Head Out on the Highway: U.S. 82

Today’s post is the ninth 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.)

U.S Highway 82

The “Shortest All-Paved, All-Weather Route from New York to Los Angeles” begins its flow across the northern part of the state at the aristocratic town of Columbus. Coming out of the lower Tennessee hills, at Columbus U.S. 82 descends into the rich Black Pairie Belt. Further west, the highway passes through the flatwoods of shortleaf pines, crossing the Big Black swamp, and finally climbs into the scenically beautiful Bluff Hills. West of Carrollton the route drops abruptly down to the flat Delta country, where cotton culture rules supreme. At Greenville U.S. 82 leaves the great Delta and the state over the new $4,447,000 Greenville-Lake Village Bridge.

Starkville, 22 miles west of Columbus, is the pioneering center of dairying and cattle raising in the state. Here is located Mississippi State College, largest college in the state. At Mississippi State is the largest dormitory in the world under one roof.

Eupora, between Starkville and Winona, is a city of wide, shaded streets and flowering parks. Once notorious for its feuds, killings and fighting, today there is little evidence of this violent past.

At Kilmichael is the James W. Knox home, built in 1858 with slave labor.

Winona, the half-way point in the highway’s cross-state jaunt, is the center of a fertile farming district. Although most of the homes have been built in recent years, a number of quaint dwellings decorate the quiet streets. Here, U.S. 82 junctions with U.S. 51.

Carrollton, where the Bluff Hills shade off into the Delta, has retained much of the charm and atmosphere of an old ante-bellum town, though few material evidences of its pre-war days remain.

Between Carrollton and Greenwood is Malmaison, palatial old home of Greenwood Leflore, last of the Choctaw chiefs. A favorite sightseeing spot for tourists, it is opened for inspection.

Greenwood is the heart of the greatest long staple cotton growing area in the world.

Going deeper into the Delta, U.S. 82 passes through the typical cotton towns of Moorhead and Indianola.

At Leland U.S. 82 junctions with U.S. 61 (Old Man River Trail), which flows south to the historic towns of Vicksburg, Natchez, and Woodville.

Greenville, ten miles west of Leland, is the cotton planting, ginning, marketing and banking center of the Yazoo-Mississippi Valley area. Greenville has the cultural atmosphere of a river town born in the days of “King Cotton’s” glory. The Greenville dock with its bustling activity offers a perfect contrast to the quiet shaded streets with their aristocratic homes. The Percy home, now occupied by William Alexander Percy, the famous Southern poet and novelist, is an example of the good tast and culture of the progressive town. The Greenville Library, housing the Starling Collection, is one of the best in the state.

At Greenville U.S. 82 crosses the Mississippi over the Greenville-Lake Village Bridge, “The Most Beautiful Bridge on the Greatest River.”

More about Highway 82 and other Mississippi highways . . .

Categories: Architectural Research, Carrollton, Columbus, Greenville, Greenwood, Starkville


7 replies

  1. Oh the ideas these posts keep generating inside my head!


  2. nice to get this and ‘get away’ from the sad harrison bldg, hattiesburg, destruction.

    columbus ‘aristocratic’?–well, maybe there were a few second or third sons of wealthy families from east coast, but, actually, a town filled with a lot of self-made folks prior to civil war—-and after!

    leighcrest, columbus: quite the house! some nice photos in mdah national register nomination by samuel kaye==maybe the only 19th c house in ms with 12 triple windows?—4 on the front, 4 on each side—but, no outside blinds/shutters–i wonder if there are hinged solid or louvred shutters inside? have never been in— i know of some more ms houses with those triple windows–one or two in macon come to mind–but, those do have shutters– in this photo, with difficulty, you’ll notice the double porch on the left side— in the kaye photos, there is only a one story porch on the left side–seems colonial revival—

    eupora–‘notorious for its fueds’? perhaps, ‘feuds’?

    missed a photo of malmaison—mr white’s favorite ms house, and, certainly, one of mine—it burned in 1942, shortly after this booklet published.


  3. The official opening of Highway 82 was November 1939. The dedication was held in Winona November 28. Merchants closed, Governor White delivered the address, and bands from towns along the route played. A “Miss 82” contest was held, with Miss Madeline Smith of Winona crowned queen of Highway 82.


  4. in looking again at the national register nomination photos of ‘leighcrest’, there is one taken inside an upstairs bedroom, showing some of the windows.. there are no interior shutters. so, no interior shutters and none on the exterior, as well? or, none visible in any of the photos, the oldest i know, so far, is from this highway brochure–and, it’s the same one that’s in the 1940 columbus pilgrimage brochure previously featured on this site. strange!


  5. Interesting story in the Bilbo archives on the two Billups Bros.from back in the 1940s. I found it by accident when going through his correspondence papers.
    A now deceased friend (a shirtsleeves historian) was a Dumpster diver and had donated to me approximately 25 empty postal stamped envelopes that had been addressed to Senator Bilbo in DC. The letters had been dumped into the container. I suspect that it was trash from Evelyn Gandy’s office in Hattiesburg. Most of the return addresses were from Northeast Mississippi. I recognized may of the names and one in particular was the name of an aristocratic cotton plantation family from the Prairie that was related to the Billups Bros. by either blood or marriage. I wont’ reveal their identity but it was through Senator Bilbo’s influence that justice was brought about for the two brothers and I feel that the letter that originally was in that envelope was an appeal to seek his help in bringing about such.

    Do you know anything on this subject, Ed?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A clue may that the Billups Brothers sold gasoline for less during wartime after the government had imposed price controls and rationing.


  7. hey— unable to supply any info, mr gentry.


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