Memphis Downtowner magazine published the article “The Cotton Museum at the Memphis Cotton Exchange” by Mitzi Palmer.
In the early 20th century, Downtown Memphis didn’t have a major NBA basketball arena filled with excited Grizzlies fans. Nor did it have AutoZone Park or even the Beale Street Flippers.
What it did have, however, was a bustling trade center at the corner of Union and Front known as the Memphis Cotton Exchange, which connected local cotton farmers to the worldwide textile market. The fortunes made there define Memphis in its present day.
“For more than 150 years, cotton commerce in this area played a major role in establishing Memphis,” says Carol Perel, operations manager of The Cotton Museum at the Memphis Cotton Exchange. “Many people don’t realize that.”