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Historic 19th Century Club


Property Details

1433 Union Avenue 
Memphis TN 38104

Thursday, January 24th 2013, 12:00 Noon


Now is your opportunity to own a piece of Memphis finest historic homes.  Originally built for Rowland J. Darnell in 1909 and was one of many mansions that lined the stretch of  in Midtown, The Nineteenth Century Club, a philanthropic and cultural women’s organization, bought the magnificent house at 1433 Union Avenue in 1926.

A portion of the sales proceeds to go to a special project at the Children's Museum of Memphis.

This is a SEALED BID AUCTION - please download the necessary forms to place your bid.  Forms download is located on this page.
All bids are due on or before the auction deadline of Thursday, January 24, 2013 and are to be delivered to the offices of Morris Auction Group, 2687 Mount Moriah Terrace, Memphis, TN 38115.
Only the top three bidders will be permitted to protect their bid in the second round of bidding.


  • Built 1909
  • Sound 3 Story Wood Frame Structure, plus basement
  • Unique Architectural Features throughout
  • Commercial Zoned Property
  • Lot Size is appr 150 X 310 feet, appr 1.18 acres
  • Street Frontage on three sides
  • Large paved parking area
  • Uses can include Office, Retail, Special Purpose


All bidders will need to download and submit the following by 12:00 p.m., January 24, 2013:

  1. Bidder Registration Form

  2. Download and read Terms and Condtions

  3. Sign and submit Bid Certification Form

  4. Fill out, sign and submit Written Bid Form



By Marsha Wedell , Memphis

At the urging of Elise Massey Selden, a group of elite white women assembled at the Gayoso Hotel in May 1890 and founded what was soon to become the largest and most influential women's club in Memphis. Its stated objectives were "to promote the female intellect by encouraging a spirit of research in literary fields and provide an intellectual center for the women of Memphis." (1) Initially men feared that club activities would interfere with their wives' duties in the home and lead to involvement in public affairs, which ran counter to southern notions of female propriety. But the women were determined, and while they gave continuous assurances that they did not intend to usurp functions considered unsuitable for women and would not abandon their home responsibilities, they did expect to influence the moral, philanthropic, and educational future of their city. Gradually, the Nineteenth Century Club adopted the idea propounded by earlier women's clubs in the north and northeast that the community was but a broader household which needed the "gentler spirit" and "uplifting influence" of women, and by the end of the decade the focus of the Nineteenth Century Club had shifted in the direction of civic reform. As one Nineteenth Century Club member expressed their emerging definition of municipal housekeeping: "The advancement of women in the eternal scheme of things, means the advancement of the race." (2) The club adopted the motto "Influence is Responsibility."

The club was a success from the start, with a steadily rising membership that reached a peak of approximately fourteen hundred members in 1926. Club members entered into public life in areas they believed to be a rightful extension of "home duties" and created for themselves a solid position as a responsible force in civic reform. They focused primarily on the needs of women and children, and they addressed problems in areas such as sanitation, health, education, employment, and labor conditions. Some notable successes included the securing of a police matron at the city jail and a female sanitary inspector at the Board of Health and the formation of the Shelby County Anti-Tuberculosis Society and a new city hospital. They played an important role in bringing higher education to Memphis in the form of the West Tennessee State Normal School, now the University of Memphis. Club members also initiated a municipal "clean government" campaign, calling attention to violations of the liquor laws and widespread gambling and prostitution and demanding the ouster of corrupt officeholders.

In 1893 the Nineteenth Century Club was instrumental in the formation of a citywide network of club women, the Woman's Council, which helped focus and unite white women for more effective action; in 1896 a state organization, the Tennessee Federation of Women's Clubs, was founded to provide similar coordination among white women's clubs across the state. Members pledged "to strive for better homes, schools, lives, surroundings, scholarship, civic health and righteousness, the conservation of forests and places of natural beauty, and protection for unfortunate children and women laborers." (3)

At the time of its founding, the Nineteenth Century Club filled a vacuum in the lives of many women by providing an acceptable avenue by which they could develop long denied intellectual and civic opportunities. Through club work came the beginning of a public identity for these women and a heightened sense of female self-worth, with a support network entirely separate from family. But as educational opportunities for women improved and social work was professionalized, the Nineteenth Century Club gradually disappeared from the cutting edge of reform, and social functions became the central focus. The club remains in existence to this day; since 1926 it has occupied an imposing brick and stone structure on Union Avenue.


Auction Terms

Auction Terms:

Bid Deposit: 10% of your bid - Minimum of $50,000
Bid Deposits will be accepted in the form of cash, cashiers checks or personal check with a bank letter guaranteeing the amount or a combination of these payment types.  Please make the cashier's check(s) payable to yourself. In the event that you are the high bidder, you will simply endorse the check to Morris Auction Group as a non-refundable bid deposit. In the event you are not the high bidder, your cashier's check will be returned to you, and you may simply deposit it into your account. The high bidder will pay the Bid Deposit upon signing the sales contract at the auction.

All inspections must be done prior to the auction date.  Inspection Dates are published on our website.  You may hire your own inspector at your expense to inspect the property.  Call our office to make an appointment for the inspector to visit the property at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance. Please do not bid on any property until you have thoroughly inspected the property.

No Contingencies
All auction properties are sold in “as is” condition.  No purchase shall be contingent on financing or any other contingencies.  Potential buyers are given ample time to inspect properties prior to auction. Terms and conditions are preset and non-negotiable.

Buyer's Premium
A buyer's premium of ten percent (10%) will be added to the high bid to determine the total price to be paid.

Broker Participation

All licensed real estate brokers are encouraged to participate by bringing your buyers to the auction. A commission will be paid to the licensed and qualified broker whose properly registered buyer is the successful bidder at the auction, and whose buyer purchases the property. Brokers must register their prospective buyer on the required Broker Participation Form (completely filled out and signed). The form may be obtained by calling 901-565-7770. This form must be submitted to Morris Auction Group no later than 24 hours prior to the Auction.


The successful bidder will sign a real estate sales contract at the auction.  The entire purchase price must be paid by Cashier's or Certified Check, or wired funds at closing. The closing shall take place not later than thirty (30) days after the auction.  Closing is to take place at the offices of:
Ray Beliles
1709 Kirby Pkwy
Memphis TN 38120

Announcements made at the auction supersede all printed material. All information included herein was derived from sources believed to be correct, but is not guaranteed. 

Inspection Date

Inspection Date:

INSPECTION - Representative will be on site 
Wednesday, January 9th from 12 to 2
Wednesday, January 16th, from 12 to 2

Jeff Morris, CAI, AARE

Jeff Morris, CAI, AARE

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How to Participate


You must register with a valid ID (Driver’s License) on auction day and receive a bidder card in order to bid. If you are the highest bidder for a property, you will be required to make a bid deposit on auction day. This amount is posted on the property page of the web site and in the brochure.

Broker Participation Form