Water Valley Makes NYT

Congratulations to Water Valley, whose downtown revitalization and preservation efforts have made the New York Times, in “They Made Main Street Their Own: How Four Women Revived a Derelict Mississippi Town.”

Categories: Water Valley

7 replies

  1. It was a great article, but I do take issue with calling Water Valley a “derelict” town. It was hardly misused and neglected and abandoned prior to these new businesses. I absolutely agree that they seem to be adding some interest on Main Street, just gentrifying the place right on up, so to speak. (And I have been a fan of, and patron of, BTC Grocery since its establishment). Randy and I might be regretting our decision not to buy one of the 3 houses we looked at in Water Valley 8 years ago, as affordable alternatives to Oxford. We were worried we would not be able to sell it if/when we had to leave Mississippi. We kind of wish we’d taken the plunge now!


  2. I agree entirely with your criticism of the word “derelict.” Mississippi certainly has some “derelict” towns (see Vaughan), but Water Valley was never one of them. Certainly vacant storefronts and not as bustling as it once was, as characterizes most small towns, but not as far as derelict. I just chalk it up to typical NYT stereotyping and a headline-writer’s desire to sell the story.


  3. I know a couple of residents of Water Valley, one of whom was mentioned in the article, and I have to say that they have done just a marvelous job of making the town work as a bohemian enclave for folk artists and free thinkers.

    My visits to Water Valley have been brief but delightful.

    What the Times article got right is that the town, and the buildings themselves, which were falling apart, were restored in a manner that remembers the past respectfully but serves the needs of the current residents.

    The women who did this restoration were looking for a way to make a place to express themselves creatively in an otherwise largely rural region. The New York TImes clearly admires that they managed to create a culturally enriched space that reflects the sensibilities of Mississippi without making the town operate the way New York cultural hot spots operate. Their solution to a perpetual New York problem was distinctly Mississippian.

    It really is an achievement, what those people in Water Valley did with the place. Surrounded by farmland, they created galleries that honor Mississippi traditions in a high-minded way. I say brava to them. I congratulate the New York Times for having the discernment to reject H.L. Menken’s comments about places like Mississippi in his essay “The Sahara of the Bozart,” which rejects the possibility of real culture existing down here. The Bozart Gallery in Water Valley gets to laugh last at this erroneous proposition.


  4. Congratulations Water Valley !
    This a perfect model for many Mississippi towns to study.


  5. Reblogged this on The Carpet Bagger's Journal — moving from NYC to Mississippi and commented:
    The New York Times chose to acknowledge renovators of a gallery town in Mississippi, and this makes the town be on the Carpetbagger’s map:


  6. I went out of my way to get on Hwy 7 and cruise through Water Valley last summer while en route to Oxford – frankly you can’t get me off the bland drive up I-55 quick enough! Also, my paternal grandmother (Mauldin) was from one of those early 20th-century Water Valley railroad families. It is so exciting to see the activity and positive energy that the downtown is generating. And they sell some fabulous Delta Grind grits & corn meal!


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