Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Mississippi Delta 20: Webb and the Webb Depot

Webb is a small town on the Little Tallahatchee River southeast of Clarksdale and northwest of Grenada. You reach it by driving on US 49E and turning east on Hwy. 32, which is also Main Street in town. 
What initially interested me in Webb was a note in Preservation Mississippi that the historic railroad depot had been listed on the 2015 10 Most Endangered Historic Places in Mississippi list. According to the nomination:
The Webb Depot was built in 1909 by the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railroad as a combination passenger and freight depot. A central part of life in this small Delta town for decades, the station was the junction of two different railroads coming from three directions.
Privately owner, the Webb Depot is in stable condition but will require an extensive restoration to bring it back to life. Community activists in Webb would like to restore the building for use as a civic space, such as the Oxford Depot or the Martin and Sue King Railroad Heritage Museum, located in the historic depot in Celeveland.
No trains come here now. But once, trains once carried freight, agricultural products, and passengers, and connected these little towns with the rest of the world.
Main Street is also Mississippi 32. Many or most of the brick stores are empty; little commerce happens in Webb today.
This substantial brick building probably had a store on the ground floor and a residence on the second. The bare side wall shows that once another building was attached.
This magnificent ceramic mosaic floor was on a lot where the building had been demolished. Imagine the wealth and pride once existed here to install a floor like this. I have read that Italian immigrants did much of the ceramic and tile work in the Delta in the early 20th century.
Early advertising, painted on the brick rather than a metal signboard.
At the local Mini-Mart, the dudes where hanging out and seemed thrilled to have a tourist take their picture.
Across the street from the Mini-Mart was an old Art Deco filling station. The steel section to the left is newer or is a sheathing over older plaster/stucco. According to Preservation Mississippi, this was the architectural style of Lion brand service stations.
The alleys are pretty bleak.
The tree and lighting across the tracks from the depot was too nice to resist.
On Rte 32 west of Webb on the way to Drew, flat farm fields and another magnificent tree. 135mm SMC Takumar lens.

Color photographs are from a Fuji X-E1 digital camera. I took the black and white frames with a Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic camera, in the family since 1971 and recently restored and overhauled. I used Kodak BW400CN film, a black and white C-41-type of film (in other words, color print film but with monochrome dye only).


Suzassippi said...

I traveled to and from Webb and Glendora a lot doing community work there for a year or so. It was my first introduction to the Delta. I have a fondness for Webb, and wish it could rebound at least a little bit. A lot of people in that community depend on it.

Suzassippi said...

Oh, and I do love the floor and the Art Deco station. I love your eye for the unusual. One of my favorite of your photographs is the line of urinals in an abandoned building--a hospital I think, with the vivid blue tile.

Julian said...

You have a sensitive touch with digital as well. I think your compassionate pictures and writing are very good.

Unknown said...

I'm from Webb Ms the town and the county itself has a beautiful and bloody history. I wish that it would and could be restored by to it's glorified days or Hay Days but ignorance controls it now

Unknown said...

I was raised in Webb. My mother and father owned Jennings Furniture which sit between the bank and Western Auto by the Maxwells. But back in the day when all businesses were open I can remember the streets were packed on Saturday night. That was some great times.