Head Out on the Highway: U.S. 78

Today’s post is the fourteenth (and last) 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 78

Cutting obliquely across the State, U.S. 78 runs through country that illustrates the history of northern Mississippi’s cultural and economic development. In the eastern part it drops rapidly away from wooded pine hills into the low-rolling fringes of the prairie. Here the new dairies and bottom-land pastures encircling Tupelo give a picture of the State’s attempts toward diversification. The highway then climbs through a rugged region of small dairy and cotton farms to reach at last a section of the north central hills, which before the War between the States developed a culture similar in its refinement and prosperity to that of the Natchez country. In these hills a number of beautiful homes remain as evidence of this glorious past.

On highway 25 just north of Fulton, the first stop on HIghway 78 as the traveler enters the eastern part of the state, is Tishomingo State Park, a beautiful tract of land, rich in natural vegetation and interesting rock formations. Cabin accommodations and meals are available to travelers who wish to enjoy the recreational opportunities at this delightful park.

Fulton, 14 miles from the state line, is one of the few towns in the South that maintains the institution of the town pump. Except for this picturesque touch, Fulton is a modern lumbering and farming center for Itawamba County.

Between Fulton and Tupelo is Tombigbee State Park, another of the beautiful woodlands developed by the State as a camping site and recreational center for tourists and residents. Comfortable cabins and excellent meals can be obtained here at reasonable rates.


Tupelo, largest town on the route, is probably Mississippi’s best example of the “New South” of diversified farming and industry. In 1936 Tupelo was struck by a violent tornado which killed and injured scores of inhabitants and destroyed a large part of the best residential area. A credit to the pioneer spirit and initiative of this wide-awake community has been the rapid rehabilitation of the devastated area. Five large industrial plants and the government fish hatchery are particular points of interest.

New Albany, north on the highway from Tupelo, was once a stagecoach stop. It has not lost all of the atmosphere of an old Southern town. Also, noted for its historic background is Hickory Flat, further along the route.

Between Hickory Flat and Holly Springs is a government re-forestation camp, where workmen are creating a park of several hundred acres. The camp’s lookout tower affords a magnificent view of the wooded hills of this section.

Holly Springs, located on the edge of the Holly Springs National Forest, has many evidences of the early culture brought to this community by its aristocratic settlers. Beautiful old homes, shaded streets and delightful gardens make it one of the most attractive towns in the state. Many of the homes are opened to visitors.

Six miles south of Holly Springs (on Miss. Highway 7) is located Spring Lake State Park (now Wall Doxey State Park), one of Mississippi’s beautiful recreational spots.

Last stop on U.S. 78 before it crosses the state line into Tennessee is Olive Branch, located just 19 miles southeast of Memphis. The Milton Brocker home here is a last reminder of the pioneer days of this historic little community.

More about Highway 78 and other Mississippi highways . . .

Categories: Fulton, Holly Springs, New Albany, Roadside, Tupelo


12 replies

  1. this brochure has given all of us a great look at our state; and, of course, inspired many interesting comments. thanks for thinking to include it on mp. happy holidays, friends.


  2. I would assume the Milton Brocker House in Olive Branch is non-extant. There is no listing for it on the MDAH HRI. Since “pioneer days” is probably an indication of an antebellum construction date, the only other houses in the Olive Springs area listed on the MDAH HRI that are/were antebellum are the long-demolished Crutcher House and the probably demolished Miller Plantation. Of course, as has been stated on this site before, the Delta was not a fully developed antebellum plantation landscape (it was developed postbellum and parts of it were still being drained and clear-cut a couple of decades into the 20th Century) and antebellum buildings are very rare there despite its reputation.


  3. I wonder whatever happened to the Tombigbee State Park Lodge? It looks as though it was a handsome building.


    • It burned, as in January 1946 the legislature allotted money to “rebuilding the building destroyed by fire.” In 1950, a news item indicated repair on the lodge and in 1955 and article referenced the “comparatively new lodge.” In 1966, an article indicated the lodge was “rebuilt not too long after the CCC-built lodge burned down.” I could not find a report of when the building actually burned, but apparently around 1945.


      • I can see that you have discovered Newspaper dot com, too? I have signed on and see it as a great source for information. Unfortunately, the New Orleans Times-Picayune is not available, yet. I had never heard of Edgar Allen Poe(Not the poet) of Jasper, Alabama who had worked for the Birmingham-News before being hired in 1930 by the Picayune as bureau chief in Baton Rouge, then onto Jackson as bureau chief from 1940 to 1945. What I am able to find from Poe is from other news sources where he has spoken at public gatherings. Poe reported much of the WWII wartime activities involving Mississippians for the Picayune.
        Poe was the first US combat journalist selected to witness the surrender of the Japanese aboard the USS Missouri. He arrived in Tokyo Bay aboard the USS Mississippi. He stood behind the Japanese delegation as Admiral “Bull” Halsey walked from the state room an said words that Poe said were not fit for publication.
        Poe was also the first journalist to be allowed to enter Hiroshima and witness the bloated bodies of dead civilians and seeing swarms of bot flies and experience the odor of decaying corpses. Admiral Forrestal and Commodore James K. Vardaman, Jr. were instrumental in selecting Poe for this honor. Vardaman, Jr. had served with Truman during WWI as an artillery officer. Vardaman, Jr. was at Pottsdam, too.


  4. i echo both parts of mr barnes’ comments about the tombigbee state park lodge; and ask the same about the
    handsome tishomingo state park soot bridge.

    might the collection of comments on material in this ms tourist guide become one of the mp ‘series’? perhaps with the double title of ‘1941 ms tourist guide aka head out on the highway’?


    • Tishomingo S.P. is a National Register-listed historic district and the CCC lodge and swinging foot bridge are still standing. It’s my favorite of Mississippi’s state parks and as the article notes, it’s Apalachian topography is unique in the state.


  5. Fill Up with Billups as I recall.

    Going through the Bilbo archives at USM, I came across an item related to the Billups Brothers in federal prison for violation of the NRA act and an appeal to The Man to secure their release. Many letters to Bilbo for help in this matter. That explains the empty envelope– the return address from kith and kin of the Prairie– that was found behind a legal office in Hattiesburg and given to me by Carl Fennel, now deceased. He indicated that it was from Evelyn Gandy’s files.
    There’s a lot of information in the Bilbo archives that are relevant even today. His last speech at Pontotoc contains his threat to filibuster the attempt by Congress to extend a $3,750,000.00 “loan” to Britain to purchase $6,000,000,000 in surplus war materials left over from the war. The war materials were to be purchase at twenty- cents on the dollar. In that address in Pontotoc Bilbo was going to reveal that there are four to six million illegal aliens in the United States.
    That speech was followed in the Delta a year later to the Delta Council by the capo di capi tuitti of the CIA crime family, Allen Dulles. Dulles appealed for the passage of the so called “British Loan.”
    In a vindication of Bilbo, Grant T. Smith has published information that now corroborates what Bilbo was determined to be made public. Smith’s proof is available on YouTube.


  6. The lone reference to the dairy “industry” is Elsie the Borden cow.
    Artesia in Lowndes county was the “Hay Capital of the World.” The Borden’s Plant in Macon produced a powdered cream substitute and the Kraft plant in Brooksville produced cheddar cheese.
    Oktibbeha county was the Dairy Capital of Mississippi, hence Mississippi A&M’s reputation as a Cow College.
    With the booming war industry up North that followed Korean war, many of the cotton and dairy farm laborers boarded Greyhound buses and followed the migration to Chicago via Highway 45. It was about this time that land prices started dropping and many grain farmers from the Midwest started moving South after getting big prices for their farmlands due to urban expansion. This also brought in the Amish and the Mennonites with their John Deere Green grain combines and now the JD green cotton pickers.
    Governor Hugh White’s BAWI plan(Balance Agriculture with Industry) seems to be working.
    The only downside that I can see is the freshly- tilled bentonite silty clay topsoils on the rolling hills eroding away… moving into the streams and creeks on their way to the Tombigbee River.


  7. The British loan was for $3,750,000,000.00(Three billion, 750 million dollars.)


  8. Thank you for this series, I’ve enjoyed this tour of the state as seen through eyes of the past! The ad featuring Elsie in this article was a sweet memory for me as I always adored her gentle face.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: