The Central Gardens Association’s Home Tour Planning Committee is excited to announce this year’s in-person, onsite Home & Garden Tour, Sunday, September 11 from 1:00 - 5:00. It has been three years since we have been able to bring neighbors and friends to tour the unique residences in our historic neighborhood and we simply cannot wait to welcome you!
This year’s event centers around Belvedere with homes, gardens and institutions featured along or adjacent to this beautiful boulevard. The selection of sites was purposeful in that we wanted to give our visitors a variety of experiences: stunning turn-of-the-century architecture; some more modern designs; lush, magical gardens, and the unparalleled beauty of churches that flank Belvedere. You can find the full listing of tour sites below.
We are also bringing back our Hospitality Center where you can relax and enjoy some snacks and a beverage. The Artist Market is back, as well, and will feature talented artisans from the Memphis area. Plus, the day will be loaded with other surprises for your entertainment.
To access the Central Gardens Home & Garden Tour eMagazine, click here.
The Halliday House
Built in 1912, the first owner of 619 S. Belvedere was William P. Halliday, Jr. who resided here with his wife and son. The wealthy Halliday, Jr. was the vice-president of Memphis Furniture Manufacturing Company and owned an investment firm located in the old Tennessee Trust Building. This Colonial Revival style home was designed in Memphis by architect Charles Oscar Pfeil. It is noted in Memphis: an Architectural Guide written by Eugene Johnson & Robert Russell.
Virginia and Lee McAlester’s definitive A Field Guide to American Houses calls out this particular subtype-Asymmetrical as being found on about ten percent of the remaining Colonial Revival houses. It was very popular prior to 1900 but gradually fell out of favor because of the desire to have attached garages which were difficult to incorporate within a balanced façade. This lovely example retains the hip-and-gable tiled roof, a hipped roof centered entry with a sun porch on the north elevation.
The Boyle House, 1909
2012 Home and Garden Tour
2018 Home and Garden Tour
The impressive mansion at the northwest corner of Belvedere Boulevard and Peabody Avenue was built in 1909 for Charles Boyle, who developed the street along with his brother Edward, as his own home. Boyle intended his home to serve as an example as to the level of quality to be built on Belvedere Boulevard and used it as a model for potential new neighbors.
Like many houses of the neighborhood, the design was influenced by several architectural movements. The three arched windows above the entrance are characteristic of the Mission style, with the wall extending to become a shaped dormer for the attic. The bull’s-eye window with quatrefoil surround flanked by small slot arched windows are all trademarks of the style that coincided with the promotion of passenger railroad service to the West. Influence of the Prairie style is shown in the distinct division of the first and second story with courses of rusticated ashlar limestone in alternating heights, giving a visually stable base for the textured stucco facing above and broad eaves supported by pairs of brackets.
Benjamin B. Harvey House, 1910
2002 Home and Garden Tour
2006 Home and Garden Tour
The Benjamin B. Harvey house, built in 1910 was one of the first houses completed on Belvedere Boulevard after it was open for development in 1906. The mansion was designed on a grand scale and incorporated elements of a craftsman and colonial revival styles.
Benjamin Harvey was a significant figure in Memphis commerce at the beginning of the 20th century, having founded the Harvey Cotton Company in 1896 and developing it into one of the largest cotton brokerage firms in the city in less than a decade. Harvey was not a politician, but he was an active, behind-the-scenes promoter of the progressive “Greater Memphis Movement” in the late 1890s; this progressive movement led to the annexation of the area now known as “Midtown” and the development of the city's park and Parkway system among other major cities civic improvements.
The Coley House, 1981
This cozy corner at Harbert and Belvedere was previously the side garden of the farmhouse immediately to the west at 1646 Harbert. After sitting empty for decades (with the exception of a fort built by neighborhood children) , the lot was purchased by Dr. William O. Coley and his wife, Frances. This warm and welcoming family home was designed and built by their son, William O. Coley III in 1981. The home is a one-and-one-half story Colonial Revival residence with brick veneer. The design includes a side gable roof with asphalt shingles, brick interior end chimneys, dentilled cornice, and three gabled dormers with 8-light paired casement windows. It has an inset entry porch with paired leaded single-light wood entry doors and original, paired 12-light casement windows with a heavy wood cornice.
Warren Ayres House, 2001
Charles Shipp, Architect
Builder Warren Ayres developed the vacant south garden of the adjacent house at 644 South Belvedere in 2001 with a house design by Charles Shipp. Sharing many similarities with the latter Colonial Revival houses of the neighborhood, the two-story Georgian portico of Palladian inspiration leads to a traditional floor plan with a center hall. Beyond that, a combination family room and kitchen becomes a more contemporary space. Built for the speculative market, the Ayres family fell in love with the house on completion and had no choice but to move in.
The landscape design at the Ayres home is the epitome of a traditional southern garden, with plenty of flowering plants, places to tuck away in the shade, statuary, and of course, hydrangeas.
The Felsenthal House
The grand Italianate home at 543 South Belvedere was designed by architect Hubert T. McGee on behalf of wholesale grocer J. C. Felsenthal, and his wife, Cecelia. According to an article describing the building plan in the Commercial Appeal from April of 1923, “the architect has patterned the building after the Italian renaissance fashion and has arranged it so as to be replete with modern comforts and conveniences”. Hubert T. McGee is most noted for having designed the “Pink Palace” in Memphis for Piggly Wiggly founder Clarence Saunders. This two-story, limestone Italian-style residence, with tile roof and arched entry porch was completed in 1924.
The Somerville House
This stately mansion at 644 S. Belvedere has been the location for many celebrations, meetings and other gatherings of members of Memphis’ high society throughout its storied history. The two-story Italian Renaissance style residence with stucco exterior was built in 1912 and was first owned by Alabama native Dr. William G. Somerville and his wife, Minter.
This mansion features a hipped tile roof with bracketed eaves, exposed rafter tails, and poured concrete exterior and interior central chimneys. The inset entry porch with Doric columns below includes a cantilevered open gable and pergola. Original pairs of 8-light wood doors with arched fanlight transoms open onto wrought iron balconettes. In the back garden, a gunite pool with limestone coping and handmade ceramic tiles is the centerpiece of a large, nearly 2-acre bucolic setting.
The Wilkinson House
At the corner of Carr and Rozelle sits a charming, two-story Craftsman-style airplane bungalow with gorgeous gardens both in the front lawn and out back. The home was built around 1919, and the first owners listed in 1920 were Cliff S. Blackburn and his wife, Charlie B. Blackburn. Cliff Blackburn was at one time in a partnership with Clarence Saunders (of Piggly Wiggly fame) as the two were co-owners of Saunders-Blackburn Grocery Company. The Blackburns only lived in the home for a short while, selling the property in 1924. Between 1924 and 1938, the home changed owners several times, but in 1938, the home was purchased by Charles L. Wilkinson, his wife Mary and their son, William. The home would stay in the Wilkinson family for 57 years.
The current homeowners, an architect and an interior designer, bought the property in 1999 and have completed various interior renovations over the years to include major kitchen and bathroom renovations, as well as a comprehensive landscape/hardscape project for the gardens.
Central Gardens AssociationP.O. Box 41382 • Memphis, TN 38174-1382
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