Levitt Shell receives historical marker for significance in musi - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Levitt Shell receives historical marker for significance in music history

(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5) (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5) (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

From local bands to mega-stars, the Levitt Shell stage has seen its share of thousands of them since it's creation in 1936. Now, the music venue, which was built during the Great Depression, has its own historical marker. 

Mobile users: Click here to see the historical marker.

The Works Progress Administration and City of Memphis built Levitt Shell at Overton Park for $11,935. 

One of the primary reasons Levitt Shell is still standing, and now receiving its historical marker, is the role it played in launching one of the most well known names in Memphis music history: Elvis Presley. 

On July 30, 1954, Elvis Presley stepped on the stage and launched his performing career.

Approximately 100 shells were built around the country during the Great Depression. Levitt Shell in Memphis is one of the few WPA Shells still standing, despite the multiple times city officials slated it for demolition. 

"It is the center of community life, so no matter what is going on in the city, no matter what is going on musical taste at the time, it remains such a central part of people's hearts and minds in Memphis," Levitt Shell's Executive Director Anne Pitts said. 

The stage also played a vital role during the civil rights era, when blues artists and fans ignored the culture of segregation and gathered for the Memphis Country Blues Festivals that were held from 1966-1969. 

The majority of the concerts at Levitt Shell have been, and continue to be, free to those in attendance.

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