New Glory From The Census Report

October 6, 1900

Memphis has Celebrated
New Glory From the Census Report Has Been Commemorated

Just as one would expect now if the census showed Memphis had grown past Nashville and Atlanta, there was dancing in the street. Huge crowds lined the streets for a parade. Horns honked across the city. It was utter joy. One account suggested it was the greatest day in Memphis history. Newspapers competed to see which could raise more excitement about the announcement.

The 1900 census pushed Memphis’ post-Civil War, post-yellow fever population count to 102,320 and beyond those of Nashville and Atlanta, its head count up 58 percent in a decade.

No civic celebration can be complete without speeches, and the day was filled with them.

One comment that rings true even today:

I’m glad to see all this enthusiasm and hear all this horn honking because it shows clearly the fact that Memphis people are interested in the progress and growth of their city. One of our greatest troubles has always been that we have not been blowing our own horn.

A bit of truth in advertising: The population had been pushed up, in part, by an eleventh-hour annexation.

Along with The CA's extensive coverage of the celebration came a two-page testimonial signed by dozens of the city's top businessmen touting the region for growth. There were the usual talking points about its dominance in hardwood and cotton and others that helped illustrate the city's new dynamic spirit:

The largest snuff market in the world
The only golf stick manufactory in the South
The largest coffin manufacturing center in the South
Telephone exchange with 2,300 subscribers
A bridge across the Mississippi River that cost $3,500,000