Where did the first Teddy Bear come from?

It took us most of the day today to drift along a quiet Highway 61 en route from Vicksburg to Memphis,  The delta landscape was dotted with elegant white cranes all along the route.

Onward Store - Rolling Fork

The Onward Store at Rolling Fork makes a good stop en route and have lunch/stretch your legs.  This is where Teddy Roosevelt went on a bear hunt, failed to trap a bear and was offered a caged bear to shoot to make him feel better.  He refused to kill it and gave birth to the name Teddy Bear.  The original bear he gave to a child to commemorate the event is housed in the Old Courthouse Museum in Vicksburg.  There is a restaurant at the Onward Store, but it was closed on Easter Sunday.

First Teddy Bear - Deep South USA Onward Store Rolling Fork
Onward Store Rolling Fork
First Teddy Bear - Deep South USA Teddy Roosevelt's Bear Hunt
Teddy Roosevelt's Bear Hunt - Rolling Fork
First Teddy Bear - Deep South USA Onward Store Rolling Fork
How the Teddy Bear got it's name
First Teddy Bear
The original teddy bear that Teddy Roosevelt gave to a local kid and how the toy got its name.

What's on my Playlist?

Elvis Presley, of course – who else?!

What I'm Watching

Cold Mountain
Hidden Figures


Frank’s Pub & Grille – Tunica Resorts – Highway 61.  Give it a Miss!
We shared the bar “Cheers” style with a crowd of bikers with “Red Neck Paradise” blaring through the speakers.  This was without doubt the worst chicken sandwich I have ever eaten – deep fried to an unpalatable, rubbery lump and with no taste at all.  The cheery sign on the wall made me laugh though – “It’s a Good Day to have a Good Day!”

Huey’s – 77 S 2nd St. Downtown Memphis
It was Sunday, so live jazz  – The Sensations – played from 8pm – we had front row seats.  The burgers are the specialty here – the World Famous Huey Burger sets you back just $6.75.  There is a healthy option – with no butter ands reduced fat mayo, if you feel the need.  They challenge you to get a hamburger frill pick to stick in the ceiling .  The best way to do it is apparently to get a dry straw, insert your frill pick with the frill closest to your mouth, then aim up and BLOW HARD!  They take them down periodically and count them and make a donation to Memphis Zoo based on how many they collect.  $15,000 has been donated so far.


Tips for Future Travellers

We walked from Downtown to the Memphis Pyramid shopping centre in an attempt to get a view of the city at sunset from the glass elevator that goes right to the top.  Sunset was 7.38pm – the pyramid shuts at 6.30 on a Sunday.  There is no point walking all the way there either – there is easy parking right outside, or you can take the trolley bus right there.  It is also not a great place to walk – we were pan-handled a couple of times en route.

Is Memphis a safe city?  It has a distinctly downmarket feel to it generally and you need to be careful where you walk – especially after dark.  It didn’t feel as safe as New Orleans and they have one murder a day!  

Shortly before our visit, to Huey’s  there was a “dine and dash” incident.  There is a noticeable police presence around the main drag in Beale Street.  It is still a poor area – just as it was back in the 1950s.  You can imagine what a vibrant place Memphis (little Harlem of the South) was back in its heyday in the 1950s and 60s, with streets so packed with traffic it required traffic police to be on duty 24/7 at the intersection.  Very different from the ghost town that was left following the assassination of Martin Luther King and white flight.  

Even The Peabody Hotel was boarded up in the 1980s.  It is gradually being restored, but it still has some way to go.  Everyone says “Keep Safe” when they say goodbye to you here, which tells its own story.