The city is home to Memphis International Airport, the world's busiest cargo airport, which serves as the primary hub for FedEx Express shipping and became a secondary hub for Delta Air Lines after it merged with Northwest Airlines in 2008. Memphis International Airport is the global "SuperHub" of FedEx Express, the world's largest airline in terms of freight-tons flown, and has the largest cargo operations by volume of any airport worldwide.
Quick Facts about Memphis, Tennessee
- The population of the greater Memphis area is 1,305,496 (41st largest in the US).
- US News and World Report named Memphis “#1 City for Real Estate Steals in 2010."
- Forbes Magazine listed Memphis one of "Top 10 housing markets across America in 2010.”
- Smart Money Magazine listed Memphis in the "5 markets expected to fare best in 2010."
- MSN Real Estate named Memphis one of the "The best 5 real estate markets for 2010."
- Memphis has a high percentage of renters, 46% versus a national average of 28%.
- Moody’s House Price Forecast: a 9% increase in 2012, a cumulative 24% increase through 2014.
- Parents magazine named St. Jude the No. 1 pediatric cancer care hospital in the country.
- Business 2.0 ranks Memphis in the Top Ten US cities to invest in real estate.
- Inc Magazine puts Memphis in the Top Ten metro areas to start a business.
Economy and Industry
Memphis is the home of four Fortune 500 companies: FedEx Corporation, AutoZone Incorporated, ServiceMaster and International Paper. In addition, Memphis is home to the pharmaceutical/healthcare firm Schering-Plough Corporation, serving as the company's research and development center.
Other major corporations based in Memphis include:
- Sofamor Danek
- First Tennessee National Corporation
- Pinnacle Airlines, Inc.
- Thomas and Betts Corporation
- Mueller Industries
- Fred's Inc.
- Verso Paper
- Allenberg Cotton Co.
- Dunavant Enterprises
- Accredo Health Group, Inc.
- GE Capital Aviation Services, Inc.
- Baptist Memorial Hospital
- Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare
- Baker Donelson
Corporations with major operations based in the Memphis area include Hilton Worldwide, Technicolor Home Entertainment Services, Smith & Nephew, Sharp Manufacturing, Brother International, and Harrah's Entertainment.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
The St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, the country’s leading pediatric treatment and research facility focused on children's catastrophic diseases, resides in Memphis. The institution was conceived and built by the late entertainer Danny Thomas in 1962 as a tribute to St. Jude Thaddeus, patron saint of impossible, hopeless, and difficult causes. St. Jude is the only pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance. No child is ever denied treatment because of the family’s inability to pay.
St. Jude recently completed an extensive expansion program that bolstered the hospital’s research and treatment efforts, while more than doubling the size of its original campus. The campus now has 2.5 million square feet of research, clinical and administrative space dedicated to finding cures and saving children. The expansion included the Children’s GMP, LLC, which is currently the nation’s only pediatric research center with an on-site facility for the research and production of highly specialized treatments and vaccines; an expanded Department of Immunology; and a new Department of Chemical Biology and Therapeutics for discovery of new drugs.
Arts, Culture and Entertainment
Memphis is well known for its cultural contributions to the identity of the American south. Many renowned musicians grew up in and around the Memphis and Mississippi Delta. These included such musical greats as Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Muddy Waters, Johnny Cash, Robert Johnson, W. C. Handy, B.B. King, Isaac Hayes, Booker T. Jones, Al Green, and many others.
The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, founded in 1916, is the oldest and largest fine art museum in the state of Tennessee. The Brooks' permanent collection includes works from the Italian Renaissance and Baroque eras to British and French Impressionists along with 20th-century artists. In addition, Memphis plays host to the Dixon Gallery and two burgeoning visual art areas, the South Main Arts District and Broad Street. The National Civil Rights Museum is located in the former Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. It includes a historical overview of the American civil rights movement.
Graceland, the former home of music legend Elvis Presley, is one of the most visited houses in the United States (second only to the White House), attracting over 600,000 domestic and international visitors a year. Featured at Graceland are two of Presley's private airplanes, his extensive automobile and motorcycle collection, and other Elvis memorabilia. On November 7, 1991 Graceland was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Sports and Recreation
Memphis has one professional sports franchise, the Memphis Grizzlies which is an NBA basketball team that is extremely popular in the area and has performed well enough to make the playoffs the last 2 years. In addition, the University of Memphis is a perennially top-rated basketball team and reached the National Championship Game in 2009. Memphis is also home to Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, which is the site of University of Memphis football team, the AutoZone Liberty Bowl and the Southern Heritage Classic. The annual St. Jude Classic, a regular part of the PGA Tour, takes place at the TPC Southwind golf course in Memphis.
Shelby Farms Park, located at the eastern edge of the city, is one of the largest urban parks in the United States. Other major Memphis parks include, W.C. Handy Park, Tom Lee Park, Audubon Park, Overton Park including the Old Forest Arboretum of Overton Park, the Lichterman Nature Center—a nature learning center, and the Memphis Botanic Garden.
Blues fans can visit Beale Street, which used to be the center of the Black community, where a young B. B. King used to play his guitar. He occasionally appears there at the club bearing his name, which he partially owns. Street performers play live music, and bars and clubs feature live entertainment until dawn. On December 15, 1977, Beale Street was officially declared the Home of the Blues by an act of Congress. During the first weekend of May, the Beale Street Music Festival brings major music acts from a variety of musical genres to Tom Lee Park at the end of Beale Street on the Mississippi River. The festival is the kickoff event of a month of festivities citywide known as Memphis in May.