Introducing the Rural Heritage Trust, an active history of rural Shelby County

With its first exhibit being unveiled Saturday, April 24, the new program honors and promotes engagement with the rich rural history of Southwest Tennessee

As the world slowly reopens after more than a year of our Covid coma, so too does the doors to our area’s rich and vast rural history. For the first public event for the new Rural Heritage Trust, a wayside exhibit panel will be unveiled at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, April 24 for the Rosemark-Kerrville Heritage Tour Route at Edmund Orgill Golf Course Clubhouse, 9080 Bethuel Road. 

“Rural Heritage Trust was born out of the Heritage Committee of the Shelby County Historical Commission in 2012,” says historian Jimmy Ogle. Encouraged along by Mayor Mark Luttrell during his term, it became a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in 2016. 

The Rural Heritage Trust website describes itself with a mission to identify, advance, and preserve the historical, cultural, agricultural, and natural resources of Southwest Tennessee. The area encompasses eastern and northern Shelby County, western Fayette County, and southern Tipton County, and is designed “to educate the public concerning those resources, and to promote more active and informed engagement in those resources by residents and visitors.”

The website includes a calendar of events, community histories, historical resources, and the maps and directions for driving and biking tours of the rural sites now active in the program.

“With funding from the Shelby County Commission’s Community Enhancement Grant program,” says Ogle, “RHT is now also developing three more heritage tour routes in Shelby County and an outdoor mini-museum in Barretville.”

Jimmy described the development as a slow march to its launch this spring of 2021, and an ongoing work in progress as the program adds more tours and resources and begins to cover and develop the history of the rural areas of Shelby County outside the Memphis city limits.

Unveiling of Two Wayside Exhibit Panels on Saturday, April 24 at 11:00am

The following gathering has been approved by the Memphis and Shelby County Health Department, and will be socially-distanced and masks required.


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