In Memphis , it is sometimes easy to forget that you are just steps away from the great Mississippi River. A trip to Mud Island will cure this ailment once and for all. Today, Mud Island is home to the Mississippi River Museum  and River Walk.
Mud Island rose from the Mississippi River as a result of two seemingly small events. In 1876, the river shifted slightly about 20 miles south of Memphis , causing the currents that flowed past the city to alter course. And then, in 1910, the U.S. Navy gunboat Amphitrite anchored at the mouth of the Wolf River for almost two years, causing a further change in silt patterns. When the ship left in 1912, the sandbar continued to grow, and Mud Island was born.
Residents initially disliked the island, since it was ugly and proved to be a danger to river navigation.
Beginning in the 1930s, poor Memphians — black and white — squatted on Mud Island in ramshackle homes built of scrap metal and wood. Between 200 and 500 people lived on the island during this time.
In 1959, a downtown airport was built on the island, but the airport was closed in 1970 when the DeSoto Bridge was built. In 1974, plans were developed for the present-day Mud Island River Park, which includes a full-scale replica of a river boat, a monorail to the island, and the signature 2,000-foot flowing replica of the Mississippi River.