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Court Square is a historic park that has existed at least since 1876, when the statue of Hebe was dedicated here. This small oasis in the middle of downtown office buildings also features a delightful gazebo and a bronze fountain. Court Square appeared in the movie The Firm as a backdrop for a meeting between Tom Cruise and Gene Hackman, and in real life serves as a relaxing spot for local office workers and visitors alike, who enjoy watching the restored antique cars of the Main Street Trolley go by.
Builders of churches in the U.S. in the 19th and early 20th centuries tended to borrow their designs from much older European constructions. Thus, this white stone cathedral, built in the late 1800s and early 1900s has the look of a 13th-century Gothic church from a town in Bavaria. W. Halsey Wood, the architect of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York, designed it. Look for the altar dedicated to the nurses who died after contracting yellow fever from their patients during the epidemic of 1878. Many were treated here, in the previous St. Mary's building.
Tom Lee was an African-American living in Memphis who became a hero when he saved 32 people from a sinking steamboat in 1925. Even though he could not swim, he rowed a small boat into the strong currents of the Mississippi River to rescue the victims. Tommy Lee Park, stretches for a mile and half along the banks of the river, is dedicated to this hero and contains a monument to him. This is the site of several events throughout the year, including the Barbecue Contest, the Sunset Symphony concert at the end of May, and a Jazz Festival.
Enjoy a healthy walk or jog with scenic views of the Mississippi River on Memphis' Riverwalk. The cool breeze, coupled with the splendid views makes strolling down this trail an absolute delight. There's even a scale model of the Mississippi River that you can walk along, pointing out cities and landmarks as you go. The trail also comprises several well-shaded areas and lush green lawns where you can spread out a mat and enjoy a great picnic.
Overton Park is the home of the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, the Memphis College of Art, and the Overton Park Municipal Golf Course. The park by itself is a lovely place to visit. There are trails for hiking and biking, tennis courts, a playground, picnic area, and huge, shady trees to relax under.The rainbow-painted amphitheater, once the location of concerts by Elvis Presley and ZZ Top, is now seldom used, but still a good place to sit and ponder the glories of music gone by.
Shelby Farms Park is one of the largest in the country, spanning 4500 acres (1821 hectares). Come here to experience tranquility mingled with awe as you explore the great outdoors. The park is home to a herd of bison and many other species of animals. Though once a working farm, now it serves as a favorite recreational spot to many. So go ahead and ride, bike, hike, fish or row!