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Stories: Jack Borg

Early pavilion in Overton Park
Early pavilion in Overton Park, courtesy of Memphis and Shelby County Room, Memphis Public Library & Information Center

My grandfather, Prof. George Pfaff, sponsored a party and dance one evening at the open pavilion that was across the street from the present “Doughboy” statue in Overton Park. The year was about 1917. As they danced, ballroom style, his daughter, Caroline, met and took a fancy to a tall young man who was a gymnastics student of her father, Prof. Pfaff. Throughout the following years they kept up with each other. She was a gymnastics teacher and he became a pharmacist.

In 1925, Caroline Pfaff became the wife of John Borg–my parents. I can still hear with the inner ear the band playing their favorite tune, the theme from the operetta “The Merry Widow,” when I pass the spot.

Professor Pfaff, as Memphis City Schools director of physical education, designed the playground equipment for Overton Park’s first playground. Actually, he bought his family’s home in walking distance to the park back in 1906 when Overton Park was established so that his family could enjoy walking through the Old Forest. Then Cooper St. was the city limit, according to our family’s stories.

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