Cooper-Young, Memphis

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Intersection of Cooper Street and Young Avenue in the Cooper-Young District in Memphis (2008)

Cooper-Young is an eclectic neighborhood and historic district in the Midtown section of Memphis, Tennessee, named for the intersection of Cooper Street and Young Avenue. The entrance to the neighborhood is marked by the Cooper-Young Trestle, a 150-foot (46 m) long steel sculpture which depicts homes and businesses found in the neighborhood. Created by metal artist Jill Turman, the sculpture was dedicated in 2000, and has become a source of community pride and identity. In 2012, Cooper-Young was listed on the American Planning Association's 10 Great Neighborhoods in the U.S list.[1]


The neighborhood is known for its eclectic mix of shops, bars and restaurants, including the widely known Young Avenue Deli. Java Cabana, Cooper-Young's coffeehouse, was once host to the Elvis Impersonator shrine, as well as the Viva Wedding Chapel, where hundreds of people were once married in the backroom by Elvis impersonators. Other restaurants such as Cafe Ole, Tsunami, Soul Fish, Jasmine Thai, Celtic Crossing, Alchemy, Strano, Sweet Grass, Next Door, DKDC, The Beauty Shop, and Young Ave Deli represent diverse cuisines (sometimes several within one establishment) and reflect the creative spirit of the neighborhood.

Also in Cooper Young, one will find Amazing Lace, The House of Mews (a shelter for homeless cats), Goner Records, a local record label, Midtown Acupuncture & Natural Apothecary and Burke's Book Store. Cooper Young is also the home of Memphis' only hostel, Pilgrim House Hostel.[2]

Cooper-Young Festival[edit]

Each fall, the neighborhood hosts the Cooper-Young Festival, marked by a 4-mile run, arts and crafts vendors, and live music performances. The neighborhood is increasingly considered one of the more artistic and "hip" areas of the city, and shows evidence of successful urban revitalization in Memphis' core. The Cooper Young Festival, hosted by the Cooper Young Business Association (CYBA), is a popular outdoor celebration in Memphis, Tennessee. It is one of Memphis' most highly attended festivals and is continuing to grow. The festival is the largest single day event in the city where people pack into the neighborhood. It is free admission.[3] 400 artisans from around the country go to sell their music, arts, and crafts along Cooper Street and Young Avenue.[4] The festival came about in 1977 when a group of 500 residents from the area organized and decided to have it.[5] November 5, 1977 was the date of the first festival. It was a community flea market with a stage and playground activities in the parking lot of Galloway United Methodist Church. It turned into a three-day festival called Cooper Young Business Association Street Fair. Starting with 7,000 visitors, the festival grew to entertaining 100,000 visitors.[6] Every year the festival is kicked off with a neighborhood art invitational. An artist from the Cooper Young neighborhood designs a poster to represent the unique style of the Cooper Young area.[4] Bands are brought in to perform on three stages over the weekend.[5]


The Cooper-Young Community Association, founded in 1976, serves as the main advocate for the residents of the area and produces a monthly neighborhood newspaper, The Lamplighter, to communicate neighborhood and city news. The CYCA also sponsors the Festival 4-Miler race - a 4 mile race through the neighborhood the night before the Cooper-Young Festival.

The Cooper-Young Business Association serves as the primary advocate for the businesses and services of the neighborhood, and produces the Cooper-Young Festival to help draw attention to those business.

The Cooper-Young Development helps to drive development of the area through a number of activities, including the redevelopment and/or construction of over 55 homes since its inception in 1991. Due in part to the success of its mission and fewer opportunities in Cooper-Young to redevelop and due to a challenging economic climate, the CYDC Board plans to close operations in 2011.

Cooper-Young also has a large gay and lesbian community and is home to the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center. Every summer, the Memphis Pride Festival has its march through Cooper-Young, ending in Peabody Park.


  1. ^ Sells, Toby. "Cooper-Young in Memphis named one of the nation's '10 Great Neighborhoods'". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved 2012-10-09. 
  2. ^ Pilgrim House
  3. ^ "Cooper-Young". Cooper-Young Business Association. Cooper-Young Business Association. 
  4. ^ a b "Cooper-Young Festival". Cooper-Young Festival. 
  5. ^ a b Jordan, Mark. "Festival celebrates Cooper-Young's dramatic revival". GoMemphis. 
  6. ^ Bhatnagar, Sheifalika. "Cooper-Young Festival: How it Redefined Community". Cooper Young. The University of Memphis Department of Journalism. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°07′10″N 89°59′28″W / 35.1195°N 89.9910°W / 35.1195; -89.9910