“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Mendenhall in Simpson County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)


— Simpson County Heritage Trail —

Mendenhall Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, December 2, 2017
1. Mendenhall Marker
What is the Simpson County Heritage Trail?
The Simpson County Heritage Trail was established through the Simpson County Development Foundation in 2011. Each stop along the trail is of historic significance to Simpson County, showcasing points of interest and facts about the origins of the County.

Mendenhall Then
The original town Edna was named for the wife of developer Philip Didlake. When the post office application in 1900 revealed that an older town was named Edna, the name was changed to Mendenhall in honor of Thomas L. Mendenhall, a prominent citizen and lawyer in Westville. The first postmaster was R. H Coke, and the Coke Building, built in 1928, still stands on Main Street. Westville was a thriving town and had served some 70 years as the county seat when, at the turn of the century, the Gulf & Ship Island Railroad bypassed it in favor of a direct route through the country. A legal battle, lasting some years, ensued over the location of the county seat. Finally, in 1905, the State Supreme Court decided in favor of Mendenhall.

The Courthouse
On December 4, 1906, the Board of Supervisors advertized for bids to build a courthouse in Mendenhall. Following the design of the United States Capitol, the adopted plans were submitted by New Orleans architect Andrew J. Bryon. The contractor selected was M. W. Land of Jackson, MS, who bid $59,000. The courthouse was completed on December 21, 1907, one year after the contract was awarded, at a cost of $59,000.

The Simpson County Courthouse—"The most beautiful courthouse in Mississippi"—was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 29, 1985 and was restored in 1987 to conform to its historic detail at a
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cost of $1,750,000.

Mendenhall Now
County Seat — Mendenhall, the County Seat of Simpson County is today the second largest retail center in the county and the home of Simpson General Hospital.

Historic Preservation — Several period buildings, such as the Coke Building, still exist along Main Street. Several turn-of-the-century and early twentieth century houses remain. The City Hall is housed in the historic Thames House, a beautiful turn-of-the-century Victorian.

Mendenhall Ministries — A nationally known community development organization—dating back to the days of the Civil Rights Struggle-Mendenhall Ministries was founded by John Perkins in 1962 as Voice of Calvary Ministries. In later years, the Mendenhall ministry became a separate entity from the Jackson ministry. Today, they are considered a model for faith-based community development. The continuing success of Mendenhall Ministries was recognize in 1991, when President George W. Bush presented them with the Number 541 Daily Point of Light Award.

An Anecdotal History of Simpson County
From the Columns of Bee King
The Simpson County News
All the stories appearing on the Trail markers under "An Anecdotal History of Simpson County" are extracted from a series of articles written by the late Bee King, who was a well-known lawyer, historian, and writer. Mr. King served as mayor of Mendenhall and is buried in the Mendenhall cemetery. The Simpson County News began running the series in their weekly newspaper in 1937 and continued until 1948. Mr. King's writings are a graphic presentation of the life and times of Simpson County. He interviewed the elderly citizens throughout the area and uniquely recorded for posterity the experiences of the people in day-to-day living.
Erected by the Simpson County Development
Marker can be seen just to right of flagpole. image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, December 2, 2017
2. Marker can be seen just to right of flagpole.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Civil RightsRailroads & StreetcarsSettlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #43 George W. Bush series list. A significant historical date for this entry is August 29, 1985.
Location. 31° 57.757′ N, 89° 52.179′ W. Marker is in Mendenhall, Mississippi, in Simpson County. Marker is at the intersection of Court Avenue and Main Street North, on the right when traveling east on Court Avenue. Located on the lawn of the Simpson County Courthouse. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 100 Court Avenue, Mendenhall MS 39114, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Weathersby and Choctaw Heritage (approx. 2.8 miles away); Sanatorium (approx. 7.2 miles away); Braxton (approx. 7˝ miles away); Flags Over Simpson County (approx. 7˝ miles away); Westville, Mississippi (approx. 7.9 miles away); Magee (approx. 10.1 miles away); Magee - McNair Springs (approx. 10.1 miles away); Simpson County Veterans Monument (approx. 10.1 miles away).
Credits. This page was last revised on February 26, 2018. It was originally submitted on February 26, 2018, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 681 times since then and 130 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on February 26, 2018, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.

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Nov. 28, 2023