Memphis Heritage's assistant director Margo Payne imagined an event that would appeal not only to preservationists, but to fans of unique architecture and curiosity seekers.
"We've all had some building that we've driven by every day. Maybe we were going to school or to work. But we've seen it maybe our whole life and wondered what was going on inside," she says. Preservation Posse: After Hours launched in March with a tour of Downtown's Universal Life Building, which previously housed one of the nation's largest African-American-owned insurance companies.
"One hundred-forty people turned out for that event," Memphis Heritage Executive Director June West says. "It turned into the biggest and most wonderful adventure.
- The Frayser Bauhaus
"We get to expose people to these projects, not as finished products, but while they're undergoing renovation," Payne says. "It's casual. An informal environment where people can have a beer or a glass of wine and walk around. And getting to to talk about the buildings and the renovations with the architects and developers can be special."
According to West, interest in the Frayser Bauhaus is so high it's slowing the current owners renovation progress. "She can barely get anything done some days," West says. "People are always pulling up and saying 'Oh my God, I've always wanted to see inside house!'"
Though described as the Frayser Bauhaus, this Memphis-area oddity, originally built for residential purposes, has also been described as International Style and Art Modern. Payne alternately describes it as being like a boat and a treehouse.
Visitors to the After Hours event will also get to decide the fate of two walls which may or may not be original. Pens will be provided to scrawl advice on the walls as to whether they should be kept or demolished.