Memphis Trivia Tuesday: Thousands soak up the sun at 'beach with - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis Trivia Tuesday: Thousands soak up the sun at 'beach within reach'

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Named after developer Maurice Woodson's wife, Maywood opened July 4, 1931 on 400 acres of land near the Tennessee state line in Olive Branch, Miss. (Photo Source: Saul Brown via Memphis and Shelby County Room) Named after developer Maurice Woodson's wife, Maywood opened July 4, 1931 on 400 acres of land near the Tennessee state line in Olive Branch, Miss. (Photo Source: Saul Brown via Memphis and Shelby County Room)
White sand lined the lake, which was up to 10 feet deep in some parts. (Photo Source: Historic Memphis) White sand lined the lake, which was up to 10 feet deep in some parts. (Photo Source: Historic Memphis)
Maywood's property is now part of a subdivision. (Photo Source: wikimapia.org) Maywood's property is now part of a subdivision. (Photo Source: wikimapia.org)
OLIVE BRANCH, MS -

(WMC) - For 72 years, a spring-fed lake captured the hearts of landlocked Mid-Southerners yearning for an ocean breeze—or perhaps, some were just looking for a way to cool off from the Mid-South summer heat.

Named after developer Maurice Woodson's wife, Maywood opened July 4, 1931 on 400 acres of land near the Tennessee state line in Olive Branch, Miss. Woodson had employees truck in sand from Destin, Florida. According to Historic Memphis, the pool was filled by water tapped from a natural artesian water basin; residents called it the swimming beach for decades until it later earned a new title, water park.

From Memorial Day to September thousands hit the white sand that lined the lake, which was up to 10 feet deep in some parts. Families would hold picnics, and reunions and high school graduation celebrations were common at The Maywood Pavilion. Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash are said to have played at the venue during their early careers.

The Facebook page "Friends of Maywood" shares memories and history nuggets of the park, in one post a page administrator wrote:

"Memphians loved having a place such as Maywood, where they could slip away to the delicious coolness of a summer retreat, seemingly far removed from the teeming heat of the city life, even though the city was only a few miles away."

But in 2003, owner Hugh Armistead told WMC Action News 5's partner the Memphis Flyer that times have changed and that the park would close.

"We've had a remarkable safety record," he told the Flyer citing the increasing liability. "The past 15 years, we've never had a loss of life or a major claim. But that pool is more difficult to [life]guard than the beaches on the coast. The sand gets stirred up and it's hard to see into the water."

Maywood's property is now part of a subdivision.

Some Mid-Southerners used to travel to Willow Springs Water Park, also spring fed, in Little Rock, Ark. for a similar experience. It closed last summer after a young girl contracted a brain-eating parasite.


WMC Action News 5 brings you a week of history every week with Memphis Trivia Tuesday. Join the conversation with #MemphisTriviaTuesday on Twitter or Facebook. Learn more about Memphis history here: http://bit.ly/1h5D51M.


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