Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Mississippi Delta 9: Hushpuckena and Shelby

A friend suggested I visit the semi-abandoned town of Hushpuckena, about 4 miles north of Shelby in Bolivar County. This was an excellent suggestion because driving along modern US 61, you would not know the former town existed in a grove of trees. You have to turn off and look for Old Highway 61. I stopped at one occupied 1960s-style house, and a young lady said there were plenty of empty houses for me to photograph.
Most interesting to me was the old country store (or company store, if one company once owned all the fields around here). I could not make out the faded signs.
The roof over the left half of the building had failed and the jungle was taking over. From the decorative side plate over the door lock, you can see that this building had been made with pride.
A door on the side was open and I took some photographs inside. The manila folders on the floor contained thousands of 1980s medical records from Bolivar County Hospital. What were the easy chairs for? Did someone have a party reading X-ray and diagnostic reports? Very odd. I love exploring old buildings because you never know what you might find.
Shelby is only a few miles away. The former Shelby Bank & Trust Co. once occupied the cutest little square-front building. A friend informed me that the Roberts Insurance Agency also once used this building. The dark sky is a result of a polarizing filter. Sadly, many of the other commercial buildings in Shelby are gone.

These are digital images taken with a tripod-mounted Panasonic G1 digital camera, most with the 14-45mm Lumix lens. The scenes in the old Huskpuckena store were taken with the superb Olympus 9-18mm lens for micro four thirds (ยต4/3) format.

Some black and white film photographs from this same trip are in this article (click the link).

Update March 2013:  The medical records have been removed, according to a physician I know in Greenville. When I told him the story, he was alarmed and had the files removed and destroyed. He said the files were still pertinent because two of the names he saw were his coworkers from the Greenville hospital.


Suzassippi said...

I'm sure the patients of Bolivar County hospital can rest assured about the confidentiality of their medical history now. ;(

Anonymous said...

The second picture down was the post office and my husbands granparent's home. The post office was the front of their home, living space in the back.

Anonymous said...

My ancestors lived there. There is a valid reason for the urban decay. Thanks for the pictures.

Anonymous said...

My father is from here. There's a reason for decay?

Unknown said...

I grew up there. The store was own by Eugene and Bob Tibbs. The entire area was owned by them. I went to that store many days to buy candy and fresh cut deli meats for my parents. Pictures bring back many memories.

john vowell said...

I loved the photos. I grandparents,greatgrand parents, my mother and her brothers were born in Hushpuckena, My grand father, Feather and his father had a store across the street from Mr.Tibs general store. Later their store (house in back) was turned into the US Post Office. My grandmother was the Post Master from mid 40s until her retirement 1960. I enjoyed spending my summers playing around Hushpuckena. Sad do see it has become a ghost town. Thanks for photos. john

Freddie Manuel said...

Mrs. Eva Feathers was still Postmaster when I left Hushpuckena in 1964. Her son,Herman and I played baseball together.