The Peabody Memphis Hotel

Posted by Nick Niesen on October 29th, 2010

The Peabody Memphis Hotel was originally built in 1869 by Colonel Robert C. Brinkley. It was meant to be a destination for the well to do; a place to see and be seen by the upper echelon of southern society. Just before Colonel Brinkley opened the hotel, his good friend George Peabody, a well known philanthropist and international financier, passed away. As a memorial to him, Colonel Brinkley decided to name the hotel after his friend, changing what was to be The Brinkley House Hotel to the Peabody Hotel.

In 1923, the original Peabody closed its doors, only to be rebuilt and reopened in 1925, still in keeping with the tradition of elegance and good taste intact. The new hotel, located in the heart of Memphis, offers 625 guest rooms along with 40 shops offices, and restaurants. The Peabody Memphis Hotel is well known for its rich history, but even better known for a most unusual reason. Each morning at 11 am, a red carpet is rolled out for the resident ambassadors of the hotel.

Most would think this would be some visiting dignitary, or famous celebrity, but not in this hotel. The carpet extends from the penthouse elevator to the Italian travertine marble fountain in the Peabody Grand Lobby. With great pomp and ceremony, a Duckmaster leads five mallard ducks that live in ?Duck Palace", a special suite just for them on the roof of the hotel. The music of John Philip Sousa's King Cotton March can be heard as the ducks move from the elevator into the fountain, to enjoy their swim until they are lead back up at 5 each evening.

This unusual tradition was started in 1932 by the Peabody General Manager, Frank Schutt. As a prank he placed 3 decoy ducks in the fountain after an unsuccessful weekend hunting trip. Much to the surprise and delight of the management, the guests were enthusiastic about the addition, and the decoys were replaced by live ducks. In 1940, one of their bellmen, who was formerly a circus animal trainer, offered his services in delivering the ducks to the fountain, and taught them the Peabody Duck March, which is taught to each team of ducks that stays at the hotel. The five only live there for 3 months before a new team is trained, and the old team is allowed to retire. The ducks are a delight to all who enjoy the luxurious surroundings as they stay in comfort and old world elegance at the historic Peabody Memphis Hotel.

Like it? Share it!

Nick Niesen

About the Author

Nick Niesen
Joined: April 29th, 2015
Articles Posted: 33,847

More by this author