About East Buntyn
East Buntyn is a quiet, leafy neighborhood located in the University District, just between Midtown and East Memphis. Convenient to the entire city, the neighborhood consists of a diverse mix of young families, professionals, students, and retirees.
Noted for its friendliness and cleanliness, East Buntyn organizes several initiatives throughout the year. These include the East Buntyn Neighborhood Clean-Up, a Yard of the Month Club, an annual Neighborhood Yard Sale, a Fourth of July Parade, East Buntyn Night Out events, and most notably the East Buntyn ArtWalk, now in its 9th year.
East Buntyn is located just west of the University of Memphis, bounded by Central Avenue, Highland Street, Southern Avenue, and South Greer Street. The neighborhood is part of the UDistrict, a group of seven neighborhoods that surround the University of Memphis. East Buntyn is located within the Shelby County Schools White Station Elementary, White Station Middle, and White Station High School zones. For more information about the UDistrict, click here.
2018 EBHDNA Officers
East Buntyn History
By: Caroline Carrico
The Memphis and La Grange Railroad was chartered in 1835 as one of the first railroad companies in Memphis. In 1838, their six mile rail line cut through Geraldus Buntyn’s property on the way out to Germantown, and the first stop was located near his house. The company folded a few years later partially due to the national economic Panic of 1837. Subsequently, the Memphis and Charleston Railroad received a state charter in 1845 with the provision that they purchase the property of the previous railroad. The line from Memphis to South Carolina incorporated the old line and was completed in 1857. The M and C became Southern Railway in 1894 when it merged with other railroads. Southern Railway maintained a passenger station at the corner of Southern Avenue and Semmes Street and appropriately named it Buntyn’s Station. A community grew up around the station. As the city expanded east, commuters used the train for quick transportation from the suburbs into downtown. The rail station closed in the 1960s.
Our neighborhood officially became the East Buntyn Historic District when it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. Properties and districts on the register must be able to demonstrate a historical or architectural significance in order to qualify. In the case of East Buntyn, the properties within the district are “a cohesive collection of 20th century residential architecture embodying the range and diversity of housing [types] that emerged during the period between 1920 and 1945.” These housing styles include Craftsman, Bungalow, Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival, Minimal/Traditional and Ranch. Of the 683 buildings in the neighborhood at the time, 599 were identified as contributing to the unified architectural style of the neighborhood. As the application states, the neighborhood has an overall consistency of specific styles and building materials that represents suburban America prior to the end of World War II.
The Boyce-Gregg House
In March 1919, C.R. Boyce, a local cotton buyer, purchased six lots at the corner of Central Avenue and South Highland Street. Boyce hired Jones and Furbringer, Architects to build an Italian-Mediterranean residence suitable for an affluent cotton man. Russell C. Gregg, territory manager of the world’s largest cotton firm, purchased the house in June 1936. In June 1978, Clarence C. Day purchased the house and grounds to adaptively reuse as the headquarters for his company. The Boyce-Gregg House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979 because of its local architectural significance. In 1991, the Junior League of Memphis purchased the home and continues to use it as a headquarters and as their Community Resource Center.
The Street Formerly Known as Peachtree
On a 1929 map of the city, Ellsworth Street is listed as Peachtree. According to Shelby County historian Jimmy Ogle, the name was changed to Ellsworth in honor of Mr. E.K. Ellsworth, a representative of the U.S. Census Bureau. In 1929, Memphis annexed property to the east of the city limits, which extended the city’s reach to Goodlett. This annexation added Buntyn and Normal Station neighborhoods to the city and made Memphis’s population climb to over 250,000, which increased the city’s eligibility for federal funds. Since his work made the new classification possible, Memphians thanks Mr. Ellsworth by giving him a watch and parade as well as renaming Peachtree Street in his honor.
Naming the Neighborhood
Who was Buntyn? East Buntyn is named for Geraldus Buntyn, a North Carolina veteran of the War of 1812. Buntyn was commissioned as a naval ensign and served in the Carolinas before being honorably discharged in 1815. After the war, he received a federal land grant of 160 acres in the western Tennessee frontier outside of the newly founded city of Memphis. He established a corn and cotton plantation, which was worked by dozens of slaves. He was on the board of at least two schools, an incorporator of the University of Memphis, and a founder of First Baptist Church. Buntyn died in 1865 and willed over half of his land to his children. The remaining 520 acres belonged to his wife until she passed away the following year. This land was then subdivided and ultimately developed as neighborhoods and a country club.