This morning, Friday, March 24, Stephanie Wade of JS Real Estate announced the final approval of the Grigg’s Business College at 492 Vance and its official addition to the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service.
“We are extremely honored to have the privilege of shedding light on an unsung hero and a property so important to the legacy of Vance Avenue,” Stephanie said. “Listing in the National Register is only the beginning. We will have many more triumphs to celebrate.”
The Black-owned Grigg’s Business and Practical Arts College was in service from 1949 to 1971. The building’s landmark status was previously approved locally by the Memphis Landmarks Commission and subsequently by the Tennessee State Review Board. See related stories here.
The National Register of Historic Places is the “official list of our country’s historic buildings, districts, sites, structures, and objects worthy of preservation. It was established as part of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and is overseen by the National Park Service.” As of 2020, the register had more than 96,000 properties listed and 1.8 million contributing resources, which includes buildings, sites, districts, structures, and objects. Being added to the National Register is also the first step in gaining eligibility for National Park Service-administered federal preservation tax credits for financial assistance in restoring historic properties.
In order to qualify for a National Register listing, applications must show that a property meets at least one of four historical criteria. To paraphrase, a property must: (A) be associated with significant historical events; (B) associated with significant persons; (C) embody a distinctive type, period or method of construction or represents the work of a master architect or builder; or (D) yield information important to history or prehistory.
The team behind the nomination and the efforts to restore and activate 492 Vance have dubbed the effort The Grigg’s Legacy Project (a project that StoryBoard Memphis has been following and documenting since the team’s first walk-thru in the summer of 2020).