HISTORIC HIGHWAY MARKERS IN WASHNGTON CO.
AND GREENVILLE, MISSISSIPPI
HEBREW UNION CONGREGATION – 504 MAIN ST., GREENVILLE MS – Organized in 1880, succeeding a congregation formed in 1871. Once the state's largest Jewish temple. Two of Greenville's early mayors, the first merchants, public officials, leaders in literature, education, business, law and civic affairs worshipped here. Replacing a wooden temple built in 1882, the present temple was built in 1906.
HOLT COLLIER – LIVE OAK CEMETERY, SO. MAIN ST., GREENVILLE MS – Born a slave in 1846, Collier served as a Confederate sharpshooter and cavalryman. Famed as a bear hunter, he guided Pres. Theodore Roosevelt on a bear hunt near Onward MS in 1902. When Roosevelt refused to shoot a bear Collier had roped, cartoonists coined the term "Teddy Bear". Collier was buried here in Live Oak Cemetery in 1936.
COURTHOUSE ARBORETUM – 900 WASHINGTON AVE. AT CO. COURTHOUSE, GREENVILLE MS – In 1895, Dr. Orville Blanton, son of Harriet Blanton Theobald, "the Mother of Greenville," designed and planted an arboretum on the grounds of the Washington County courthouse featuring native specimens. The Greenville Garden Club, recognized as the state's first garden club, has served as curator since 1948.
"LITTLE ITALY" – MAIN ST. AND ITALIAN CLUB ROAD, GREENVILLE MS – (La Piccolo Italia) By 1920 this southern section of the city of Greenville was known as "Little Italy" by the Italian speaking immigrants who settled in the Mississippi Delta. These immigrants endured social as well as physical hardships in achieving the "American Dream". This marker is dedicated to their spirit of pride and celebrates their legacy.
BELMONT PLANTATION – HWY. 1 SO. AT WAYSIDE MS – Belmont, one of the few antebellum houses remaining in the MS Delta, was built ca. 1857 for W. W. Worthington. Federal troops plundered 1863. Belmont Hunting Lodge founded 1946 by Gov. Dennis Murphree.
BIRTHPLACE OF KERMIT THE FROG – HWY. 82 AND DEER CREEK, LELAND MS – Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets, grew up and played along Deer Creek during the years 1936-1948, exploring its flora and fauna from here to Stoneville. Sometimes, he was joined by his friend, Kermit Scott. These experiences and fond memories spawned in Henson's mind that timeless creation - "Kermit," the original Muppet.
DEER CREEK – HWY. 82, LELAND MS – The soils along this lengthy tributary of the Yazoo River are among the most fertile in the world. An agriculturally based, prehistoric Indian culture thrived along the creek as early as 1200 A.D.
FIRST LEGAL LIQUOR STORE – 1304 HWY. 82 E, GREENVILLE MS – On August 6, 1966, the first legal liquor store in Mississippi following Prohibition opened here. The "Jigger & Jug", owned by the Azar brothers, was a prototypical self-serve package liquor store. Mississippi, which had banned the manufacturing and sale of alcohol in 1907, was the last state to end prohibition.
FIRST NATIONAL BANK BUILDING – CORNER OF MAIN AND POPLAR STS., GREENVILLE MS – Built in 1903 by the first federally chartered bank in Wash. Co., this Neo-Classical Revival Building was an imposing symbol of financial security for 75 years. Founding President James E. Negus selected its marble and stained glass in Italy. It was aquired and renovated by the City of Greenville in 1969 for the Municipal Court.
GAMWYN PARK – MAIN ST. PARALLEL TO CAUSEY DRIVE ACROSS FROM GREENVILLE CEMETERY – A planned, park-like neighborhood established in 1926, Gamwyn Park was based on a design concept by Mary L. Gamble and Margaret B. Wynn, prominent citizens of Greenville. Gamwyn Park includes well-maintained streetscapes and landscaped vistas. Twenty of the houses located here were built before the end of WW II.
TO JOHN A. FOX – HWY. 82 AT OLD MS RIVER BRIDGE – Whose persistent vision made possible this bridge. Whose faith helped revive river traffic as a vital factor in our economy. Erected by his fellow citizens - October 29, 1954 (Marker and bridge have been removed. Marker and piece of bridge have been relocated to the State Welcome Center, Hwy. 82 and Reed Road.)
GREENVILLE – US HIGHWAY 82, GREENVILLE MS – Port City of the Delta. Named for Gen. Nathanael Greene. Washington County seat since 1846. Destroyed in Civil War. Rebuilt on present site, 1865. Home of author Wm. A. Percy and publisher Hodding Carter.
GREENVILLE TROLLEY SYSTEM – POPLAR ST. BETWEEN WASH. AVE. & CENTRAL AVE., GREENVILLE MS – These tracks are the last visible trace of a trolley line that at its peak had eight miles of track and fourteen cars. Operating from 1900 to 1929, the cars were first mule drawn and later powered by a coal-fueled generator at Poplar and Johnson Streets. The Delta Light and Traction Co. claimed it had the shortest modern line in the U.S.
GREENVILLE'S WRITERS – 341 MAIN ST. WM. A. PERCY LIBRARY, GREENVILLE MS – An extraordinary literary atmosphere in Greenville produced winners of the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award and O. Henry Award. Writers influenced by the creative ambiance here include William A. Percy, Shelby Foote, Walker Percy, Hodding Carter, Jr., Charles Bell, Ellen Douglas, Bern Keating and David L. Cohn.
HAMPTON PLANTATION – INTERSECTION OF MS HWY. 1 AND 436, WASHINGTON CO., MS – Purchased in 1840's by Hampton family. In 1850s, 60s, & 70s operated by and at intervals was residence of Wade Hampton III, distinguished CSA General and first governor of S.C. after reconstruction.
HARRIET BLANTON THEOBALD PARK – CITY PARK AT POPLAR AND NELSON STS., GREENVILLE MS – Named for an early settler of Greenville who donated 47.5 acres to help rebuild the city after the Civil War. In 1878, nearly 300 yellow fever victims were buried here in the original city cemetery. Remains were later reinterred in other cemeteries.
MISSISSIPPI – US 82 AT REED ROAD, GREENVILLE MS – The Magnolia State. Explored 1540-1 by DeSoto. Colonized first by French, 1699. Became a colony of British, 1763, Spanish, 1779. Territory organized by U. S., 1798. Became 20th state, 1817.
MT. HOREB M.B. CHURCH – 538 NELSON ST., GREENVILLE MS – Established in 1868 by six former slaves, Mt. Horeb Missionary Baptist Church completed the first African-American church building in Greenville in 1868. An important part of this city's religious life for over a century, Mt. Horeb was originally located on Levee Street but moved to this site ca. 1909. The present structure was built in 1971.
PVT. ROBERT T. (BOBBY) HENRY – GREENVILLE CEMETERY, MAIN ST., GREENVILLE MS – Enlisted for service in World War II. Served in U.S. Army, 16th Infantry Division. Posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions on December 3,1944, when he was mortally wounded in his single-handed attack on five German machine-gun nests near Luchem, Germany. Pvt. Henry's final resting place is the Greenville Cemetery.
RATTLESNAKE BAYOU LEVEE – LELA LANE AND BAYOU RD., GREENVILLE MS – In the 1840s slaves from Plum Ridge, Wildwood, Locust, and Swiftwater Plantations built a levee to protect homes and fields from flooding. This portion was on W.P. Montgomery's Locust Plantation.
SACRED HEART ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH – 526 E GLOSTER ST., GREENVILLE MS – The Divine Word Missionaries began school for black youth here in 1913. In 1920, led by Fr. Matthew Christmann, they founded St. Augustine Seminary, first seminary in U.S. for training African-American priests. The seminary moved to Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, in 1923. In 1928 Fr. Anthony Jacobs led Parish in building Romanesque Revival Church.
ST. JOHN'S CHURCH – GREENFIELD CEMETERY, GLEN ALLAN MS – First Episcopal Church in Delta. Site donated by Jonathon McCaleb, 1844. Constructed, 1852-1856. Window lead used in Civil War for bullets. Structure wrecked by tornado, 1904.
ST. PAUL M.B. CHURCH – 390 POPLAR AVE., GREENVILLE MS – St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church was organized in 1879 under a brush arbor built by the men of the church. Their first building was destroyed in a storm in 1930 and was rebuilt the following year. A church annex was constructed in 1954. Greenville's original light and traction power plant was later renovated as a second annex.
ST. JOSEPH'S ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH – MAIN AND SHELBY STS., GREENVILLE MS – This fine Gothic Revival Church, the second building of this parish, was erected in 1907. It was designed and financed by Father P. J. Korstenbroek, who served here for 33 years and was memorialized in William Alexander Percy's "Lanterns on the Levee". Many of the stained glass windows came from the Munich studios of Emil Frei.
ST. MATTHEW'S A.M.E CHURCH – 514 NELSON ST., GREENVILLE MS – St. Matthew's A.M.E. Church, organized in 1867 and originally located on Levee Street, was the first A.M.E. church established in the Delta and the fourth begun in Mississippi. Moved to its present site in 1890, this church was visited by Herbert Hoover in 1927, poet Langston Hughes in 1931, and Leontyne Price in 1949.
STEIN MART – WASHINGTON AVE. AND POPLAR ST., GREENVILLE MS – Russian immigrant Sam Stein arrived in Greenville by riverboat in 1905. Here he founded a retail enterprise that would remain in his family for generations. On this site in 1964, his son Jake Stein opened the first Stein Mart store. By the 1990's, a grandson Jay Stein had developed Stein Mart into a national department store chain.
KING'S DAUGHTERS HOSPITAL – 300 SO. WASHINGTON AVE., GREENVILLE MS – Organized by ten dedicated women in 1892 and chartered nationally as The King's Daughters and Sons Circle No. 2 in 1894, it has served the Delta from this site since 1905. The present Mediterranean style structure dates from 1927, with major additions in 1967 and 1990. A school of nursing was associated with the hospital from 1906-1956.
COLEMAN HIGH SCHOOL – MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. BOULEVARD, GREENVILLE MS – Named for Lizzie W. Coleman, who was principal of the No. 2 Elementary School. Coleman High School was among the first high schools for African-Americans in the Mississippi Delta. The school served as Greenville's main high school for African-Americans until 1970. First located on Nelson Street, the school moved to Cleveland Street in 1922. The present school, designed by architect N. W. Overstreet, was built here in 1952. Lizzie Coleman's motto was "Burn the midnight oil! Be prepared!"
WHERE MAIN ST. MEETS THE RIVER – 201 MAIN AND WALNUT, GREENVILLE MS – This building (ca.1881), formerly the headquarters of the Delta Democrat Times, was immortalized in 1952 by Hodding Carter in "Where Main Street Meets the River", the memoir of this Pulitzer Prize-winning editor, who stood for racial justice and religious tolerance. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
WINTERVILLE MOUNDS – HWY 1 N AT WINTERVILLE ST. PARK AND MUSEUM, GREENVILLE MS – Ceremonial Indian mounds built around 1000 A.D. They comprise one of the largest mound groups in the Mississippi Valley. Great central mound is 55 ft. in height.
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH – 407 MAIN ST., GREENVILLE MS – Organized on Easter Sunday in 1871 by Rev. A. D. Brooks and Col. Lewis Ball, who came to Greenville as missionaries. The congregation initially consisted of eleven members, with Brooks, a native of Missouri, serving as the first pastor. In 1886, a wood-frame church was built at 109-111 North Poplar. The congregation relocated here in 1906 and erectd a brick building. A new sanctuary was built in 1954, In 1934, a Mission was established here for the Chinese community.
ORIGINAL CHINESE CEMETERY – ADDRESS, GREENVILLE MS – The first Chinese Cemetery in the Delta was established here on August 8, 1913, on land purchased by Wong Yen and Joe King from H. L. Wells, owner of Well's Funeral Home. No longer in use, it is now owned by the Chinese Cemetery Association of Greenville. A second cemetery was established on Crescent Street in 1931.
NEW JERUSALEM M.B. CHURCH – 518 GUM ST., GREENVILLE MS – New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church was formed from the old Jerusalem Church and was founded here by Rev. Walter A. Robinson in 1906, who was pastor until 1923. After withstanding the 1927 flood, a new church was built in 1951. In 1928, it was the first African American church to establish an usher board.
OLD HIGHWAY 1 – ROY'S STORE, CHATHAM MS – In 1916 the Washington County Board of Supervisors proposed the construction of 144.6 miles of paved roads throughout the county. In June 1916 voters approved a $950,000 bond, and in 1917 C. G. Kershaw of Birmingham, Alabama, was awarded the first contracts. Among the first of these roads to be constructed was Highway 1, which stretched from Greenville to Glen Allan. This section of road running from Longwood to Chatham is a portion of the original Highway 1.
FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH – 402 WASHINGTON AVE., GREENVILLE MS – Established in the early 1830s when Mrs. Harriett Blanton Theobald opened her home to Methodist circuit riders, this congregation was accepted into the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in 1844. The First United Methodist Church is the oldest organized church in the city of Greenville.
WASHINGTON COUNTY COURTHOUSE – 900 WASHINGTON AVE., GREENVILLE MS – This courthouse was built ca. 1891 in the Richardson Romanesque architectural style. The courthouse was remodeled in 1930, and additions were made in 1950 and 1976. The courthouse has retained many of the original elements of its architectural style, including stone arches and rock-faced rusticated walls.
RIVER STAGES AT GREENVILLE – LAKE FERGUSON, GREENVILLE MS – The Greenville Gage on the Mississippi River is located near the U. S. Highway 82 Mississippi River Bridge. In 1927, when the levee broke near Mound Landing, the Greenville Gage would have reached 65.4 feet. During the 2011 Flood, the Mississippi River crested at 64.2 feet. Even though the 2011 Flood did not break the calculated 1927 stage record, it carried 26% more water than the 1927 Flood. The lower stage was due to the cut-offs that were built on the river in the 1930s and 1940s.
MISSISSIPPI RIVER LEVEE – LAKE FERGUSON, GREENVILLE MS – The Mainline Mississippi River Levee was originally built in the 1800s. Following the flood of 1927, Congress passed the Flood Control Act of 1928, creating the Mississippi River & Tributaries (MR&T) Project. The notches at Main and Central Streets were the top of the levee in 1927. The levee was then raised 10 feet and cut-offs were built that shortened the river by 170 miles. The banks were stabilized to keep the river in one location. The MR&T Project was successful in containing the record 2011 Flood.
COTTON SEED STORAGE HOUSE – STEIN ROAD, CHATHAM MS – Built by the Stein family in the 1920s, this two-story hexagonal structure consisting of sixteen pie-shaped rooms is a rare example of "round barns" of the late 19th to early 20th century. Local planters stored their seeds here after their hand-picked cotton was ginned at the adjacent Stein gin.
GREENVILLE CYPRESS PRESERVE – HWY. 82 & CYPRESS LANE – This 16-acre cypress brake is an early example of a local civic group's effort to preserve Mississippi's natural resources. This unique urban forest was purchased in 1940 by the Greenville Garden Club, the oldest garden club in the state, to preserve the cypress brake as a place to observe and experience Nature's beauty.