Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Memphis in Shelby County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
 

First Holiday Inn

 
 
First Holiday Inn Marker image. Click for full size.
By Judith Barber, February 5, 2013
1. First Holiday Inn Marker
Inscription. The world’s first Holiday Inn was opened on this site, August 1, 1952 by Memphis entrepreneur Kemmons Wilson as a result of his unsatisfactory lodging experiences on a vacation the prior summer with his wife Dorothy and their five children. He soon joined with builder Wallace B. Johnson to establish a nationwide chain of inns, each marked by a giant green and yellow neon sign topped by a star. By offering family-oriented, predictable convenience and “inexpensive luxury”, this single 120-room motel located on the main route into Memphis from the east would evolve into the world’s largest hotel-motel system and make Mr. Wilson’s life a true rags-to-riches story. The first Holdiay Inn was retired by sale in 1973 and finally demolished in 1994.
 
Erected by Shelby County Historical Commission.
 
Location. 35° 8.925′ N, 89° 53.767′ W. Marker is in Memphis, Tennessee, in Shelby County. Marker is on Summer Avenue 0.1 miles east of North Mendenhall Road, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4923 - 4957 Summer Ave, Memphis TN 38122, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Lynching of Ell Persons (approx. 1.2 miles
First Holiday Inn Marker image. Click for full size.
By Judith Barber, February 5, 2013
2. First Holiday Inn Marker
away); Mullins United Methodist Church (approx. 1.2 miles away); St. Agnes Academy (approx. 1.3 miles away); St. Mary's Episcopal School (approx. 1.5 miles away); Christian Brothers High School / Christian Brothers Band (approx. 2.2 miles away); Nashoba (approx. 2.3 miles away); Eudora Baptist Church (approx. 2.3 miles away); Second Presbyterian Church (approx. 2.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Memphis.
 
Categories. Industry & Commerce
 
Kemmons Wilson image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, March 12, 2016
3. Kemmons Wilson
From a plaque at the National-Capitol Holiday Inn in Washington, DC.
Ribbon Cutting image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, March 12, 2016
4. Ribbon Cutting
The Wilson Children, Spence, Bob, Kem, Betty and Carole, cutting the ribbon on the first Holiday Inn in Memphis Tennessee in 1952.
From a plaque at the National-Capitol Holiday Inn in Washington, DC.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on February 16, 2013, by Judith Barber of Marietta, Georgia. This page has been viewed 396 times since then and 27 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on February 16, 2013, by Judith Barber of Marietta, Georgia.   3, 4. submitted on May 4, 2016, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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