West Tennessee Historical Society
Serving the 21 Counties of West Tennessee

The Enchanted Forest

A Memphis Wonderland

Goldsmith’s downtown was a wonderful store with numerous departments on several floors. It was also in many ways a labyrinth; the original building having taken over several others including the old Hotel Gayoso. Those who knew the way could come upon the elaborate staircase of the Gayoso. Those who went all the way from Main to Front Street would find several small departments. The bakery was there (excellent cheese cake and cookies), Goldsmith’s Central Ticket office where tickets to live performances of all kinds were sold and Temptation Tunnel (normally used to connect the store with its garage) under Front Street. Sometimes merchandise was sold in there.

Between the bakery and the tunnel was a doorway shut for most of the year. On Thanksgiving, an elaborate decoration surrounded the open doors. The hallway beyond meandered deep into the basement of the old hotel. At the end was The Enchanted Forest.

It was low-ceilinged and far away from the outside world. Its twisted path passed animated creatures, some of which changed each year. There were busy beavers, friendly bears, fairy tale characters, elves of all descriptions and woodland creatures all preparing for Christmas Day. The path wandered until it came to a perennial figure—a young deer perpetually licking a big peppermint stick.

Beyond was Santa Claus (in the flesh) and the Secret Gift Shop with a small door for children who could go in and buy a secret gift unknown to parents. It was truly magical.

The Enchanted Forest has been a Memphis holiday attraction for more than 50 years. The first version of the forest was on display in the Gayoso Hotel on Front Street until the hotel closed in the early 1950’s. George Hettinger, display director for Goldsmith’s came home from World War II with an idea to create a magnificent holiday display. It was then that The Enchanted Forest was born. The event was custom built and set up in various areas throughout Goldsmith’s before finding its permanent home on the west ground floor in the 1960s. At that

time, it became a more spectacular exhibit, with larger and more elaborate characters and scenery. Throughout the sixties, the Enchanted Forest made a name for itself with families and tourists labeling it as the holiday event to see. Written by Vincent Astor

Goldsmith’s last displayed the Enchanted Forest in 1987 before it was moved to the Pink Palace. The current Enchanted Forest contains many of the original figures and scenes

MoSH, Pink Palace at 3050 Central Ave.

November 19 – December 24, 2022     

Joseph Hanover

Friday November 18th at Bounty on Broad (restaurant) 2591 Broad Ave, Memphis, the former Hanover family home, the National Votes For Women Trail Marker was unveiled honoring Rep. Joseph Hanover (1888-1984). Hanover, as floor leader in the Tennessee House of Representatives, led the ratification effort in 1920 resulting in the 19th Amendment’s passage. A sculpture of Hanover by Alan LeQuire, is featured on the “Equality Trailblazers” monument at the University of Memphis law school facing the Mississippi River.

'Trains, Toys, and Traditions' Mini-Holiday Display at the Collierville Morton Museum

November 29 - December 30, 2022


Rekindle childhood memories and spark the creation of new ones with this mini-holiday display about Wonder Products toys, once manufactured in Collierville. Also enjoy a snowy, small-scale model of Collierville Town Square featuring historic landmarks, artifacts from the Museum’s collection, and images of Collierville from winters past.

196 N. Main Street

Collierville, TN 38017

Phone: 901-457-2650

Admission: Always Free

Tuesday - Saturday: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Closed Sunday, Monday, and Holidays


Click Here for WTHS membership levels, benefits, and membership form.

About Us:

The WTHS is the umbrella heritage organization for the Western Grand Division of Tennessee. Within its twenty-one counties, it supports historical programs, archives, publications, preservation, markers, museums, and other historical collections. 
West Tennessee Historical Society is a non-profit 501(c)(3) entity chartered under the laws of the state of Tennessee. WTHS activities are free and open to the public. The WTHS does not discriminate in any aspect of membership or participation on the basis of race, gender, religion, ethnicity, or national origin.

Board Members

Michael Freeman, President

David Gwinn,

Vice-President at Large

Edwin G. Frank, Treasurer and Immediate Past President

Dr. E. C. Fields,

Assistant Treasurer

Rita Hall, Papers Editor

John Shepherd, Board Member

Paul Matthews, Board Member

Vincent L. Clark, Board Member

Carol Perel, Executive Director

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for updates on events and postings of images of West Tennessee
WTHS Phone: 901 315 5739 Email: prlalx@aol.com Website: wths-tn.org