Monday, May 14, 2012

An Afternoon in "Small Town, America"

I recently went with my husband to his office in Meadville, Mississippi, and while he did some work, I roamed around town looking for pictures waiting to be taken. I missed the best picture— of a little red-headed boy about 4 or 5 years old who was standing in line at a snow cone stand. The scene reminded me of a Norman Rockwell painting, but by the time I pulled over out of traffic, he was already eating his snow cone and headed to his mama's car.

I was disappointed I wasn't able to capture that sweet little boy who was the epitome of what summertime in "Small Town, America" is all about, but I was able to get a few pictures of the comings and goings that afternoon in Meadville, which is about 25 miles southeast of Natchez.

Meadville is the county seat for Franklin County, and for a small town with a population around 500, there was a lot of traffic on Main Street. I did manage to get an unobstructed picture of the Franklin County Courthouse ...

And I found the water tower looming over the small hospital in town ...

The Masonic Lodge, ca 1824, caught my attention and I snapped this picture from across the street ...

I then turned down the street next to the lodge and saw this old rusty sign ...

It looked old and I wanted to see if the "New Fork Methodist Church" was old, too, so I followed the road through a residential area. A little lagniappe along the way were these glorious Japanese Maple trees ...

I followed the road until it came to a sharp bend and found this church, which didn't have a sign ...

I kept on going around the bend and just happened to catch a glimpse of a rusty red metal roof peeping out from a tangle of vines and overgrowth.

When I realized that it was made of logs, my heart skipped a beat and I quickly found a place to turn around. As I passed by the parking lot where the new church was, I could see the front of the little log building and couldn't resist stopping to get a closer look.

It was very primitive and chinked with mud ...

And talk about primitive — I loved this little bench on the porch.

The more I saw of the little building, the more curious I became, and before writing this post, I tracked down the local historian (every town has one, you know) — a very sweet and gracious lady who I will call "Miss Dorothy," for privacy's sake. I spoke with Miss Dorothy on the phone, and she told me that originally there was an Afro-American schoolhouse located where the new church is now, and at some point in time, they built the little log house to store school books and supplies in. She said she believed they also held meetings there. She couldn't tell me a particular date, but I imagine it was probably built sometime in the early 1900s.

Whenever it was built, I was delighted I came across it that day and was able to discover a little about its history.

This building on Main Street caught my eye. It's home to the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce and Museum.

I wish I had had time to stop by and visit ... I'm sure they could have told me a lot about Meadville.

Next to the little log building, the Meadville Presbyterian Church, ca 1906, was my favorite historical site in town.

I especially love the message on the sign, "Giving God the Glory."

Can't you just picture a bride and groom coming out of those doors!

I hope you enjoyed seeing the pictures I captured during my visit in Meadville. It is the epitome of "Small Town, America," and I'll never cease to be amazed at the lagniappe you can find in little towns like this one. You just never know what you might find!


racheld said...

I just DRINK these in!! You just wander around a corner and there's something that was there when your Mother's Mother's Mother was going about her own way somewhere else.

Saggy doors and chinked logs and such memories---I remember so many that were IN USE with such run-down surroundings, and the joyful noises rang out through the cracks and crevices as well as if echoing through a cathedral.

It's like stepping into a postcard from the place that used to be mine,

Do you just wander down dusty roads, stepping bravely through the weeds toward an enticing site, and nobody knows where you are?

Glenda said...

Love your pics of the churches - both old and new!! The little log building would have fascinated me, too, and I would have "clicked" more shots than necessary, I'm sure! Great post!

Tonja said...

What a sweet little town! And the perfect hostess to show it to us! It is always so exciting to know there is something around the corner, and it's bound to be good! I love that you look for the adventure as you explore! Anyone can stand on the street and make pictures, but it takes someone with the soul of adventur to get out of the car and go off the main street and find the 'good stuff'! Thanks for sharing!

LindaG said...

You have quite an eye for such things. I've seen old signs, but rarely investigate.

I had thought the log building might have been your church.
A school house is just as neat.

Thanks for sharing all your photos with us! :o)

Carolyn said...

Loved this tour, especially the last photo. I love "Small Town, America" and have never heard of or been to Meadville. Makes me want to visit!