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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
 
 

Lauderdale County Mississippi Historical Markers

 
View of marker and cemeteries. image, Touch for more information
By Mark Hilton, December 3, 2017
View of marker and cemeteries.
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 10th Avenue Masonic Cemeteries
The Thomas J. Wilson and St. Luke's cemeteries were associated with the Masonic lodges that once stood on this city block. The cemeteries have over 100 extant formal markers on the graves of civilians and veterans from five American military . . . — Map (db m111125) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 1 — African American Business District — Meridian Civil Rights Trail
The African-American Business District provided services that Meridian’s black community could not otherwise receive due to Jim Crow laws that kept the South segregated. It was the location of a hotel, restaurants, barber and beauty shops, a . . . — Map (db m111048) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — African-American Cultural Heritage District
The portion of the Meridian Downtown Historic Preservation District centered on the intersection of 25th Avenue with 5th Street has a long historical association with the African-American community due to the concentration of black-owned businesses . . . — Map (db m111039) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — Birthplace of Jimmie Rodgers
Born Sept. 8, 1897, at Meridian, Miss. Known as the “Singing Brakeman,” Rodger's recordings of Southern blues and ballads greatly contributed to the world-wide popularity of a distinctly American musical form. — Map (db m77219) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — Charles W. "Savez" Read — Naval Hero of the Confederacy
Lieutenant Read, a native Mississippian, is buried here. He was an 1860 graduate of Annapolis. With a crew of 17, he captured 22 Union ships in 21 days and struck terror across the eastern seaboard. This adventure has been called the most brilliant, . . . — Map (db m111135) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 15 — Council of Organizations — Meridian Civil Rights Trail
The Council of Organizations is a nonprofit association that promotes social, cultural and educational interests of the African-American community. The building was formerly an IGA grocery that was picketed during the Civil Rights movement. — Map (db m111078) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 11 — Country Music Comes of Age
Front Meridian's Jimmie Rodgers Day festivals of the 1950s, the first held May 26, 1953, became known as National Country Music Days, marking a turning point in the nation's enthusiasm for country music. Stars and fans from every . . . — Map (db m77171) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — Depot Historic District
Well-preserved industrial complex grouped about a railroad depot, center of railroad industry, the impetus to Meridian's growth after 1860. Included farm products processing businesses of inventor G.W. Soule. — Map (db m60075) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — Dial House Site
Build ca. 1870 by industrialist J.R. Dial. His son, E.H. Dial, who served as mayor (1893-1901) also lived here. The city's code of ordinances was adopted during his term, and he was responsible for many civic improvements. In 1899, he wrote the . . . — Map (db m77214) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — Dr. Jeff Anderson House
This Tudor Revival home built in 1923, was the home of Dr. William Jefferson Anderson, founder of the Jeff Anderson Regional Medical Center. Remaining in family hands from his death in 1951 until 1992, the house was purchased in 2001 by the United . . . — Map (db m111060) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — East Mississippi Female College
The East Mississippi Female College was established here in 1869 by the Central Methodist Church and became recognized as one of the finest female colleges in the South under the leadership of John Wesley Beeson, President (1869-1903). The college . . . — Map (db m111120) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 3 — Elsie McWilliams
Front Elsie Williamson McWilliams (1896-1985), the sister of Jimmie Rodgers's second wife Carrie, wrote or contributed to music and lyrics for thirty-nine of the songs that Rodgers performed or recorded, although she never received . . . — Map (db m77170) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 5 — Federal Courthouse — Meridian Civil Rights Trail
The Federal Courthouse in Meridian was the site of two of the most significant legal actions in Civil Rights history: the filing of James Meredith's lawsuit to integrate the University of Mississippi in 1961 and the infamous "Mississippi Burning" . . . — Map (db m111056) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 17 — First Union Missionary Baptist Church — Meridian Civil Rights Trail
Founded in 1891, First Union Missionary Baptist Church served as a meeting place for numerous Civil Rights activities. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke here during the Freedom Summer of 1964. Weeks later, First Union was the site of activist James . . . — Map (db m111084) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 7 — Freedom Riders — Meridian Civil Rights Trail
Freedom Riders traveled through the Meridian bus station without major incident, thanks to negotiation efforts by local Civil Rights activists and police. Their experience was unlike that in other cities, where they faced mob violence and arrests. — Map (db m111066) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 14 — Freedom School — Meridian Civil Rights Trail
In the summer of 1964, dozens of Freedom Schools opened across Mississippi. The largest was located at Meridian Baptist Seminary. It provided additional education opportunities to the African-American community and hosted the statewide Freedom . . . — Map (db m111077) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — Gillespie V. "Sonny" Montgomery
Buried just east of this site. “Sonny” Montgomery served in the Mississippi State Senate 1956-1966 and the U. S. House of Representatives 1967-1997. A retired Major General in the Mississippi National Guard, Montgomery championed . . . — Map (db m76698) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — Highland Park
Opened in 1909 as one of the South's premier streetcar pleasure parks, it consists of 32 informally landscaped acres and contains an 1890s Dentzel Carousel which is designated a National Historic Landmark. — Map (db m77218) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — Historic McLemore Cemetery 1839
Marked by Pushmataha Chapter 1939 — Map (db m111132) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 1 — Jimmie Rodgers — Father of Country Music
Front Singing winningly, with storytelling clarity and physicality, of the real lives and fondest dreams of his down home audience, with varied musical backing that ranged from his own solitary guitar to rural pickers, horns, and . . . — Map (db m77176) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 10 — Jimmie Rodgers & The Blues
Jimmie Rodgers (1897 – 1933) is widely known as the "father of country music," but blues was a prominent element of his music. The influence of his famous "blue yodels" can be heard in the music of Mississippi blues artists including . . . — Map (db m59656) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — Lauderdale County World War I Memorial
1917 – 1918 To the glory of God and in honor of those of Lauderdale County who patriotically answered the call of our country to uphold justice and the rights of humanity and in loving remembrance of those . . . — Map (db m77473) WM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — Lewis Edmund "Buck" Crook, Jr.
A native of Meridian, Lewis Crook (1898-1967) moved to Atlanta, Georgia, in 1915 to attend Georgia Tech. Crook began his career with the architectural firm of Hentz, Reid and Adler. In 1923, Crook formed his own firm with business partner Daniel . . . — Map (db m111123) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — Lt. Charles Read
Charles William “Savez” Read (1840-1890) was an officer in the pre-Civil War U.S. Navy. Joining the Confederate navy, Read was nicknamed the “Seawolf of the Confederacy” for his daring exploits. After serving on the CSS . . . — Map (db m111031) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — Marks-Rothenberg Co. — 2200 5th Street
Built: 1889 Architect: Gustavus Maurice Torgenson Constructor: C.M. Rubush Architectural Style: Romanesque Designated a Mississippi Landmark on June 12, 2002 Listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing . . . — Map (db m111176) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 8 — McLemore Cemetery — Meridian Civil Rights Trail
Meridian's oldest cemetery was founded by Richard McLemore, Meridian's first permanent white settler, in 1839. Buried here are many of the approximately 30 victims who died during the Meridian Race Riot of 1871. The riot signaled the end of the . . . — Map (db m111067) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — McLemore Cemetery
Earliest evidence of Meridian's settlement, containing burials of first settler Richard McLemore, victims of 1871 riot, and 1878 Yellow Fever epidemic. Listed in National Register of Historic Places. — Map (db m111129) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — Meridian
Formerly Sowashee, it was chartered 1860, and throve as rail junction during the Civil War, serving in 1863 as temporary capital and as depository of the state's official records. — Map (db m59695) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 198 — Meridian Blues & Jazz
Front Meridian blues and jazz performers have played important roles in musical history, both locally and nationally, not only supplying a foundation for other genres but also propelling music in new directions. Notables with Meridian . . . — Map (db m111037) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 178 — Meridian Rhythm & Blues and Soul Music
Front Rhythm & blues and soul singers have been major contributors to Meridian’s deep African American musical heritage, extending the legacy molded by gospel, jazz and traditional blues artists. David Ruffin of the Temptations and his . . . — Map (db m77426) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — Meridian's "C" Battery
   Monday, September 4th, Labor Day, 1950 at 9:30 p.m. 125 local Marine Reserves of Meridian's "C" Battery, 4th 155mm Howitzer Battalion U.S.M.C.R. held their last local muster here at the old Union Station enroute to Camp Pendleton, California and . . . — Map (db m60059) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — Merrehope
A 20-room Neoclassical Revival mansion completed in 1904, the house began as a small cottage which served as headquarters for Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston in 1863. Merrehope is now a museum of local history. — Map (db m77216) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 5 — Merrehope — Meridian Civil War Trail
Merrehope, built by an early settler's daughter, was occupied by Confederate Generals Joseph E. Johnston (1863) and Leonidas Polk (1863-64), then by Union officers. It is one of six homes to survive the Battle of Meridian. — Map (db m111095) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 6 — Missouri Ridge — Meridian Civil War Trail
One of the Battle of Meridian's few skirmishes occurred at Missouri Ridge, where Union troops from Missouri camped. For years, Confederate veterans held an annual mock battle here to commemorate the skirmish. — Map (db m111096) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 18 — Moe Bandy
Born in Meridian and the grandson of the railway yard manager where Jimmie Rodgers worked, Moe Bandy became one of country music’s most popular singers of the 1970s and ‘80s. A master of honky tonk as well as cowboy songs that reflected . . . — Map (db m60544) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 9 — Newell Chapel CME — Meridian Civil Rights Trail
Newell Chapel CME Church was involved in Civil Rights meetings and voter registration projects. It was one of three original locations of the Head Start program. The church parsonage was bombed by the Ku Klux Klan in 1968. — Map (db m111068) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 16 — Old Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church — Meridian Civil Rights Trail
Folk singer and political activist Pete Seeger was performing for a large crowd of Freedom Summer volunteers when he received word that the bodies of Civil Rights workers James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman had been found. The crowd . . . — Map (db m111081) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 169 — Peavey Electronics
Front The electronic amplification of vocals and musical instruments resulted in dramatic changes in the blues in the post-World War II era, notably the rise to prominence of the electric guitar. Peavey Electronics, founded in 1965 by . . . — Map (db m77192) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — Poplar Springs Road Historic District
In 1905, local lumber businessman M.R. Grant laid out a plan for the lots and streets along Poplar Springs Drive and named it Marion Park in honor of his daughter. By 1912 along this winding road, featuring large homes, a street car line and Matty . . . — Map (db m93143) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 1 — Railroads and the War — Meridian Civil War Trail
Meridian was a Civil War railroad center with an arsenal, a military hospital, and state offices. On Feb, 14, 1865, General Sherman's troops reached town and began destroying track, cutting an essential Confederate supply line. — Map (db m77472) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 4 — Rose Hill Cemetery — Meridian Civil War Trail
A burial mound at Rose Hill Cemetery contains the remains of more than 100 Confederate soldiers. Nebraska Carter Read also rests here alongside her husband, Lieutenant Charles W. Read, the "John Paul Jones of the Confederate Navy." — Map (db m111089) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 2 — Sherman's "Bow Tie" — Meridian Civil War Trail
To prevent repair of rails, General Sherman's troops created “bow ties.” They burned crossties to heat rails, then twisted the rails around trees. Altogether they destroyed more than 100 miles of track around Meridian. — Map (db m77469) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 3 — Sit-Ins, Pickets & Boycotts — Meridian Civil Rights Trail
Sit-ins, pickets and boycotts were used to persuade white-owned businesses to hire black employees and integrate lunch counters. The Meridian Action Committee (MAC) was formed in part to carry out these tasks. Kress, Woolworth's and Newberry . . . — Map (db m111052) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 11 — St. John Baptist Church — Meridian Civil Rights Trail
St. John Baptist Church was one of two locations where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was scheduled to speak in 1964, as well as the site of Polly Heidelberg's memorable confrontation of a former Klan member. "Miss Polly" was a mother figure to local . . . — Map (db m111070) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 10 — St. Joseph Catholic Church — Meridian Civil Rights Trail
St. Joseph Catholic Church operated a coeducational school that served young black students from 1910 to 1970. The school also offered adult education classes. Former students include James Chaney and Polly Heidelberg. — Map (db m111069) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — Temple Theater
Erected 1923-27 by the Hamasa Shriners in Moorish Revival style, this theater was among the finest movie/vaudeville “palaces” of its day, having one of the largest stage facilities in the United States. — Map (db m77217) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — The Grand Opera House — 2206 5th Street
Built: 1889 by Marks-Rothenberg Co. Architect: Gustavus Maurice Torgenson Builder: C.M. Rubush Interior Designer: J.B. McElfarick Architectural Style: Late Victorian Second Empire/Romanesque Designated a Mississippi Landmark on . . . — Map (db m111177) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 12 — The Impact of Churches — Meridian Civil Rights Trail
Churches were the heart and soul of the Civil Rights movement. New Hope Missionary Baptist, founded in 1868, was Meridian's first black Baptist church. St. Paul United Methodist, founded in 1866, donated land for the Carnegie Branch Library, the . . . — Map (db m111071) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 4 — The Jewish Contribution — Meridian Civil Rights Trail
Jewish merchants contributed greatly to Meridian's growth. The Grand Opera House (MSU Riley Center) and the Threefoot Building stand as evidence of their business success. Although Jews were well accepted in Meridian, their support of Civil Rights . . . — Map (db m111054) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 2 — The Movement — Meridian Civil Rights Trail
The Civil Rights movement in Meridian has a tumultuous history strongly linked to this area of downtown. From the 1871 Race Riot beginning at Con Sheehan Hall to the Freedom Summer activities of workers at the Council of Federated Organizations . . . — Map (db m111051) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — Urban Center Historic District
. . . — Map (db m59694) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 6 — Voter Registration — Meridian Civil Rights Trail
Voter registration was one of the goals of the Civil Rights movement. In the South, poll taxes and literacy exams like the one given here at the Lauderdale County Courthouse were used to prevent African-Americans from registering. These practices . . . — Map (db m111058) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — Wechsler School
Built in 1894, this was the first brick public school building in east Mississippi for African American children. The school was named for Rabbi Jacob Wechsler, who led the drive to build it. Founded in 1871, the school was initially housed in St. . . . — Map (db m111035) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 13 — Wechsler School — Meridian Civil Rights Trail
Built in 1894, Wechsler School was Mississippi's first brick public school building for black children to be constructed with public funds. It was named in honor of Rabbi Judah Weschler, who led the effort to provide public education for black . . . — Map (db m111074) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 3 — Whitfield "Big Central" High School — Meridian Civil War Trail
In 1885, construction of Whitfield "Big Central" High School uncovered remains of soldiers who died at a Confederate hospital located here. The soldiers' remains were transferred to a burial mound in Rose Hill Cemetery. — Map (db m111091) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Toomsuba — 31st Infantry Division Memorial Highway — "Dixie Division" — I-20 from Alabama State Line to Miss River
Dedicated in memory of those who served in the Dixie Division from July 18, 1917 to February 15, 1968. May those who served during World War I, World War II, and the Korean War Rest in Peace — Map (db m103742) WM

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