”The Mississippi Delta begins in the lobby of The Peabody Hotel and ends on Catfish Row in Vicksburg. The Peabody is the Paris Ritz, the Cairo Shepherd's, the London Savoy of this section. If you stand near its fountain in the middle of the lobby... ultimately you will see everybody who is anybody in the Delta...“
Author/Historian David Cohn, 1935

Well, that's quite a recommendation! Today it is the heart of "Blues City," where you'll find The Peabody Memphis, a magnificent Forbes Four-Star, AAA Four-Diamond historic hotel. It is just blocks from Memphis attractions like Beale Street, the Memphis Rock N Soul Museum, Gibson Guitar Factory, Fed-Ex Forum, National Civil Rights Museum, Sun Studio, Orpheum Theatre, and the Memphis Cook Convention Center.

The Peabody itself is also one of Memphis' most popular attractions. The Peabody Ducks march to and from the Grand Lobby daily at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. in a time-honored tradition dating back to 1933. The world-famous feathered friends are marching under new leadership these days (see legendary stories).


1925 On September 1, a new $5 million Peabody Hotel opens at its present location


1869 The original Peabody Hotel is built by Colonel Robert C. Brinkley at the corner of Main and Monroe in downtown Memphis, Tennessee, at a cost of $60,000. It is named for the late philanthropist George Peabody.

1923 The original hotel closes.

1925 On September 1, a new $5 million Peabody Hotel opens at its present location on Union Avenue, offering 625 guest rooms and space for 40 shops and offices.

1930s General Manager Frank Schutt initiates the first phase of the famous Peabody Duck March by placing live hunting decoys in the Lobby fountain.

1930s-40s The Peabody Hotel becomes the site of one of three national live radio broadcasts, which made the Skyway and adjoining Plantation Roof undisputed attractions for big band dancers.

1940 Edward Pembroke, originally hired as a bellman, volunteers to care for the Peabody Ducks and is eventually appointed as the official Duckmaster. Pembroke, a former circus animal trainer, teaches the ducks the famous Peabody Duck March.

1968 Martin Luther King, Jr., is assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, marking the beginning of downtown social and economic decline.

1975 The Peabody is purchased by Belz Enterprises.

1981 The Peabody Hotel reopens on September 1, marking the beginning of a downtown renaissance for Memphis.

1984 The Peabody is awarded the Forbes Four-Star rating. The Peabody is also inducted into the prestigious Preferred Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Association.

1993 Paramount Pictures releases “The Firm” starring Tom Cruise and based on the best-selling novel by John Grisham. The Peabody served as the setting for several scenes in both the book and the movie.

1994 Edward Pembroke dies. Pembroke served as hotel Duckmaster for more than 50 years. A hotel suite is named in his honor and his portrait is hung in the Grand Lobby.

1995 The newly refurbished Skyway Ballroom, on the roof of The Peabody, reopens.

1997 The Peabody receives Restaurants & Institutions’ Ivy Award for food service excellence. In addition, Chez Philippe, the hotel’s signature gourmet restaurant, is refurbished.

1999 Chez Philippe receives AAA Four Diamond Award for the tenth year in a row.

2001 The Peabody Memphis is named among the “Top 100 Hotels in North America” in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards.

2002 Capriccio Grill, The Corner Bar and Peabody Deli & Desserts open at The Peabody Memphis, replacing the former Dux, Mallard’s and Café Expresso restaurants.

2002 Chez Philippe is recognized as one of the “Top 50 Hotel Restaurants” by Food & Wine magazine.

2005 The Peabody Memphis completes a multi-million dollar, three-year restoration project that includes renovation and redecoration of all 464 guestrooms and suites and the restoration of historic meeting rooms and public spaces like the famous Grand Lobby and rooftop Skyway.

2012: the fifth duckmaster in The Peabody Memphis' history, Anthony Petrina was recruited for the position after serving as a member of the Capriccio Grill team since 2010. He studied hotel and resort management at the University of Memphis.



Home of the famous marching ducks., Landmark Hotel from 1925, completely restored in 1981, Renovations in 1994 Listed on the National register of Historic Places.

Once upon a time, long ago, back in 1865 to be precise, a very wealthy man named Robert Brinkley decided to build a beautiful, new, hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. He wanted it to be the finest hotel in the South, an oasis of elegance and good taste, where the local gentry, politicians, professional people, wheelers and dealers could congregate in comfort to wine and dine on the finest foods and rarest wines; where their ladies could meet and greet for genteel afternoon tea, in opulent, exquisite surroundings. The hotel was to be named The Brinkley House Hotel. No expense was spared. Craftsmen, artisans, carpenters, bricklayers, interior designers and decorators of the highest order worked on the building. They designed impressive public areas and comfortable guestrooms which reflected state-of-the-art hotel facilities of the day. The finest bone china, silverware and crystal glassware were purchased. The best of chefs and hotel management and staff were hired.

Just before the official opening of the hotel in 1869, Mr. Brinkley’s best friend, George Peabody, an international financier and philanthropist, died suddenly in London, England. Brinkley was devastated by the sudden loss of his dear friend. Without hesitation, Brinkley decided to honor the name of his cherished friend, and changed The Brinkley House Hotel, to The Peabody Hotel .Today, Peabody Hotel Group, The Peabody Memphis, The Peabody Orlando, and The Peabody Little Rock, proudly bear the name of George Peabody, an extraordinary American, whose generous, enlightened spirit seems to mirror those of our existing owners and management. But who was Mr. George Peabody? Mr. Peabody was a successful owner-operator of a dry goods warehouse business with branches in Georgetown,Washington, DC., Philadelphia, PA and New York City. His business took him on frequent visits to London, where Her Royal Majesty, Queen Victoria, ruled a then-vast British Empire on which the sun never set. On one of these trips, Mr. Peabody negotiated an $8-million loan for the near-bankrupt State of Maryland, accepting no commission on the transaction. Eventually, he moved to London permanently and established a merchant banking business specializing in foreign exchange. He amassed a huge fortune, which at his death he bequeathed to philanthropic works benefiting the poor on both sides of the Atlantic. In the United States, he especially assisted universities through foundations to provide higher education for Southern children of all races. He was dedicated to the elevation of the performing and visual arts, founding libraries, museums, art galleries and music academies. Both he and Mr. Brinkley would be proud, indeed, of the newest organization to bear the Peabody name: The Memphis/Peabody Alliance for the Arts & Culture, (Mem/PAAC), and the very important work done by The Peabody Ducks in support of wildfowl preservation and conservation through the Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest. They’d also be amazed at how the Peabody name now is part of one of America’s most prestigious hotel groups. While there’s no official “Peabody Duck” species, The Peabody Ducks, those VIPs, Very Important Poultry, who are, indeed, named for George Peabody, perform the twice-daily March of The Peabody Ducks at Peabody-flagged hotels, to the delight of all who come to see them 365 days a year. Mr. Peabody's kind and generous spirit, and his goodwill towards all peoples, earned him the attention and admiration of Queen Victoria, who offered him the most coveted honor which can be bestowed on a native Englishman, let alone an expatriate American: the rank of Baron and the Order of the Bath. An American citizen, Mr. Peabody declined the honors, but remained very much in the good graces and affections of Her Royal Majesty, Her court and government. Unexpectedly, on November 4, 1869, George Peabody drew his last breath, sending shock waves through the corridors of royal palaces, the Houses of Lords and Parliament in London, and back home across the Atlantic, in Washington, DC., and in Memphis, Tennessee. His hometown, South Danvers, Essex County, MA., was renamed “Peabody” in his memory; and, today, George Peabody’s name lives on through the George Peabody College for teachers, a private, non-sectarian, co-education college in Nashville, Tennessee, founded in 1875. It was the first such institution in the South, and one of the first in the nation to offer advanced degrees in education.

By 1867, he had founded the Peabody Education Fund.


The Peabody ducks
The world-famous Peabody ducks are marching under new leadership these days. Anthony Petrina has stepped into the role of duckmaster at The Peabody. In addition, Doug Weatherford has been named assistant duckmaster.

The role of duckmaster originated at The Peabody Memphis more than 70 years ago. The duckmaster is responsible for the well-being of The Peabody's ducks, including feeding, care and training the teams for their twice-daily marches. When not tending to the five North American mallards, he acts as a public ambassador for the hotel, greeting guests in the Grand Lobby, doing media interviews, making community outreach appearances and occasionally traveling with the ducks to promote the hotel.
The assistant duckmaster tends to The Peabody's flock on the duckmaster's days off and conducts history tours for hotel guests.
Only the fifth duckmaster in The Peabody Memphis' history, Petrina was recruited for the position after serving as a member of the Capriccio Grill team since 2010. He studied hotel and resort management at the University of Memphis.

Weatherford, a Memphis native and hospitality industry veteran, spent much of his career working in hotels and was general manager at 10 different Holiday Inn properties. He is now semiretired.
The tradition of the march of The Peabody ducks began at the hotel in the early 1930s. At 11 each morning, the ducks march from their rooftop Royal Duck Palace along a red carpet to the tune of John Philip Sousa's "King Cotton March" to a marble fountain at the center of the Grand Lobby. They splash and preen in the lobby until 5 p.m., when the procession reverses and the ducks retire for the evening.
The title "duckmaster" originated at The Peabody in 1940 when the hotel hired a former circus animal trainer named Edward Pembroke as a bellman. Pembroke offered to help with delivering the ducks to the fountain each day and conceived of the duck march. Pembroke served as Peabody duckmaster for 50 years until retiring in 1991.


The shops and boutiques at The Peabody Memphis, have been described as a "glittering necklace" which adorns the majestic Lobby of this historic hotel. And, indeed, it is an apt description. The shopping area of The Peabody Memphis is reminiscent of the wonderful "Passages" of Paris, the indoor arcades built during la belle époque, with their beveled glass, rich, polished woods, and marble floors. Jewelry, precious jade, pearls, art and artifacts, premium clothing, and all manner of duck toys and art, are exquisitely displayed and ready to wear. Notable among the hotel's retailers is Lansky's, and the legendary Bernard J. Lansky, "Clothier to the King," Elvis Presley. "I made his first formal outfit and his last," said Lansky. "I remember the first day I saw him. My brother and I started out just after coming home from World War II and we sold military surplus goods. After the war, people were looking for inexpensive, but nice clothes. So, we switched to high-fashion menswear and on Beale Street in those days, this made quite a stir. "Elvis was shy about coming into our store, so I went out and brought him in. I invited him to have a look around. Elvis said, 'I don't have any money. But, when I get rich, I'm going to buy you out.'" A long-lasting friendship grew between the two men, and Bernard Lansky, "Clothier to the King" grew in fame along with Elvis._Today, Mr. Lansky and his son, Hal, run a high-fashion men's and women's shop at The Peabody Memphis, and have an entire store devoted to the life and times of Elvis Presley, from his black and pink outfits and memorabilia to his show-time shirts, jackets and vests. For fans of Elvis Presley, a visit with Bernard J. Lansky at The Peabody Memphis is a Must.

Mohamad A. Hakimian

468/15 Rooms
Chez Philippe (classic french Cuisine) Capriccio Bar Capriccio Café Capriccio Lobby Bar Dux Cafe Espresso
Athletic lub, indoor heated pool, jacuzzi, sauna massage,
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Our Select Member Hotel

Country: USA
City: Memphis
Opening date: 1925 / reopening 9.1.1981

Note from the Host

General Manager Douglas Browne


5118 Park Suite 245
Tennessee 38117 USA, Memphis

Tel: +1-901-529 4000
Fax: +1-901-529 3600

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