The city of Bartlett, Tennessee, surprised Memphis Temple President, Boyd Lee, when it announced that the Temple, located in the heart of the Mid-South just Northeast of Memphis, had won the “America in Bloom” award. The reason for the surprise, the Temple was never entered in the contest!
The committee members had rated those that had entered the various categories (business, government, residential, neighborhood entrances and churches) and then they entered select others that they felt should have been in the contest, but for whatever reason had not been listed. That is how the Memphis Temple came to be in the running. Pat Casey, committee member, logged hundreds of miles driving through the city taking pictures of
the churches in the area that she felt should be entered. When the national America in Bloom representatives were in town on a Saturday morning, with great pride Ms. Casey said they took them to the Temple, went through the gates and walked around the grounds. “You just have to see this building in person, it is beautiful,” she had told them. “The National Committee was very impressed, and we knew they would be,” she said. Mayor Keith McDonald announced at a reception honoring the winners of the 2003 contest that Bartlett was proud of those that had made the extra effort to make Bartlett a beautiful place to live and work. The award was presented to President M. Lloyd Shirley of the Memphis North Stake Presidency.
The contestants are part of more than “just a beauty contest”, according to the “America in Bloom” website, “Specially trained, qualified judges volunteer their time to travel across the country during the summer to evaluate participating communities on the following eight criteria: floral displays, landscapes, trees, turf and open spaces, tidiness, heritage, community involvement, environmental awareness.” The Memphis Tennessee Temple is the small temple basic design with an exterior of Imperial Danby white marble. It sits to the rear of a spacious corner lot that also houses the Memphis North Stake Center. The Angel Moroni can be seen rising above the homes in the area several blocks from the temple. Though small, its majestic appeal has captured the hearts of those in the neighborhood.