Greyhound Bus Terminal, Clarksdale

The Greyhound Bus Terminal in Clarksdale was nominated from the Delta region for the “101 Places in MIssissippi to see before you die” list.  It garnered only 3% of the Delta region vote, thus ensuring its place in the “Not on the 101 places” list, but still worthy of attention.  Mississippi Department of Archives and History lists this as an Art Deco design from 1936, no architect listed.  The National Register of Historic Places, in its description for the nomination of the Greenwood Greyhound Terminal, describes it

…clad in buff-colored brick, with blue metal panels on the rounded corner entrance…

The streamline era in Greyhound architecture extended from 1937-1948.  According to the NRHP nomination,

…the 30s moved away from ‘showy’ Art Deco to Moderne, as seen in the Clarksdale station.

Apparently, Art Moderne was also described as a “late type of Art Deco” so it would seem both are technically correct.  Art Moderne was a design intended to convey “a sense of speed or movement, the best example of which is Jackson’s (circa 1938) Greyound Bus Terminal.”  The Jackson station was designed by William Strudwick Arrasmith, who designed at least 50 terminals for Greyhound.

…the Greyhound bus company found an architect who could embody in architectural form the sleek aerodynamics of the buses that served its transportation system: William Strudwick Arrasmith…one of architecture’s defining artists during the short-lived era of streamline design…(Wrenick, 2006).

Streamline Moderne displayed soft, rounded corners and curved canopies that evoked fluidity and motion.

The traveler could purchase her ticket, check her bags, and then head on out to the departure area to board this modern new form of affordable travel.  The Greyhound racing down the highway was a cultural icon from the mid-century.

Come on board with me as we do a little exploring of Suzassippi’s Mississippi this summer…and leave the driving to us.



Categories: Architectural Research, Clarksdale, Delta, Historic Preservation

18 replies

  1. Thanks for the wonderful images.

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  2. I hope the station looks as good as the photo. Clarksdale has been having a tough time since the 80’s. In the mid 70’s a real estate developer revitalized the 200 block of Delta Avenue and Sunflower Street with really neat shops such as the Lily Pad children’s shop, Book Worm Books and an ice cream parlor in the shape of a paddle wheel river boat named The Cream Boat. Then times changed and the shops went away. Thank goodness for The Blues focus that brings tourists to town. The bus station, city auditorium, Alcazar Hotel and Cutrer home are spots to see in Clarksdale and The Magpie Gift and Art shop at 253 Delta Ave has withstood the test of time. For over 50 years it has been filled with beautiful things.

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  3. The station looks pristine–almost like it was just opened. It’s clean and neat and very attractive inside. You would expect the bus to pull up outside the doors any second.

    There are clearly some spots that are still in need of repair and renovation, but it looked pretty good Saturday all over town. Quite a few new places since I was last there.

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  4. The station is truly a jewel which is worthy of attention. How is the Alcazar faring these days? Great photographs!

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  5. Welcome back to MissPres! The polychromatic brick banding reminds me of the less fancy but just as cool Greenwood Greyhound station. George Mahan Jr. was the architect for the Greenwood station. I wonder if he could have designed the Clarksdale station?

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  6. The station in Blytheville, AR is another good example of the style. Arkansas’s historic preservation website discusses regional architects for Greyhound, but it seems we don’t who Blytheville’s architect is either.

    http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/historic-properties/_search_nomination_popup.aspx?id=329

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  7. To my untrained eye, the most prominent thing in the exterior shots is the utility poles/lines. I suppose there is nothing to be done about that.

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    • I think most folks would agree with you. While some places have embraced buried or underground utilities, many places who would benefit from them won’t be using them anytime soon. A friend who works as a lineman told me that a lot of power companies are against underground lines simply for the fact that it would require retraining many employees and changing of work strategy.

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      • I am sure this also has to do with my lack of training as either a preservationist, historian, or photographer, but I find the utility poles and lines a part of the landscape and thus, and important part of these places as they currently exist. Yes, I confess to my annoyment when lines or poles get in the way of a skyline or building, but the reality is, they are part of that landscape at this moment in time. I try to see them as part of the symmetry of the whole landscape, and worthy of admiration. But then, I like the look of water faucets in a cemetery.

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        • I agree, on both the annoyance of trying to get photos of buildings without the clutter of the lines, and also the fondness for the poles and lines. To me, they’re part of what make these places real working places and not too touristy. Besides that, it’s expensive to go back and put them underground and I’d rather the money be spent on fixing and maintaining all the historic buildings than doing that.

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    • A better photographer than I could photoshop them out, but I rather doubt the city will take the poles down.

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  8. Mine wasnt a complaint, particularly about the photographer’s skills, but merely an observation. I hear all your comments about the authenticity of the poles and wires, but, in my opinion they distract attention from the features of this low slung building.

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