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Greater Binghampton

Binghampton was first settled in the 1860s by an Irish farmer named William Bingham. In 1893, the residents who settled along the Bingham farm decided to charter their own town and called it Binghamton. Mr. Bingham was then elected the first mayor of Binghamton. In the 1960s the city of Memphis made plans to extend Interstate 40 through the heart of Binghampton. As a result residents were forced to move and many historic homes were demolished. The proposed plan would have cut through the Memphis Zoo and Overton Park. Luckily a court ruled that no city park could be taken for government purposes but the damage was already done in Binghampton. Sam Cooper Boulevard, the old I-40 extension, presently cuts the Binghampton area in half and has taken much needed retail traffic off Broad Avenue which once served as the area’s Main Street. Current efforts are being made to re-create Broad Avenue into Memphis’ newest arts district and the area is beginning to thrive once again.

Binghampton began as an independent and racially integrated Memphis suburb. The area is eight miles east of downtown and was home to farmers and other agricultural workers. When the town of Binghampton was first created, the northern boundary was Broad Avenue. Broad also served as the main street for the community. At the time, Binghampton had its own train station, post office, power company and even its own newspaper. The area was also home to four lumber yards and a street car factory which supplied employment opportunities for residents. Two major rail-roads ran through Binghampton, as did the street car line.

With the increased use of the automobile and the expansion of the city bus system, the street car factory eventually closed down and two of the lumber yards followed. By the early 20th century, Binghampton’s economy was struggling and then mayor Joe Hicks believed annexation to be the best solution. Annexed by Memphis in 1910, Binghampton eventually came to be surrounded by more affluent neighborhoods. The northern boundary also expanded to include Summer Avenue and Jackson Avenue.

LIFT Community Contact: 
Allison Eddins