The Irby and the Leake families gave the land on which the park is built to the town soon after its incorporation in 1870. The sidewalks in the park are laid out in the form of a Confederate flag. In 1955 a tornado destroyed the two-story lattice bandstand in the park. A 1994 public improvements project replaced the bandstand. Today the park is used for social, political and religious functions.
It is believed that Collierville has had three depots. The first depot, built in 1852, is believed to have been located on the North side of the railroad tracks between Center and Walnut streets. The Battle of Collierville was centered around this depot where Sherman’s train arrived from Memphis around noon on Sunday, October 11, 1863. The second depot was located where Center Street now crosses the tracks. In the mid 1940’s the existing depot was moved from LaGrange, TN and located east of Center Street on the north side of the railroad tracks. In 1976 Southern Railroad gave the depot to the Town of Collierville, and it was moved to its present location in 1977.
Magnolia Cemetery is nestled among large magnolia trees from which it received its name. It is located south of the town square. The first deed recorded for the cemetery was on May 18, 1878. Many different kind of tombstones can be seen throughout the cemetery. There are columns, arches, shafts of marble, pedestals, heavy granite squares, emblems, and delicately carved figures. In 1862 a young boy was wounded in the Battle of Collierville and died and buried under the large oak tree. His grave is marked “Unknown Confederate Soldier”. It is probable there are many more soldiers buried that were never identified.
This log cabin was used as the Collierville area’s stagecoach stop for many years in the mid to late 1800’s. Built in 1851 by William W. Talley, it was once located at Byhalia Road and South Rowlett on property now occupied by PepsiAmericas Bottling Co. This log structure was relocated and restored in 1977 by grants by the National Can Corporation and the Mississippi-Arkansas-Tennessee Corporation.
Located near the Depot is a steam engine, built in 1912 for the Frisco Railroad; and executive railcar, “The Savannah” built in 1915; and a caboose, which is typical of freight train cars for all railroad lines. The caboose is an excellent example of the type of rail car used by the crew of the train. The engine, No. 1351, weighs approximately 230 tons. Among many other duties, it pulled troop trains during World War II. No. 1351 was retired in 1952 and spent many years at the Memphis Fairground and the Defense Depot. This engine is on loan to the Collierville community through the generosity of Pat Plemmons and the Memphis Transportation Museum. Executives of the Seaboard Railway used “The Savannah.” The interior is virtually intact with minimal alterations to the 1915-era construction. The Savannah was designed for the comfort and convenience of the railroad executives as they traveled the lines. It includes two suites, dining room, kitchen, observation room, valet’s room and crew’s quarters.
Festivals in Collierville:
• Fair on the Square - Held the first weekend in May. This annual event was first held in 1976 in celebration of the nation’s Bicentennial. Coordinated. The Fair offers handicrafts, needle and woodcrafts, sculptures, baskets, pottery, ceramics, and paintings, original jewelry, clothing and floral designs, and garden items. Entertainment for all ages shares the stage at the historic Depot Platform at the square’s south end. Foods includes B-B-Q, scones, egg rolls, Italian sausage, pizza and more, freshly prepared on-site. Games, puppet shows, wagon, pony and train rides, face painting and a petting zoo.
• Sunset on the Square Summer Concert Series - Held annually during June and July at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday evenings at the bandstand in the Historic Town Square. This traditional town favorite features a variety of musical groups including R&B, Big Band and Classical to Bluegrass, Country, and Broadway show tunes. The concerts features weekly intermission giveaways with prizes donated by local merchants, businesses, and Main Street members. Admission is free to the public and this park is handicap-accessible. (no pets or alcoholic beverages are permitted.)