Last week, when the Mississippi River was overflowing over and crowds of people gathered on Riverside Drive to take a look.
Martyr's Park is remote, pleasant and high enough on the bluff on the southern edge of Downtown that you can get a pretty clear view of the river and both bridges (it's almost exactly below the Old Bridge).
What you might not know was what the name of Martyr's Park was. The park (and a massive sculpture in the park) is dedicated to the nearly 20,000 Memphians who stayed around to treat the sick when the town was decimated by yellow fever epidemics. The marker is here:
“”In August, 1878, fear of death caused a panic during which 30,000 of 50,000 Memphians fled the bluff city. By October, the epidemic of yellow fever killed 4204 of 6,000 Caucasians and 946 of 14,000 Negroes who stayed. With some outside help, citizens of all races and walks of life, recognizing their common plight in this devastated, bankrupt community, tended 17600 sick and buried the dead. As a result, many of them lost their lives, becoming martyrs in their service to mankind.”
The Riverfront Pedestrian Path connects Tom Lee Park to Martyrs Park, which sits high on the Chickasaw Bluff. Views of both bridges & the Mississippi River make this a popular spot for Photographers, as well as those seeking a peaceful spot to chill or watch the Sunset.
Vehicles access the 9-acre grassy Park via Channel 3 Drive, which dead ends at a small but Free Parking Circle adjacent to the Founders Pointe Neighborhood. Or there is Free Parking at Tom Lee Park, then walk South up the Bluff incline.
A plaque commemorates "the heros and heroines . . . who gave their lives serving the victims of Yellow Fever." The horrible Epidemic hit Memphis in 1878 & "devastated the city, leaving few survivors."
The number of Visitors discovering Martyrs Park has exploded since the opening of Big River Crossing to the South 1 year ago. BRC drew 250,000 Pedestrians & Bicyclists in its 1st year.
Most visitors recommend arriving at least 1 hour before Sunset. The Walk in both directions is scenic & pleasant.
Memphis, Tennessee, is home to some gorgeous green, open spaces and parks for you to lose yourself in. Check out these others you shouldn’t miss:
These amazing parks are located just down the street from our location at South Third Street across from The Southgate Shopping Center. Stop by for a visit anytime!