The Peabody Hotel Memphis
The Peabody Hotel Memphis (149 Union Ave., 901/529-4000) is the city’s most famous hotel. Founded in 1869, the Peabody was one of the first grand hotels of the South, a place as well known for its elegant balls and big-band concerts as for the colorful characters who sipped cocktails at its famous lounge.
Named in memory of the philanthropist George Peabody, the original hotel was located at the corner of Main and Monroe. It closed in 1923 and a new Peabody opened two years later in its present location on Union Avenue. It remained the place to see and be seen for generations of Memphians and Delta residents. It was David Cohn who famously wrote in 1935 that “The Mississippi Delta begins in the lobby of The Peabody Hotel.”
The elegant hotel lobby is gathering place for the twice-daily march of the Peabody ducks. They live on the roof of the hotel, and make the journey—by elevator—to the lobby fountain every morning at 11 a.m. At 5 p.m. they march out of the fountain, back onto the elevator, and up to their accommodations on the roof.
The hotel employs a duck master who takes care of the ducks and supervises their daily trip downstairs. Watching the ducks is free, frenzied, and undeniably fun. It is also one of the most popular activities among visitors to Memphis, so be sure to get there early and secure a good vantage point along the red carpet to watch the duck march.
© Susanna Henighan Potter from Moon Tennessee, 5th Edition