Cordova, Tennessee

Coordinates: 35°09′20″N 89°46′34″W / 35.15556°N 89.77611°W / 35.15556; -89.77611
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Cordova, Tennessee
Cordova Farms Flowers Fellowship sign
Cordova Farms Flowers Fellowship sign
Coordinates: 35°09′20″N 89°46′34″W / 35.15556°N 89.77611°W / 35.15556; -89.77611
CountryUnited States
CityMemphis (majority)
Settledc. 1835
 • Total8.019 sq mi (20.77 km2)
361 ft (110 m)
 • Total68,779
 Census Bureau American Community Survey
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
38016, 38018, 38088
Area code901
FIPS code12-38250[1]
GNIS feature ID1281298[2]

Cordova[3][4][5][6] is a community in Shelby County, Tennessee, United States. Cordova lies east of Memphis, north of Germantown, south of Bartlett, and northwest of Collierville at an elevation of 361 feet (110 meters).

The majority of Cordova has been annexed by the City of Memphis. The remainder of Cordova is in unincorporated Shelby County, within the Memphis Annexation Reserve area.[7] The boundaries of the Cordova community are inexact, but are generally regarded as the Wolf River on the south, Whitten Road on the west, Interstate 40 on the north, and Pisgah Road on the east.[citation needed] Parts of Shelby Farms are considered part of Cordova.[citation needed]The Old Cordova Area is centered on Macon and Sanga Roads, about a mile and a half east of Germantown Road.[citation needed]It consists of the former town of Cordova, with some of the original structures still present. The Wolfchase Area is not actually a part of Cordova, but is often referred to as part of the Cordova area by association.[citation needed] It contains major shopping centers, businesses and apartments.

Early history[edit]

Cordova was a farming village east of Memphis with fewer than a dozen farms when it was founded in 1835. Cordova was renowned for the freshly cut flowers that were shipped to Memphis, Tennessee, thus the town's motto was "Farms, Flowers and Fellowship".[8][9]

Cordova has changed its name several times. Originally, it was known as Allentown, then Marysville, then Dexter.[citation needed] In 1888, the Dexter post office was opened. In 1900, the name was changed to Cordova.[citation needed] The town most likely changed its name to "Cordova" so not to be confused with another town named Dexter that was located on the same NC&St.L railroad line that ran through town.

Railroad heritage[edit]

Cordova Train Station

Cordova was one of the many small railroad stops along the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railway route to Memphis, Tennessee. The original station which was built in 1889 is still standing. It is located on the corner of Macon Rd. and B St. in downtown. A train named the City of Memphis from Nashville to Memphis stopped at the former Cordova Railroad station (this station is still standing and has been sold to an individual who is renovating it so it can be utilized as a retail business). An important ammunition plant was near Cordova and was served by the railroad during World War II.[10]

Cordova has a railroad line running parallel to the main street (now Macon Road) that was served by P&M (Paducah & Memphis) division of the N. C. & St. L. Railroad (Nashville, Chattanooga & St Louis) that was chartered in Tennessee on December 11, 1845. In March 1957 N.C. & St. L. was taken over by the L & N Railroad (Louisville and Nashville). Because of this, the rail line was considered redundant and the mileage between Cordova and Jackson, Tennessee was abandoned and later scrapped in 1968. The remaining section was therefore made a spur line for the L&N, and later the CSX until 2002, when it was taken out of service. In 2008, this section of railroad was removed. An extension of the Shelby Farms Greenline was completed to the old railroad station in 2016 with future plans to extend it to Houston Levee Road.


After a seven-year court challenge to the right of Memphis to annex, portions of Cordova were annexed into the Memphis City Council Second District. These included the subdivisions and land developments of Countrywood (1995), Berryhill (1997), and South Cordova (2001). However, these areas of Cordova were not annexed by Memphis in the years as planned, since they were annexed in the latter years. In response to this, Countrywood was annexed into the city in May 2002, after a failed attempt annexation in 1995.[11] After several court and legislative challenges, Memphis completed its annexation of the Cordova region with the subdivision of Rockcreek, along U.S. 64 to the Fayette County line.[12][13]

South Cordova and Rocky Point de-annexation[edit]

In 2012, the South Cordova area was annexed by Memphis, and de-annexed in early 2021.[14] To respond to the de-annexation of South Cordova, Memphis had plans to annex the area in 2001, but decided to put it on hold for unknown reasons.[15] The Rocky Point area, which is part of Cordova, is centered north of Walnut Grove Road between the alignment of Forest Hill and Rocky Point Road. On January 1, 2021, the area was de-annexed by Memphis, and the area returned to unincorporated status.[16]


Cordova grew from a quiet country farm hamlet with a population of 150 people in 1912 to one of the fastest growing neighborhoods of Memphis. Retail growth exploded in the late 1990s thanks to the Wolfchase Galleria shopping mall, which at the time was the largest retail center in unincorporated Shelby County outside of the Memphis city limits. Today the majority of the growth is along Houston Levee Road and Macon Road as well as major retail and commercial centers on Germantown Parkway. There are now over 1,226 businesses with over 19,400 employees working in Cordova. As of 2020, Cordova has a population of 68,779.[17]

Cordova continues to preserve its past with a historic downtown which each year celebrates with an annual crafts fair and having its own Fourth of July parade.[18][19] The community is home of the Hope Presbyterian Church, a megachurch with average weekly attendance of over 7,500.[20] In 2005 the church scaled down plans for a $50 million auditorium with a bell tower that would reach to 180 feet after protests from local homeowners, but opened a smaller facility with 5,000 seats in December 2007.[21]

In 2010, the area's Heartsong Church gained national attention for opening its doors and welcoming the local Muslim population. The worshipers used this space during the month of Ramadan while the Memphis Islamic Center was being built. There were no protests, contrasting with other areas at the time including the proposed Islamic center in New York, and mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.[22][23]

Cordova is home to a branch of the Memphis Public Library system. The Cordova Branch Library started in one room at the old train depot on Macon Road before moving to the 1913 community center on Sanga Road. In 2004, the branch moved to its own building on Trinity Road.

Bert Ferguson Community Center, located on Trinity Road, is the current site of community athletic fields and rooms, walking trail, banquet hall, and educational development.

Notable people[edit]

Historic places[edit]

Cordova School, now the Community Center
  • Cordova Community Center
    (also known as "Cordova School" or "Cordova Elementary School") is a former school, Shelby county library with meeting rooms, and church. Constructed in 1913 and opening during World War I, it is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Through fundraising and donations, local citizens purchased the building from the Shelby County Board of Education in October 1985 for $150,000. The building is primarily used to host community events and classes and currently houses the Cordova Museum in a replicate of an old school room. Sports facilities include a gymnasium and ball fields for community athletics. The annual Cordova Festival is held on grounds having last celebrated its 24th anniversary in September 2011.[25]
  • Cordova Station
    A one room train station for the Nashville Chattanooga and St. Louis railroad in downtown Cordova on Macon Road. Later it served as the Cordova Branch Library of the Memphis-Shelby County Library for more than 50 years until the library was moved to its current modern facilities.
  • Sangie Cemetery
    Near the corner of Walnut Grove Road (formerly Raleigh-LaGrange Road) and Sanga Road, the cemetery is very old, dating back to the early 19th century. Privately Owned Cemetery.
  • Walter Granville Allen House
    The Walter Granville Allen House is an early 20th-century Colonial Revival private residence listed in the National Register of Historic Places.[26]


Cordova is zoned to Memphis-Shelby County Schools. Until the 2013 merger of Memphis City Schools and Shelby County schools, Cordova was divided between the two districts.[27]

Cordova Schools:

  • Cordova Elementary School [1]
  • Cordova Middle School [2]
  • Cordova High School
  • Chimneyrock Elementary School [3]
  • Dexter Elementary School [4]
  • Macon-Hall Elementary School [5]
  • Dexter Middle School [6]
  • Mount Pisgah Middle School [7]

Portions are zoned to Germantown Middle School and Germantown High School, which are not part of the municipal school system of Germantown.[27]

Private schools[edit]

Higher education[edit]


Historical population
2017 (est.)60,76216.3%

As of the 2010 Census, there were 78,138 people, 31,403 households, and 20,760 families living in the 38018 and 38016 zip codes which comprise Cordova. The area includes 33,515 housing units. The racial makeup of the area was 61.5% White, 29.2% African American, 0.29% Native American, 4.99% Asian, 0.065% Pacific Islander, and 2.48% from other races, and 2.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.47% of the population.

Of households in the area, 32.66% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.18% were married couples living together, 12.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.89% were non-family households. 27.41% of all households were made up of individuals, and 4.95% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34.5 years.

The median household income in zip code 38018 was $67,437 and the median income for a family was $82,319. In zip code 38016, the median household income was $64,190 and the median family income was $80,736. The per capita income was $34,806 in 38018 and $32,590 in 38016. About 5% of families and about 6.9% of the total population were below the poverty line, including about 10% of those under age 18 and about 6% of those age 65 and over.


See also[edit]

  • Information from the Tennessee State Library & Archives "Tennessee Place Names and Post Offices"
  • South-East Memphis / Cordova Community Centers at City of Memphis
  • "Cordova Community Center Web Site". Archived from the original on 2012-04-09.


  1. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  3. ^ "Shelby County Home Sales Heating Up Before Summer". Retrieved 2017-12-27.
  4. ^ "With new ramp and stairs, Perkins area has access to Greenline". Retrieved 2017-12-27.
  5. ^ "Cordova killing marks Shelby County's 17th homicide in 2016". December 22, 2016. Retrieved 2017-12-27.
  6. ^ Baker, Jackson. "GOP's Vaughan Wins Special Election for House District 95". Retrieved 2017-12-27.
  7. ^ "Annexation Reserve Areas: 3 & 5 mile radius". ShelbyCountyTnGov. November 2010.
  8. ^ Darlene Hooker Sawyer; Jane Howles Hooker (2013). Cordova. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 9781467110013.
  9. ^ Robert W. Dye (2005). Shelby County. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 9780738541921.
  10. ^ "Cordova Train Depot - N.C.&St.L - Cordova, Tn - Train Stations/Depots on". Retrieved 2017-12-27.
  11. ^ "Home". Retrieved 2023-06-09.
  12. ^ "Annexations by the City of Memphis with Ordinance and Study Area Numbers, 1819-2006". Retrieved 2017-12-27.
  13. ^ "Memphis looks at seven areas for de-annexation". Retrieved 2017-12-27.
  14. ^ Mandy Hrach (January 1, 2021). "Memphis is shrinking: South Cordova, other areas de-annexed; no longer part of city limits". Fox 13.
  15. ^ "Annexation and Coordinates 1827-2007 Shelby County". Retrieved 2021-07-11.
  16. ^ "Deannexation Update | Southwind-Windyke, S. Cordova, Rocky Point Video Brief". City of Memphis. August 14, 2020. Archived from the original on 2020-12-22. Retrieved 2021-08-06.
  17. ^ "Cordova, TN Complete Guide [2021] | What is Living in Cordova Memphis Like?". Big League Movers. October 15, 2020. Retrieved 2021-09-01.
  18. ^ "News". Mid-South Horse Review. June 14, 2005. Archived from the original on 2014-07-15.
  19. ^ "Rancho Cordova Fourth of July". Cordova Community Council. Archived from the original on 2017-12-28. Retrieved 2017-12-27.
  20. ^ "Top 100 Largest Churches". 2008 The Outeach 100. Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2010-08-10.
  21. ^ James Dowd (December 22, 2007). "Hope Presbyterian holiday events offer preview of new sanctuary". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved 2010-08-10.
  22. ^ Adam Rose (September 8, 2010). "Lead By Example: Amid Quran Controversy, Church Partners With Islamic Center". Huffington Post.
  23. ^ "Heartsong Church in Cordova has 'open doors' for Muslim neighbors". Archived from the original on 2011-11-21. Retrieved 2013-04-02.
  24. ^ "Daly's wife gives birth to a 6-pound girl". Tampa Bay Times. October 11, 2005. Retrieved 2021-05-04.
  25. ^ "What to do in Memphis for the Fourth of July". Retrieved 2017-12-27.
  26. ^ "National Register of Historic Places". Retrieved 2017-12-27.
  27. ^ a b Dries, Bill (March 10, 2014). "Cordova Parents Question Attendance Zone Changes". Memphis Daily News. Archived from the original on 2014-03-11. Retrieved 2014-03-11.