The Peabody Memphis

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  • Locations: 149 Union Avenue, Memphis, TN 38103
  • Phone: 901-529-4000

The Peabody Memphis opened in 1869 as a symbol of the South's rebirth. Named for philanthropist George Peabody, it quickly became the business and social hub of Memphis. In 1925, The Peabody was rebuilt at its present location on Union Avenue and continued to host presidents, celebrities, socialites and prominent business professionals. In the mid-1970s, The Peabody closed its doors as downtown Memphis experienced economic decline. But the "South's Grand Hotel" would not stay shuttered for long. The Peabody re-opened in 1981 after an extensive restoration, breathing new life into downtown Memphis.

In the 1933, General Manager Frank Schutt returned from a hunting trip and mischievously placed his live duck decoys in the hotel's lobby fountain. A few years later, the hotel hired Edward Pembroke, a former circus animal trainer to train the five North American mallards to walk to and from the fountain each day, and the tradition of the March of The Peabody Ducks was born. Every day at 11 a.m., the ducks are led by the Duckmaster down the elevator to the fountain in the Grand Lobby. A red carpet is unfurled and the ducks march through the crowd to John Philip Sousa’s King Cotton March. The ducks remain in the lobby until 5 p.m., when the ceremony is reversed and the ducks retire to their rooftop penthouse for the evening.

The Skyway and adjoining Plantation Roof were added on to the hotel in 1939 and immediately became an undisputed attraction for big band dancers. Entertainers such as Tommy Dorsey, Lawrence Welk, and the Andrews Sisters appeared regularly. During the 1940s, The Skyway was one of just three national live radio broadcast sites for CBS Radio. One such weekly program called “Saturday Afternoon Tea Dance” was hosted by a young Sam Phillips, from 1945 to 1950, before he launched Sun Records… and the career of Elvis Presley.

The Peabody has been making memories for more than 145 years. From meetings to weddings, conventions to galas, The Peabody can accommodate groups of 10 to 2,100 in its 80,000 square feet of meeting space. The 36 function spaces range from stately, wood-paneled conference rooms with fireplaces to the 1930s Art Deco-styled Skyway. The rooftop offers breathtaking views of the Mississippi River and the Memphis skyline while the Continental Ballroom and adjacent Louis XVI feature ornate crown molding offering an elegant setting for any occasion. In addition, the Peabody Executive Conference Center features 12 private, luxury meeting rooms located exclusively on the 3rd floor that come with a wide array of services and technology.

Still called the “South’s Grand Hotel,” The Peabody is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was cited by the U.S. Department of the Interior as one of the country’s most outstanding preservation case studies. The Memphis landmark is legendary for its charm, elegance, and gracious Southern hospitality. Today The Peabody is the only Forbes Four-Star and AAA Four-Diamond rated property in West Tennessee, and is a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts and the National Trust Historic Hotels of America.

"The Mississippi Delta begins in the lobby of The Peabody Hotel and ends on Catfish Row in Vicksburg. The Peabody is the Paris Ritz, the Cairo Shepherd's, the London Savoy of this section. If you stand near its fountain in the middle of the lobby... ultimately you will see everybody who is anybody in the Delta..."-- Author/Historian David Cohn, 1935