Abandoned Mississippi: Pinewood Motor Court

Three years ago, after a long day of bumping around Vicksburg looking at cool old stuff, I decided to take one of my favorite stretches of highway back to Jackson, Highway 80 between Vicksburg and Edwards. It was about this time of year, and I knew that the cotton would be high and the fields getting white to harvest. I’ve driven this stretch before but this time I had to do a U-turn to go back to an overgrown lot that held what was left of an Art Moderne commercial building. Upon closer inspection, I found that this must have been a restaurant that was affiliated with the long Ranch-like brick building to the west, which must have been a motel. I took a bunch of pictures, and enjoyed the beautiful fall sunlight, but I didn’t know anything about the place, and in the rush of life I forgot about it.

Fast forward to this summer when I was sneaking a peek at eBay’s postcards–a temptation I try hard to avoid but then occasionally fall way off the wagon and go on a spree–and I saw this card. I knew immediately it was that place that I last saw in 2011, but the card, although wrinkled and aged showed the Pinewood Motor Court in all its mid-century Modern glory.

VicksburgPinewoodMotorCourt2

Although the lot is overgrown and the remaining buildings are not in great shape–especially the restaurant–this complex is sturdily constructed and I think would make an interesting retro bed-and-breakfast on a highway that is now much quieter than it was before it was bypassed by Interstate 20. This Bing aerial shows that it backs up to a lake, and has an interesting art object across the road. It also shows that the right half of the motel has been demolished, which is why it took me a while when I first stopped to figure out that these buildings all went together. Not sure, but I also think I see a For Sale sign out front. Any takers?

Pinewood aerial


more Abandoned Mississippi . . . 



Categories: Cool Old Places, Hotels, Vicksburg

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15 replies

  1. I remember that place! My family often drove Highway 80 west from Jackson, heading for Texas, and we would pass that motel. If I am recalling correctly, the owners also kept tame animals in the front. Maybe deer? I could be thinking of another place; maybe someone else will know.

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  2. I spent a happy couple of days at Vicksburg a few years ago. Thanks for the pictures. I love MS and want to spend more time there next time I’m over there.

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  3. I love the Art Moderne building!

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  4. I grew up a few miles east of that motel. Passed it several times a day on the way to and from school or going to town. At the time, mid to late 60s it pretty much looked like your photos of the “ruins”. I never knew there was a lake behind it. May have been a great place to fish. I was there last year and the remnants are still there.

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  5. The restaurant build in the postcard is considerably different looking than the restaurant building in the photographs. Wonder what the story behind that is?

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  6. If only these were Residential I can easily bring back there historic significance with our Renovation Mortgages. Ask Todd Sanders at MS Deprt Of Archives, he can share. But the pictures you provide are awesome

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  7. anyone know who owns this property now?

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  8. Once, teenagers on a lark (actually, Millsaps students) rode out old 80 and saw this “trailer court”. My memory is hazy after 30 years, but I recall a 60′ (yes, foot) metal statue of a diner waitress, in a perky uniform with a big smile holding a tray (probably circa 1950s?). We dubbed her “Alma”. I must retrace this route again soon to see if Alma still stands.

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  9. BTW: these used to dot the countryside. The last of them in Natchez (on Homochitto Street) was torn down in the 1980s. Natchez has the tendency to treasure the antebellum over later design aesthetics just as valuable. Case in point: Natchez Super Center (green onyx facaded supermarket, from the ’40s); Lustron house, and others gone now. Surviving: the art deco former Buick dealership on Jefferson St near bluff, and the trailer court at Washington, on Hwy 61, in front of antebellum house Ingleside (just down from Jeff. Military College), now converted into mini-apartments.

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  10. Richard Strong’s Pinewood Grill on Hwy 80 East was a standard for white patrons, until it burned down in October 1951.
    Mike Guido would later reopen and modernize the grill to become a favorite dining sport for locals. Strong’s Sequoia Hills Club on Hwy 80 across the street from the Pinewood
    In July of 1953 the Red Tops played at the Sequoia Hills Club across the street from the Pinewood Grill before the first white audience, in a segregated South at the time. For me, it was a night to remember. Word would spread Kuduz and the Red Tops became famous with Rufus McKay singing Danny Boy to signal closure for the night.

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  11. When I was a kid in the 80’s, a couple by the name of Robert and Becky Pitts were caretakers at Pinewood. They had two kids, Jean and Bryan, my friends. Does anyone know what ever became of them?

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  12. Can someone tell me what was the bad thing that happened at this building?

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