25 years ago — 1993
LOS ANGELES — Rock musician Frank Zappa, who rode to fame in the late 1960s as leader of the eccentric Mothers of Invention, died Saturday evening at his Los Angeles home from the complications of prostate cancer he had been battling for years. He was 52. The prolific guitarist was one of rock’s premier iconoclasts. In an era of increasing commercialism, he never tired of composing, strumming, singing and philosophizing to the beat of a wildly different drummer. “People think of me as some sort of deranged comedian,” Zappa once said in a magazine interview. Or, some might say, a musical counterpart to Mad Magazine.
50 years ago — 1968
The 44-year-old Hotel Claridge, plagued by poor business for several years, will be demolished starting next spring to make way for a 25-story office-hotel building, which is to cost between “seven and eight million dollars.” Developer Sam Dattel and his family own the Claridge and the entire block from Jefferson to Adams and from Main to Front. Mr. Dattel said the inability of the hotel to regain financial stability, an occupancy rate of “less than 50 per cent” and a growing need for new high-rise moteloffice construction dictated his decision to raze the 400room Memphis landmark hotel.
75 years ago — 1943
“In commemoration of the gallery’s twenty-fifth anniversary and in grateful acknowledgment to Mrs. Samuel Hamilton Brooks for her generous gift to the citizens of Memphis.” These words, prefacing the 25th anniversary brochure of Brooks Memorial Art Gallery in 1941, yesterday gained added significance with the death of Mrs. Bessie Vance Brooks, widow of Samuel Hamilton Brooks and donor of the gallery to the city. Mrs. Brooks died yesterday at her home in Daytona Beach, Fla., where she had lived the last 25 years. Brooks Memorial Art Gallery was donated in 1916 by Mrs. Brooks in memory of her husband’s public-spirited devotion to the city for 54 years.
100 years ago — 1918
In response to government request, “Americanization Day” will be observed this afternoon at the Nineteenth Century Club. Mrs. C.P.J. Mooney and Mrs. G.T. Fitzhugh will render vocal numbers and Miss Sarah Wright will give a dramatic reading.
125 years ago — 1893
It is utterly shameful that the Cossitt Library, on which every architectural adornment was lavished, has been completed almost a year and is still without books. Napoleon Hill, one of the library’s directors, is addressing himself earnestly to raising a book fund. Every adult Memphian should contribute immediately.
From left, Mr. and Mrs. Don Kessinger, Mr. and Mrs. William B. Tanner and Mr. and Mrs. DeWitt Shy talk racquetball at the Racquet Club of Memphis on 6 Dec 1975. They were attending a brunch and the topic of conversation was the upcoming William B. Tanner Pro-Am Racquetball championship. BARNEY SELLERS / THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL