Head out on the Highway: U.S. 80

Today’s post is the third in our reprint of the 1941 publication Mississippi Tourist Guide, which focused on the many attractions along Mississippi’s newly paved highways. (Check out the Intro if you missed it.)


Cutting directly across the center of the State, U.S. Highway 80 passes through Mississippi’s three largest cities. It dips from the red clay hills in the east surrounding Meridian, an important railway and highway junction point; through the central prairie, where Jackson, Capitol City of Mississippi, is located; and climbs again into the brown loam hills at Vicksburg, famous for the historic and beautiful Vicksburg National Military Park.

Meridian, where U.S. 80 joins U.S. 45 and U.S. 11, starts the smooth highway on its drive across one of the most prosperous sections of the State.

Hickory, named after Andrew “Old Hickory” Jackson, and Newton are the next stops after U.S. 80 leaves the city of Meridian.

Just out of Newton U.S. 80 enters Bienville National Forest, an area of 382,820 square miles, devoted to the rehabilitation of cut-over lands.

Just before the highway leaves this tract of forest land it passes through Morton, shipping center for bentonite dug from nearby mines. Located at Morton is Roosevelt State Park, a 494 acre tract of natural forest. Overnight cabins, a clubhouse, camping and picnicking facilities are all provied for the convenience of downsouth travelers.

Brandon, west on the highway from Morton, is famous for the many distinguished state leaders it has produced. Here, the A.J. McLarin Home stands as a symbol of the brilliant history of this old community.

U.S. 80 enters Jackson, Mississippi’s Capital, over Brown Williams Memorial Bridge, spanning the brown waters of Pearl River. (Note: Jackson gets more extensive treatment with other highways.)

Leaving Jackson, U.S. 80 continues its westward swing, passing through the historic town of Clinton, eight miles out of Jackson. Here was fought one of the decisive battles that led up to the seige of Vicksburg. Located at Clinton are Mississippi College and Hillman College for girls, two of the oldest institutions in the State.

Edwards, half-way between Clinton and Vicksburg, is the site of the battle of Champion’s Hill, which drove the Confederate forces back into Vicksburg. A number of markers allow the visitor to follow the course of the struggle.

At Vicksburg, “Gibraltar of the Confederacy”, U.S. 80 junctions with “Old Man River Trail”, U.S. 61. The Vicksburg National Military Park, established in 1899 to commemorate the Campagin, Siege and Defense of Vicksburg, comprises 1,323 acres possessing rare historic and scenic interest. There are 1,598 memorials, monuments and markers in the park; and the trenches, fortifications and earthworks are still clearly discernable–making Vicksburg one of the world’s best marked battlefield. Each year Vicksburg National Military Park attracts increasing numbers of travelers. The National Park Service makes available to visitors free guide and museum service, under the direction of the historical staff of the park. Leaving Vicksburg and the State, U.S. 80 crosses the Mississippi River over a $7,000,000 combination rail and vehicular bridge.

More about Highway 80 and other Mississippi highways. . .

Categories: Brandon, Clinton, Jackson, Meridian, Newton, Roadside, Vicksburg


12 replies

  1. I have driven parts of highway 80 all the way to Texas. It’s one of my favs.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How did the Vicksburg Waterways Experiment Station differ from the Mississippi River Basin Model in southwest Jackson?


  3. Moving here from Pascagoula as a child in 1962, for some reason I remember being told that one of the indicators of how large and modern a city Jackson was is that it had a cloverleaf interchange at highways 80 and 51. I do remember being very impressed when I first saw it and for many years after. Funny. Now it’s almost an overgrown afterthought. Seems like there’s still a big aerial photograph of it in the Mayflower Cafe. Or at least there was. I can’t remember now if they took it down when they remodeled several years back.

    P.S. The Mississippi River Basin Model isn’t in Clinton, it’s in south Jackson.


  4. the mention of the cloverleaf in jackson ‘got me to thinking’ about the cloverleaf in hattiesburg, created at the junction of highways 49 and 11. once(when i was growing up there in the late 1940s and 1950s), it was on the southwest edge of the city; now, looking at a map of ‘metropolitan hattiesburg’, it seems to be near the center of the built up areas!

    from what i could learn in a quick search on the net, both highways 49–nw to jackson, se to gulfport-and highway 11–ne to meridian, sw to new orleans–were a part of the 1926 grand u s highway scheme. the routes of each highway through the city of hattiesburg changed over time, and the current route of 49 was set by 1948.

    so, i would guess that the hburg cloverleaf is ca. 1950 but this is only a guess. perhaps someone in our group has better information. it has always been a ‘landscape landmark’ for the city, but it seems very minor compared to the interchanges of the interstate highway system.


    • Down at the bottom of this webpage under the title RESEARCH RESOURCES is a link to MDOT state highway maps. The 1948 map has a detail of Hattiesburg and shows what might be a cloverleaf. A 1947 map was not created and/or archived and the 1946 map doesn’t give details of major cities as the 1948 map does. Not concrete proof of the Hattiesburg cloverleaf existence in 1948, but a good starting point for further research.


  5. eureka, i think, mr roselle! and, thanks!

    okay, the ’46 map doesn’t indicate a cloverleaf and the route of 49 goes through center of town; but, the ’48 map shows the then new route, to the west of the center of town, and yes, there, to the sw, unquestionably, is the cloverleaf!

    my ‘ca. 1950’ guess was said in the way that i like to use ‘ca.’— one feels odd using ‘ca’ for an odd number—and, the date of ’48 is when the new route was finalized and, presumably, the construction on the cloverleaf done! course, i wish i could find a ’47 map….(although all of this info could be in archives of hattiesburg area hisorical society….)

    oh, had never noticed the archived maps link on misspreservation; now, another time-wasting site!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. further— am now anxious to know what the booklet ‘does’ with highways 49 and 11??????? are they included, and, when can we expect this info??????


  7. Yes, both are included, and if I stay on schedule, this week will be Hwy 61 and next week will be 49.Hwy 11 will be in early Sept.


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