Tuesday, June 30, 2020

On the Dixie Overland Highway, Historic US 80 - Vicksburg area

R.H. Henry Bridge, Big Black River, Bovina, Mississippi (Fomapan 100 Classic film, Hasselblad 501CM camera, 50mm Distagon lens) 
In the previous article, I explored US 80 (formerly the Dixie Overland Highway) in west Jackson. Proceeding west, US 80 went through the town of Clinton and eventually to Vicksburg. It then crossed the Mississippi on the old Mississippi River bridge (now closed to traffic). Once Interstate 20 was built in the 1970s, part of 80 disappeared, and the route is no longer continuous west of Clinton. But from Edwards west, you can still drive on 80 as it crosses the Big Black River and cuts straight through the loess bluffs. Here are some photographs from US 80 east of Vicksburg.
Colored Motel, US 80 east of Mount Albans Road (expired Kodak Ektar 25 film, Hasselblad 501 CM camera, 50mm Distagon lens)
This is the former Colored Motel on US 80. In the 1980s, a sign above the building still showed the name, and somewhere I may have a Kodachrome slide. Regardless, the motel has been unused for 4 decades and the jungle is slowly engulfing the buildings. The pink paint on the stucco walls was rather cheerful and warranted some color frames.
Aluminum lady, somewhere on US80, Vicksburg (4×5" Tri-X film, 180 ƒ/5.6 Caltar IIN lens) 
The aluminum lady was so sweet. She was always impeccably dressed. She never objected to having her portrait taken. She was quiet. And then she went away without a word. I did not record the address in 1989 and do not know exactly where she stood, but I hope she proudly graces another home now. If any of you readers recognize her, please let me know.
Oops, minor problem, US 80 (Kodak Panatomic-X film, Hasselblad 501CM camera, 50mm ƒ/4 Distagon lens, yellow filter)
Just west of Mount Albans Road, the soil under part of the roadbed washed out during the January 2020 rains (rain fell for a solid month). As of May 2020, the MSDOT highway department is in the process of purchasing land and settling contracts for the repair.
Pinewood Motel, US 80, Vicksburg (Tri-X film, 180mm ƒ/5.6 Caltar IIN lens)
A short distance west, closer to Vicksburg, was the former Pinewood Motor Court. I took pictures there over the years and wrote a blog article about the Pinewood in 2019. Preservation Mississippi covered the Pinewood in a 2014 article. I included a 2006 photograph to remind you what the old motel looked like. As of early 2020, all the buildings have been demolished because the site may be used for a new Warren County jail.
No more pecans here, Hwy 80, Vicksburg (Panatomic-X film, Hasselblad 501CM, 50mm ƒ/4 Distagon lens)
A long-unused steel warehouse sat on the south side of the road adjacent to the Pinewood. At one time, it may have been a car repair shop as well as a pecan shed.
The junk pile was pretty trashy. A few friends like the pickup truck perched on top of a Honda.
Some abandoned houses/trailers are in the woods south of the road. Once the foliage comes out in spring, they are hard to see.
A driveway drops down into a gully and leads off to a house somewhere. I liked the old real pickup truck.
Shed off US 80 near Anderson Road, Vicksburg (Kodak Panatomic-X film, Hasselblad 501 CM camera, 80mm ƒ/2.8 Planar-CB lens, green filter)
Once you reach the junction of 80 and MS 27, the scene becomes totally boring strip America, with gas stations and cheesy strip malls. It is un-photogenic. From here, Clay Street leads downtown, but there is no real US 80 connection to the old Mississippi River Bridge any more.
We will close with a photograph of the old Mississippi River Bridge in 1993 during construction of the Ameristar Casino. The company had to install a serious amount of geotechnical protection to reinforce the bluff and stabilize the road leading down to the casino. By 1993, the old bridge was already closed to car traffic. It may, one day, become a walk and bike trail. I wrote about 80 in east Louisiana in an earlier article (click the link).

This ends out survey of US 80, the former Dixie Overland Highway. Thank you all for reading.


Suzassippi said...

This was an interesting trip--thanks for posting. Two questions: 1) do you think the aluminum lady could have been the metal statue "Alma" that a commenter mentioned on the 2014 Preservation in Mississippi post? and 2) Do you think the colored motel could have been Pillar's Motel, on 80 5 miles east of Vicksburg? It was listed on the Green Book from 1956-1961. I searched maps, but could never find a trace of anything in the area.

Kodachromeguy said...

Thanks for writing. As for the aluminum lady, when I photographed her, the arms were not in the right position to hold a tray. But the arms may have rotated in the sockets when someone moved her to the yard in front of the trailer.

As for Pillar's Motel, I looked at the 1955 Green Book on p.31 for the reference to the motel. 5 mi. east of Vicksburg would be about right, but I have no idea if the pink-colored wreck of the motel was once Pillar's.

Here is the Green Book from 1955:


Suzassippi said...

Thanks for the follow up. I just thought it odd that you had the photo of aluminum lady and someone mentioned it. I did not think she could hold a tray either, but waitresses were pretty adept. LOL. Once before you posted photos of the motel, and I wondered but forgot to ask you.

Unknown said...

Hi. You have a really unique way of capturing images that can vividly take a viewer back to moments in time. Years ago, I came across a photo you'd taken of old Bowman Alley before the houses were torn down and it immediately took me back to so many childhood memories. I grew up on Marshall St., right next to the Bowman street homes. So, most of my childhood friends lived there. I remember playing hide and seek under those homes. I haven't come across that photo again and believe me I've searched to show my mom. I can still remember that picture so vividly and it has been well over 10 years since I came across that photo.

Kodachromeguy said...

Thank you for your comment. I do have photographs of Bowman Alley, probably from about 1988 or 1989. Let me look for them. I recall most are Kodachrome slides. They will need scanning, which takes time. I can write a short post for late summer.