Remembering Overton Square - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Remembering Overton Square

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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MIDTOWN MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

News of the sale and expected renovation of the old French Quarter Inn at Overton Square is creating a real buzz, especially among many who have been around the square for years.

They can remember what that corner location at Cooper and Madison has meant to Midtown Memphis over the years.

MORE: French Quarter Inn sold, to become boutique hotel

Looking at the French Quarter Inn today, it's hard to believe it was the place to stay in Midtown back in the 1980s when things were really happening at Overton Square. It closed in 2008 after years of decline.

News of a buyer out of Austin, Texas -- who plans to build an upscale boutique hotel in its place -- has everyone who loves Overton Square excited.

Down the street at Ardent Recording Studios the memories come flooding back for many who work here making music and videos. Jody Stephens, who is a producer and writer, was with the ground breaking Memphis band Big Star back in the day.

Stephens remembers Solomon Alfred's, the number one band forum for years at Overton Square. Two stages and thousands of bands played there. It was torn down in 1983 to make room for the French Quarter Inn.

"We never played there but I saw many bands there," he said. "The first thing that comes to mind is, I forget what they called themselves, but Wayne Crook and Joyce Cobb. Whatever they did it was just a great set and I think they would always end with, 'you can't be a beacon if your light don't shine.'"

Steve Tammi said he remembers Solomon Alfred's and all the other great nightspots on The Square. Sort of.

"Oh man had some good times all up and down there," Tammi said. "It's sometimes a little hard to remember cause I had too good of a time."

Jonathan Pekar moved back to Memphis from Los Angeles to work at Ardent but he remembers Solomon Alfred's well because he was too young to drink.

"They had great ribs and slaw," Pekar recalled. "A coleslaw because I could not drink and get crazy like everyone else. All of you, so it's the food I remember. Man, they had these great sauces! Really impressive."

Ardent Studios came to Madison Avenue in the 1970s and has been here for the rise and fall of Overton Square -- and now the rise of the Square again.

"So yeah, we're glad to see it coming back," Stephens said. "It will be just great for our clients to have something. So convenient."

So another huge piece of the Overton Square puzzle is about to fall into place.

And they said you could not put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

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