Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Abshagen's Bakery -- Later Janie's

Left to right, Walter Moak, Lottie Moak, unknown, _____ Abshagen. Date unknown.  Abshagen's Bakery would later become Janie's Bakery.

Photo courtesy of Marti Parker.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Campfire Girls Float -- 1917

From the Bicentennial edition of the Daily Leader, archives of Mary Becker Hatcher via Bettie Hatcher Cox and scanned by Deenie Tallant

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

When Pine Was KING!

Above: Daily Leader Bicentennial photo from the Mary Becker Hatcher archives; Below: linen postcard as it appeared colorized -- from the MDAH Cooper Postcard Collection.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Ole Brook -- Mikas Place??

I'm going to go out on a limb and say this looks like Milton J. Whitworth's plantation, Mikas Place/Plantation.  See postcard below.
From the Bicentennial edition of the Daily Leader, archives of Mary Becker Hatcher, via Bettie Hatcher Cox and Deenie Tallant on scanner.
Postcard from MDAH Cooper Postcard Collection.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Olly, Olly Oxen Free!

From the Daily Leader Bicentennial edition, Mary Becker Hatcher archives -- courtesy of Bettie Hatcher Cox and scanned by Deenie Tallant.
John Case reports that oxen were preferred over mules because mules could get frightened of soft earth, and thinking they are sinking, and start to "quick step."  Oxen were less intimidated by unsure roads and "kept a steady pull."  This per Burt Parnell of Bogue Chitto.

I had to ask myself a question I've often asked and never sought the answer to: just what is an ox?  Turns out, it's more complicated than I thought.  Here's a link for those who might be so inclined to read more about it.  

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Look Familiar?

This is a little bit off topic, but I found this interesting, so I decided to post it.

Last night, we were watching a cable television program on haunted houses of America when this photograph came up on the screen.  At first glance, I thought it was the Hardy House, but the side door on the left made me realize I was mistaken.

This house was built in 1858 by Alexander Hannah in Indianapolis.  It was part of the underground railroad -- its basement served as a safe house for runaway slaves waiting to make their way to the freedom of Canada.

The Hannah house is supposedly haunted by the ghosts of runaway slaves who perished when one of them accidentally knocked over an oil lamp.

I'll bet if we tried hard enough, we could find some ghosts in the Hardy House and turn it into a tourist attraction as well!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Chautauqua Hotel -- Crystal Springs

All are from the Cooper Postcard Collection, Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

Chautauqua, an adult educational effort to bring entertainment and culture to rural America, was founded by Methodists in Lake Chautauqua, NY, in the late 1800s.  The movement, which was nondenominational, swept the nation.  It reached the height of its popularity in the 1920s.  

President Theodore Roosevelt has been quoted as saying Chautauqua "is the most American thing in America."

Other states may have had more famous locations, but Mississippi was definitely part of the Chautauqua movement -- witness this "daughter" Chautauqua hotel and beautiful lake in Crystal Springs.

Personally,  as a kid growing up in the 1950s/60s, I had no clue what the Chautauqua movement was about. My first exposure to it was via the Elvis Presley's 1969 movie "The Trouble with Girls," in which he played the manager of a traveling Chautauqua show.

I've always been curious about this bit of Americana and finding these postcards finally prompted me to look it up.  

For further reading about the Chautauqua movement, please see this link.  For more information on one of Presley's more unusual movies, and whose a supporting cast included John Carradine, Dabney Coleman and Vincent Price, see this link.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Brown's Wells Part II

This is Part Two of a Postcard photo essay on Brown's Wells, a former luxurious resort in Copiah County from the late 1800s.  For the history, please see the previous day's posting.

The postcards below are courtesy of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Brown's Wells Part I

Back when vacation travel involved long, tedious hours of trudging over poor roads -- large, luxurious resorts that offered relaxation, recreation, and even something curative of that which ails ye, were all the rage in post-Civil War America.  

Brown's Wells, just west of Hazlehurst in Copiah County, was one such resort, offering up mineral waters and any number of leisure time activities on a large tract of piney woods land.  

Brown's Wells Health Resort/Plantation was built by William Brown, who purchased a large parcel of land from the federal government back in 1852. The history of the resort is bit murky before the Civil War, but shortly after the war ended, in 1865, Brown discovered mineral water springs on the property and set about building a large hotel in early 1880.  

Numerous well-heeled, prominent people -- visited the resort, to drink the curative waters and recuperate from life itself.

In the early 1900s, from what I can tell via Google searches, the death of a principal owner of the resort resulted in what may have been a high profile lawsuit among the heirs.  

Not being a lawyer, I have been unable to understand exactly what the legalese of the lawsuit and the appellate ruling means, but I have been able to determine elsewhere that around the time of the lawsuit, a group of businessmen from Hazlehurst and New Orleans purchased the resort and sank a princely sum of $50,000 into it, bringing in electricity, which resulted in the modern conveniences of lights, sewage, water and other amenities.  

Cottages (and perhaps a second hotel building) were built, and a tennis court, golf course and well head structures were constructed for the guests to enjoy.

It was rumored that among the patrons was Eudora Welty -- this according to a book on Copiah County history by LaTricia M. Nelson-Easley.  

The resort is but a memory now, and I have not been able to determine exactly how it came to no longer be or if there are any vestiges left for the curious to find. Anyone who may know this answer -- feel free to volunteer what you know via a comment below or one on FB.  

These postcards are courtesy of the Mississippi Department of History and Archives.  Stay tuned for Part II tomorrow. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Copiah County Courthouse -- Dome and All

The Copiah County Courthouse, a Classical Revival structure, was designed by none other than J. Riely Gordon.  The cornerstone was laid in 1902 and the building was completed in 1903.  

The contractor was G.T. Hallas and Company of Hazlehurst, who built many significant structures in the state of Mississippi during that time period, including the Inez Hotel in Brookhaven.  His bid of $44,603 was the winning bid.

(As for the local angle, G.T. Hallas was the grandfather of Rachel Hallas Greil, who grew up in Brookhaven and attended Brookhaven High School in the late 1960s.)

A history book on Copiah County states that the third floor clock and dome were removed in 1934 when it began to leak.  Two wings were constructed in the 1950s, and the jail was torn down in 1981. 

To see how the courthouse appears today, see this link.  

In a personal aside, I think the dome should have been repaired, no expenses spared.  Not only did they lose the aesthetics, but a stained glass window that illuminated the courtroom via the dome has been blocked from view, this according to the history book on the county.  

Postcards are from the Cooper Collection at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Picnic on the Grounds of Ole Brook

Note the size of the tree, no doubt a virgin yellow pine, the likes of which gave rise to the timber industry in the area.

From the Daily Leader Bicentennial Edition, via archives of Mary Becker Hatcher, courtesy of Bettie Hatcher Cox and Dennie Tallant on scanner.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Them's Some Tomatoes and a Whole Lotta Cabbage

Tomato festival, June Garland standing by big tomato.
Photographer: Luther M. Hamilton, Sr.
Crystal Springs, Mississippi
Copiah County

Tomato Festival Queen Barnett Messer, 1939, seated atop float.
Photographer: Luther M. Hamilton, Sr.
Crystal Springs, Mississippi
Copiah County
"Scene at a local cabbage packing shed, 1936."
Photographer: Luther M. Hamilton, Sr.
Crystal Springs, Mississippi
Copiah County

Tomato Crop, Crystal Springs

Tomato Packing, Crystal Springs

Tomato Picking,  Crystal Springs, MS

Cabbage Trucks, Crystal Springs Depot

Cabbage Fields and Workers, Crystal Springs, MS

Canning Tomatoes, Cyrstal Springs, MS

Tomato Fields, Crystal Springs, MS
All photos by Luther Hamilton Sr., taken approximately in the 1930s; from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. 

Those who know the area better than I say the tomatoes from Copiah County tasted better than tomatoes from elsewhere -- it had something to do with the soil composition.