I had heard of the Blue Bell plant in Natchez, but until seeing this advertisement in the 1946 edition of Manufacturer’s Record, I assumed it was an ice cream company. The World Wide Web also informs me that Blue Bell (of New York City!) was the first manufacturer of Wrangler jeans.
According to Mimi Miller of the Historic Natchez Foundation, the Blue Bell plant opened in 1939 and closed around 1955. The building was occupied for many more years by Holsum Bakery. An Earl Norman photo published in the Natchez Democrat in 1982 shows that the antebellum suburban estate Woodside stood on the property and was used as a cafeteria for Blue Bell workers before being demolished in the late 1950s.
The building stood at the corner of Brenham Ave. and Aldrich St, and you can still see the footprint of its foundation near the center of this map.
A friend who saw the previous posts from the 1946 Manufacturer’s Record as kind enough to send me the 1951 edition that focused on Mississippi. In this issue, 5 years on, the work of the Balance Agriculture With Industry program is clearly on display, with dozens of new factories to boast about. The Blue Bell advertisement in the 1951 issue shows that a little baby Blue Bell, way up in Belmont, in Tishomingo County, has joined the family, along with unpictured plants in Tupelo, Booneville, Baldwyn, Ripley, and Fulton, .
I don’t know anything about the Belmont building, and nothing on Google Maps jumps out at me to tell me that it still exists. Maybe one of our Northeast Mississippi readers can enlighten us.
More Industrial Mississippi:
- 1946 Manufacturer’s Record
- Knox Glass Company, Jackson
- Armstrong Tire Plant, Natchez
- N&W Overall Company, Jackson