Once upon a time, Memphian Stephanie Wade had a dream of restoring the mysterious building on the bluff at 492 Vance Avenue. In 2020, she embarked on a journey to uncover its mysteries and, with faith and hope, to acquire the property.

Join StoryBoard Memphis for our exclusive behind the scenes documentation of one Memphian’s epic dream to save and pursue Historic Landmark status for the long-vacant 492 Vance Avenue – the former Grigg’s Business College – restore the building to its former glory and transform it into a mixed-used anchor in a key area of South Memphis.

Originally built as a private residence in 1858, it would gain historical significance as a business college for African Americans, founded by Emma Griggs in 1949. It became the Griggs Business and Practical Arts College. It was one of two Black-owned business colleges in the city, in partnership with Henderson Business College on Linden, until 1971. In the building’s most recent chapter, it was home to Bluff City Lodge #96 Improved Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of the World until the mid-1980s. It was has been vacant since.

StoryBoard Memphis has been working directly with the development team since their first walk-though of the vacant structure in September of 2020, following and documenting the project. What is developing is an insider’s account of a compelling story documenting the dreams and struggles to take ownership of and attempt to restore this important, yet largely unknown place in Memphis past and future.

Please consider a one-time or reoccurring donation to help StoryBoard continue to support this important project:

Sponsoring StoryBoard’s Grigg’s Legacy Project coverage

If you are interested in sponsoring this project, please contact us by email at markf@storyboardmemphis.com.

News and Press: