Today’s post is the tenth 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.)
Dropping down straight through the predominantly rural sections of eastern Mississippi, Highway 15 reveals many interesting phases of Southern life. For a hundred miles or more after entering the state the route clings to the ridgelike land of shortleaf pine and small farms. Farther to the South the shortleaf pines give way to the majestic longleaf species, formerly the greatest industry of South Mississippi. Abruptly the highway drops from the pine hills into the shadowy river country. Moss-hung trees and a rich growth of vegetation borders the smooth pavement of the highway.
Walnut, Ripley and Blue Mountain by their names indicate the nature of the northern section of the state where highway 15 begins its long trek southward. At Blue Mountain is located Blue Mountain College for women and Mississippi Heights preparatory school for boys.
New Albany, where Miss. 15 junctions with U.S. 78 has retained much of the atmosphere of an old Southern town.
Pontotoc, 18 miles south of New Albany, provides an interesting insight into the past life of this individualistic section of the state.
Between Pontotoc and Houston is Natchez Trace State Park, newest of the state’s eleven state parks. Here, the traveler will find attractive cabin accommodations and many delightful recreational opportunities.
Houston contains the first Carnegie Library to be established in the state, as well as a number of homes as old as the town itself. In the vicinity of Houston are a umber of geologically interesting Indian mounds.
Maben and Ackerman, still in the hill section, are two important trading centers for the surrounding area.
At Louisville, 16 miles below Ackerman, is Legion State Park, a 424 acre tract of rugged woodlands, devoted chiefly to camping and picnicking. Cabins and a concession make it easy for the motorist to enjoy the opportunity of a few days in the open air.
Philadelphia, center of Mississippi’s Indian country, is the site of an ancient Indian village. Here is located the Choctaw Indian Agency.
Between Philadelphia and Newton is the small but progressive town of Union, which was burned to the ground by General Sherman. Decatur, county seat of Newton County, is located between Newton and Union.
At Newton, Miss. 15 junctions with U.S. Highway 80, which leads into Jackson, Capitol City of Mississippi.
At Bay Springs, Miss. 15 enters the longleaf pine section. Below Bay Springs the highway enters the wide-awake town of Laurel.
Laurel, a county seat of Jones, is a model of progress and diversification. Founded as a sawmill town, Laurel has adapted its economy to the changing culture of the times. The large Masonite plan, the sweet potato starch plant and the Mayhew canning plant are evidence of industrial progress; while the Lauren Rogers Library and Museum of Art, first art museum in the state, are evidence of the cultural attractions of this prosperous town.
Below Laurel, Miss. 15 passes through Richton, Beaumont and McLain, examples of South Mississippi towns that have abandoned the dying lumber industry for more profitable occupations, chiefly diversified farming.
Lucedale, where Miss. 15 turns into the state line, is noted for the Luce Farms, an experiment in diversified farming.
More about Highway 15 and other Mississippi highways . . .