South Main District

This episode revolves around the buildings, businesses, hotels and people of the South main District of downtown Memphis. From it’s humble and varied beginnings to it resurgence we’ll discuss and remember the train stations, famous hotels (and their inhabitants) and the businesses that made downtown Memphis vibrant. 

Join host Mike Vanelli along with an esteemed panel of local historians and life-long residents as we walk through this important cornerstone of our city and its history. 

This show was recorded at CenturyHouse and we want to thank Anton Mack for his wonderful hospitality and allowing us to record in such a beautiful location. 

Our panel:

Jimmy Ogle – Jimmy has spent 40 years in Downtown Memphis in tourism, parks and recreation beginning in 1979 with the Memphis Park Commission managing the special events in Tom Lee Park.  Then, beginning in 1985, leadership positions at Mud Island River Park, Memphis Queen Line, Beale Street (Performa Management), Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, Ericson Group and Beale Street Landing.

In 2008, Jimmy began free walking tours in Downtown Memphis with the Great Union Avenue Manhole Cover & History Tours. The walking tour activities grew to absorb Jimmy’s life in the public sector, becoming only the third Shelby County Historian ever. In 2018, Jimmy gave 252 free walking tour or lectures throughout Memphis.

His website can be found at





Anton Mack has dedicated his life to developing great talent. Early in his career, Anton coached and judged elite-level gymnastics, produced and choreographed actors for the theatrical stage, and counseled undergraduate and graduate students in business, engineering, law and medicine. He served as an admissions director at the Johns Hopkins University and University of Baltimore School of Law, dean of admissions at Loyola Law School, largest in California, and later, as managing director and chief talent officer at top-ranked international law firm, Paul Hastings LLP. He hired and trained over 1000 lawyers across Asia, Europe, North America and South America, and created fellowship and scholarship programs at leading universities, including Cambridge, Harvard, Oxford, Paris, Peking and Yale.

Today, Anton manages a multi-faceted business which includes business and career advising, media production, and Century House, the private social club. He serves as the president of the South Main Association and board member of the Center City Development Corporation of the Downtown Memphis Commission. Anton holds a bachelor’s degree from the Johns Hopkins University and an MBA from ESCP Europe (Paris). He also completed graduate studies at Harvard University, the College of Europe (Belgium), Fundação Getúlio Vargas (Brazil), and the University of Texas-Austin. He was classically trained at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, and was a state gymnastics champion.

Hailing from Central London most recently, he has overseen the restoration of Century House and the development of the club. Anton’s vision is to build a home with an unrivaled calendar of original events, parties and performances, and first class service for its brilliant members and their guests.

Jen Canale Ireland was born and raised in Memphis. She graduated from St. Agnes Academy in 1991 and holds a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Memphis. Jen and her husband, Bobby, have two sons: Nick, a junior at Christian Brothers University, and Matt, a sophomore at Christian Brothers High School. Jen has proudly held the title of “stay-at-home mom” for the past two decades.

For years, Jen has held the unofficial role of her family’s genealogist. With her children getting older, she is able to dedicate more time to her passion for genealogy and the delights in discovering her family’s roles in Memphis’ rich history. Read more of her bio here






Linda Granell moved to Memphis in 2002 from the suburbs of her native Southern California and was interested in living nowhere but Downtown. She was fortunate to purchase a home on South Main Street at a time when few were available and immediately became enamored with the rich cultural, family, architectural and artistic past of the South Main Historic Arts District.

Linda has been involved with the South Main Association since her introduction to the community and has served on its board many years in a number of capacities, now as chair of the association’s history committee as it prepares for its 20th anniversary in 2020.

Linda graduated with a degree in journalism from California State University, Chico in 1976. Following several years as a reporter in California and abroad, she served in executive communications positions at the University of California, Irvine and University of Redlands. She was recruited to Memphis as marketing director of the American Contract Bridge League, melding her vocation with her avocation. At the ACBL, she championed the creation of the ACBL Museum, the premier collection of bridge-related artifacts in the world.

In preserving and communicating the value of the district’s history and its contributions to Memphis, Linda hopes to inspire new and future South Mainers to support the progress of the community while embracing the past that made that progress possible.

Research team: Joe V Lowry, Mike Vanelli, Bill Nourse, Jen Canale Ireland
Moderator: Mike Vanelli
Editor: Trish Gully
Producer: Mark White 

1 thought on “South Main District

Leave a Reply