Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Mississippi Delta 27: Itta Bena

Itta Bena is a small agricultural town a few miles west of Greenwood, in the central Mississippi Delta. The railroad goes through the center of town and once likely served as the town's main source of prosperity by carrying agricultural products to Greenwood or other markets.
Former Ralph Lembo store, Humphreys Street, Itta Bena
Humphreys Street parallels the tracks on the north. You can tell this was once a prosperous commercial strip with one- and two-story brick commercial buildings. Now many are closed and unoccupied. Of interest to Blues fans, the little store at 114 Humphreys Street was operated by Ralph Lembo in the 1920’s and 1930’s. He brought in many now-famous blues musicians. As of March 2018, the store is boarded up.
Front Street is south of the railroad tracks. Here, too, most of the shops are closed, but the L&T Food Market was active.
My friend, who is a professor at the Mississippi Valley State University just north of town, showed me a small building he called the Blue Store. I love the outside seating.

Photographs taken on Kodak TMax 100 film with a Pentax Spotmatic camera (1971-vintage). The light was harsh and glarey, difficult for architectural work. I scanned the negatives with a Plustek film scanner operated with SilverFast Ai software.

July 2018 update: Suzassippi wrote about the Lembo store in Preservation Mississippi.

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