25 years ago — 1994 Forget Lillehammer, site of this year’s Winter Olympics. There was enough slipping, sliding, sledding, skating, crashing, crunching and caterwauling Thursday in Memphis for a decade’s worth of cold weather competitions. It was Norway on the Mississippi as Memphians on skates, sleds, cookie sheets, plastic bags and other slippery surfaces turned ice-covered slopes into make-believe bobsled runs, ski jumps and slalom courses. As early as 12:30 a.m., daredevils were tobogganing down the scary camel’s hump drop of the Auction Avenue Bridge, connecting Front street to Mud Island. Others chose the ice-coated grades of back streets throughout the city. 50 years ago — 1969 A two-million-dollar expansion to triple the number of beds of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and provide isolated care for 78 patients was announced yesterday by entertainer Danny Thomas, the hospital’s founder. Hospital officials expect to complete and approve the plans by mid-april and hope construction will be completed by late next year. Mr. Thomas made the announcement in an interview in his room at the Sheraton-peabody shortly before appearing at the Holiday Inn-rivermont where he spoke last night to more than 1,400 persons gathered to salute Sam Cooper, the 1969 recipient of the Brotherhood Award. St. Jude now has 36 beds in 18 rooms, but, because of the need for isolation, only one bed in each room is being used. The expansion would add 60 rooms with one bed each, giving a total of 78 private rooms. 75 years ago — 1944 Twenty-four persons were killed last night when a huge American Airlines transport en route from Fort Worth to Memphis plunged into the muddy waters of the Mississippi River near Cow Island Bend, 15 miles below Memphis. It was the second worst tragedy in the history of American’s commercial aviation. 100 years ago — 1919 Textile mill employees in Chattanooga have served notice that henceforth no member of the union will work more than eight hours a day. Some mill owners are expected to shut their plants down. A nationwide campaign is under way by workers to force an eight-hour-day on the textile industry. 125 years ago — 1894 WASHINGTON — The bill repealing all federal election laws regulating congressional elections has passed both houses of Congress and only awaits the signature of President Grover Cleveland to become law. The bill wipes out the most odious of all the laws that were the product of the Reconstruction period. No more will election “supervisors” intimidate citizens at the polls.
The city's asphalt plant at 1049 Sledge was one of the factors which had Mayor Watkins Overton and the other four city commissioners in a bitter City Hall feud in February 1951. Mayor Overton was accused of, but denied, offering the plant site for sale without informing the other city commissioners of negotiations. The $40,000 offer by Sears, Roebuck & Co. was turned down by Commissioner Williams, who valued the plant replacement at more than $107,000.