse 1969 Program

The 1969 Country Blues Festival Program is posted below.  Click on each for an enlargement.  Thanks to Cassandra Wonderly


Cover 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14


The Press Scimitar and The Commercial Appeal newspapers each published a magazine during the Sesquicentennial.  The magazines are roughly 136 pages and feature articles and stories about Memphis during the first 150 years.  Unfortunately, the magazines don't contain many historic photos from the early years or from today. 

Frankly, it didn't seem to be much of a celebration.

Press Scimitar Magazine

Commercial Appeal Magazine


The index page and opening story of the Press Scimitar Magazine are posted below.


Up From Mud - 1

Up From Mud - 2

Up From Mud - 3


Up From Mud - 4  

Up From Mud - 5  

Up From Mud - 6 

Up From Mud - 7 


Sesquicentennial Memorabilia ... is very collectible


          1969 Logo Photo

Bumper Sticker




Boy Scout Patch

Ash Tray

Official Envelope


  Handy Day of Issue Card-Stamp

W.C. Handy Stamp

Ad - National GeoG



Coin -Silver         

Coin - Back

Coin - Gold

Coin - Back

    Coin - Brass




Scout Medal

Souvenir Plate

Auto Antennae Flag    




1918 Promotion






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).