Historic Markers Across Tennessee

The Pinch

Marker ID: THC 4E 82
Location: Main Street, Memphis, TN
County: Shelby
Waymark: None


In the mid-1800s this twelve-block area became a stepping stone for European immigrants, and is known as Memphis's first commercial district. The name "Pinch" is traced to Irish settlers who fled the great potato famine. Their "pinch-gut" appearance prompted this slang description which became synonymous with the area. In the 1890s Jewish immigrants settled here, transforming the area to a merchant community. Pinch was home and business center to most of Memphis's Jews until the 1930s.

Erected by Tennessee Historical Commission.