My newest post on the Pink Palace (long may the name live) blog:
Owners name buildings to give them identities and personalities. Once a building becomes part of the public domain, however, control over both the name and the character of the structure are largely out of their control. This occurrence is made clear in the case of this museum’s name. When Clarence Saunders planned his behemoth mansion, he christened it Cla-Le-Clare. The moniker was a combination of the names of his children—Clay, Lee and Clare. Memphis legend tells us that locals renamed it the Pink Palace as soon as the Georgia marble was added to the mansion.
The Memphis Park Commission was later tasked with turning the empty home into a museum. The commissioners decided to rename Cla-Le-Clare the Memphis Museum of Natural History and Industrial Arts. Before the museum opened to the public, members of the Museum Advisory Board began making recommendations to shorten the clumsy name. They got their way…
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