Set on a tree-lined block of Adams Avenue near Orleans Street is Victorian Village , where a half dozen elegant Victorian-era homes escaped the “urban renewal” fate of other historic Memphis  homes.
Visitors can tour the Woodruff-Fontaine House (680 Adams Ave., 901/526-1469, Wed.–Sun. noon–4 p.m., adults $10, seniors $8, children and students $6), one of the street’s most magnificent buildings. Built starting in 1870 for the Woodruff family and sold to the Fontaines in the 1880s, the house was occupied through 1930, when it became part of the James Lee Art Academy, a precursor to the Memphis Academy of Art.
When the academy moved in 1959, the building became city property and stood vacant. Beginning in 1961, city residents raised funds to restore and refurnish the house with period furniture and accessories, and it opened as a museum in 1964.
This was during the period of urban renewal that saw to the demolition of many of Memphis’s  other old homes, and some of the house’s furnishings were taken from homes that were later demolished. Visitors to the house are given a guided tour of the 1st floor, and can explore the 2nd and 3rd floors on their own. This is a good stop if you are interested in antiques.
The Magevney House (198 Adams Ave., 901/526-4464) and the Mallory-Neely House (652 Adams Ave., 901/523-1484) are two other historical homes in the district. The Magevney House is the oldest middle-class residence still standing in Memphis . It was built in 1836 by an Irish immigrant to the city, Eugene Magevney. The Mallory-Neely House is of the same vintage and is notable for the fact that it was not refurnished in more than 100 years and so remains remarkably true to the era in which it was built.
The Magevney and Mallory-Neely Houses are owned by the City of Memphis, and due to budget cuts have been closed to the public. Call to find out if they have been reopened.