Sincerely, Woodville: Southern form and function thrive in this main street jewel.
I love a good surprise--for my boat of conventional wisdom to be delightfully rocked by a place and its people. Like many small Southern towns, Woodville boasts distinctions ranging from the extraordinary to the picayune Picayune (pĭkəyn`), city (1990 pop. 10,633), Pearl River co., S Miss., near the Pearl River and the La. line; inc. 1904. . To find this hamlet, you will probably drive from the east, north, or south, and when you do, you will have just come across the only lighted intersection on Highway 61 for many miles.
The surprise is that Woodville, while comely come·ly
adj. come·li·er, come·li·est
1. Pleasing and wholesome in appearance; attractive. See Synonyms at beautiful.
2. Suitable; seemly: comely behavior. and sophisticated in many ways, is still a secret to many, even Mississippians. Tucked away in one of the state's oldest settled areas and the only one settled from west to east, the seat of Wilkinson County Wilkinson County is the name of several counties in the United States:
Arguably, a place is only as interesting as its people, and Ernesto Caldeira, a prime mover prime mover: see energy, sources of.
The component of a power plant that transforms energy from the thermal or the pressure form to the mechanical form. behind the Woodville Civic Club, loves to remind people that Woodville has been birthplace or home to many folks who have played on the national and international stages, from politics and business to music and literature. For a town of about 1,200 residents--a statistic that hasn't changed for much of its 200-year history--Woodville claims a world-renowned classical composer, a world-famous statesman, a jazz trailblazer, the first Mississippi lieutenant governor lieutenant governor
n. Abbr. Lt. Gov.
1. An elected official ranking just below the governor of a state in the United States.
2. The nonelective chief of government of a Canadian province. , and a civil rights-era writer.
And though Woodville's current roster is a less famous one, that does not make it any less interesting.
To begin the Woodville experience, "because," as Caldeira wisely notes, "it should be experienced and not simply seen," there is a self-guided tour A self-guided tour is where one navigates a route themselves as opposed to an escorted tours where a tour guide person directs the route, times, information, and places toured. Many self-guided tours come with suggestions, maps, instructions, directions, and items to see or do. map available at town hall or at the Wilkinson County Museum. There are a whopping 240 sites on the National Historical Register, most of which are within one square mile of Woodville proper. It is conceivable to visit all of them in one day, but no one expects this. Everyone has their favorite house and story, and a visit to Woodville is often composed of such meetings and local opinion. Wilkinson County native Lynda Senko suggests that for those requiring guidance, "all you have to do is stand around and look lost and someone will inevitably help you." For those not bent on Adj. 1. bent on - fixed in your purpose; "bent on going to the theater"; "dead set against intervening"; "out to win every event"
bent, dead set, out to helplessness, Senko urges anyone to pay a visit to Mabel Clark, a wealth of information who can be found most days at the Wilkinson County and African-American museums.
Woodville's new "Main Street USA" status--for which officials diligently worked for two years--has bolstered its brick and mortar See bricks and mortar. boom, attracting more people to Woodville. A couple of years ago, native daughter Amy Foster "Amy Foster" is a short story by Joseph Conrad written in 1901. It was first published in the Illustrated London News (December 1901), and was collected in Typhoon and Other Stories (1903). Overbey was working as an attorney in Houston when she had a middle-of-the-night epiphany. "God slapped me on the head and said, 'Go home!'" she laughs. Overbey has been back in Woodville for over a year, passed the state bar exam Noun 1. bar exam - an examination conducted at regular intervals to determine whether a candidate is qualified to practice law in a given jurisdiction; "applicants may qualify to take the New York bar examination by graduating from an approved law school"; "he passed , hung out her shingle, and has never looked back. "I'm discovering things now that I ignored as a teenager. Naturalists are in hog heaven hog heaven
A state of utter bliss or contentment: She's in hog heaven over her new sports car. here--there's fishing, hiking, birding. And L & M's gooey See GUI. bar is worth a trip or even moving to Woodville for," she says without a hint of hyperbole.
Woodvillians are a busy, enthusiastic community. Karen and husband Curtis Vidrine moved to Woodville seven years ago with the hope of semi-retiring. "But," says the full-time teacher and co-owner of the Carnot Posey Carnot Posey (August 5, 1818 – November 13, 1863) was a Mississippi planter and lawyer, and a Confederate general in the American Civil War. He was mortally wounded at the Battle of Bristoe Station, dying from infection. House Bed and Breakfast, "we're busier than ever before with social engagements and community life ... which is really why we came to Woodville in the first place--for the sense of community, of being connected. It's good for the soul." In her semi-retirement, Karen is involved with the Main Street Association, which is already planning its Barbecue, Blues, and Bluegrass bluegrass, any species of the large and widely distributed genus Poa, chiefly range and pasture grasses of economic importance in temperate and cool regions. In general, bluegrasses are perennial with fine-leaved foliage that is bluish green in some species. Festival for November 2005. "Put it on your calendar," she says. "The barbecue winner goes to Memphis for the cook-off."
The hub of Woodville activity centers on Courthouse Square Courthouse Square is a backlot located at Universal Studios. The set is composed of several facades that form an archetypal American town square with a courthouse as its centerpiece. . There are no empty spaces in the Main Street Market antiques mall downtown anymore, and on the square itself, where two stunning live oaks hold quiet court, are Friday night auctions and a range of events, including the community marketplace, with artisans, food, and music, held the second weekend of every month. The square is also a great spot to plan your Woodville day over a sandwich. "You don't find many downtown squares anymore," laments Wettlin Treppendahl, whose grocery store still custom-cuts meats. "Umpteen years ago, we made National Geographic as one of the least progressive cities in America. Perhaps because of that, we've got our architecture intact, and our courthouse square is hip again."
On the periphery of Courthouse Square, housed in the old 1819 bank building, is the African-American Museum, highlighting the accomplishments of prominent black Woodvillians. Ernesto Caldeira enthusiastically speaks of William Grant Still William Grant Still (May 11,1895 - December 3,1978) was an African-American classical composer who wrote more than 150 compositions. He was the first African-American to conduct a major American symphony orchestra, the first to have a symphony of his own (his first symphony) , the first black conductor to lead a major American orchestra. The Wilkinson County Museum, in the old railroad building, is home to Salisbury Plantation's china collection and, currently, a Eudora Welty Noun 1. Eudora Welty - United States writer about rural southern life (1909-2001)
Welty exhibit. When asked of the author's connection to Woodville, David Smith, a man with many a Woodville interest whose family reaches far back into its history, smiles and replies, "There is none. She's just a great Mississippian!"
Everyone has their own favorite things to do in Woodville--and for Woodvillians, those include things like renovating old Woodville houses--but most residents conclude that a visit to Woodville should include all of the intact early 19th-century churches, the old Jewish cemetery Old Jewish Cemetery can refer to:
"Don't know the trade." A Street expression used whenever one party lacks knowledge of a trade or receives conflicting instructions from the other party. , we know someone who does." Miss Mabel suggests that every visitor take a nap under the warm and loving limbs of the Jefferson Davis oak tree (already listed as "large" when Woodville was incorporated in 1802) at Courthouse Square.
Another site not to be missed (and one of the few homes open for tours) is Rosemont Plantation, a mile outside of downtown. Percival Beacroft, who accidentally fell in love with Jefferson Davis' family home on a detour from New York City New York City: see New York, city.
New York City
City (pop., 2000: 8,008,278), southeastern New York, at the mouth of the Hudson River. The largest city in the U.S. in the early 1970s, says it was "Woodville's genteel ties to the old South, refinement of character, and taste" that charmed him. He promptly restored the home and an important part of Woodville history. Heed the sign at Rosemont encouraging you to "Please Slow Down, You're Entering the 19th Century."
In an age of bland encroachment upon the colorful towns that shape much of the Southern tapestry, Woodville has eluded that demon and experienced something of a rebirth in the sense that it hasn't changed all that much. Places all over the country are trying desperately to achieve what Woodville has quietly, naturally done for years: instill in·still
To pour in drop by drop.
instil·lation n. community. Karen Vidrine says it has something to do with "overcoming our fears of differences and coming together as one community."
Woodvillians are generous and warm and love the attention they're getting, but, as Lynda Senko politely stresses, "We're a working community; people live here. We're not interested in just being cute." David Smith concurs. "Visitors are going to see a real town. People are genuinely open and hospitable, yet we have our own way of doing things. Here you'll get a good sense of both south Louisiana and Mississippi cultures."
One suspects that Woodville--only as strong and independent as its people-will continue being Woodville, that it is in no danger of becoming Disneyland or cookie-cutter. This is a place where supply meets demand. Where Treppendahl's wasabi-covered dried peas meet smoked meat For the general process, see .
Smoked meat is a method of preparing fish and meat which originates in prehistory. Its purpose is to preserve these protein rich foods, which would otherwise spoil quickly, for long periods of possibly lean times. at the Texaco station.
For visitors, it is a glimpse of the nearly impossible mix of both a working town and the palpable feeling of sweet progress on its own terms. "Our doors are open, but we want to continue to be a town, " says Lynda Senko. And after giving of her time generously, she excuses herself and goes back to living in Woodville.
what's up in woodville
WHAT TO DO
African-American Museum Open by appointment. Courthouse Square. 601/888-3998
Rosemont Plantation Miss Jenny Miss Jenny (1780s) was a female spy in the American Revolutionary War on the side of the British loyalists.
Miss Jenny, a French-speaking woman, inflitrated the French troops who were fighting on the American side and reported the movements of French and American troops to will show you around Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Hwy. 24 (1 mile west of Woodville). 601/888-3327
Wilkinson County Museum Open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-noon and 2-4 p.m.; weekends by appointment. Courthouse Square. 601/888-3998
Clark's Creek Natural Area A beautiful forested 700-acre park with gentle creeks, a wide variety of plants and animals Plants and Animals are a Canadian indie-rock band from Montreal, comprised of guitarist-vocalists Warren Spicer and Nic Basque, and drummer-vocalist Matthew Woodley. They are signed to Secret City Records. , and several waterfalls. There is ample hiking and bird watching Bird Watching is a British magazine for birders. The current editor is Kevin Wilmot. External Links
Pond Store 182 Fort Adams-Pond Rd., Pond community. 601/888-4426 (also call to inquire about cabins)
what's up in Woodville
WHERE TO SHOP
Canova's City Drug Store Gift items. 616 Main St. 601/888-3333
Main Street Market Antiques, art, market cafe, and local specialty foods. 613 Main St. 601/888-7830
Planter's Hardware An old-time general hardware store with sporting goods Noun 1. sporting goods - sports equipment sold as a commodity
commodity, trade good, good - articles of commerce
sports equipment - equipment needed to participate in a particular sport , gifts, appliances. 651 Main St. 601/888-3121
Rosemary's Florist and gift shop. 513 Commercial Row. 601/888-6297
Showroom Antiques 388 Hwy. 61 N. 601/888-7868
Town Square Accents Upscale gift shop. 155 Boston Row. 601/888-9918
Treppendahl's Super Foods A good deli, beautiful cakes, and fine fresh produce. 130 Hwy. 61 S. 601/888-4671
Withers' Florist, Frame, and Gifts 525 Commercial Row. 601/888-3476
WHERE TO DINE
Charles Whetstone's Three-Way Seafood Texaco Station Back Porch Lines form for "the best fried catfish you ever put in your mouth." Highway 61. 601/888-6692
The Cohen House Restaurant
Country cooking and al fresco dining at one of the oldest houses in town. 424 Main St. 601/888-4121
L & M Bakery Home of the Original Hazel Burger and gooey bars. 121 Boston Row. 601/888-3600
Market Street Cafe Salads, sandwiches, and soups for lunch inside the Main Street Market. 613 Main St. 601/888-7830
WHERE TO STAY
Carnot Posey House Bed & Breakfast The circa 1845 home of Confederate General Carnot Posey. 417 Church St. 877/810-9489; carnotposey.homestead.com
Nana's Guest House A 1915 bungalow on the National Register. 428 Hwy. 61. 601/888-4808
Barbecue, Blues, and Bluegrass Festival Usually first weekend in November. Call 601/888-3998 for details.
Community Marketplace, or Second Saturday Market on the Square Held on the second Saturday (go figure) of every month, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Courthouse Square.
Flea Market Days Local art, food, crafts on the second Saturday and Sunday of each month. Showroom Antiques, 368 Hwy. 61. 601/888-7868
Monthly Antiques Auctions Friday nights on Courthouse Square. Call 601/888-7868 for dates.