2022 Road Trip-Part 4

14 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 4 (5/19/2022)

This morning after breakfast I drove over to check out Landrum’s Homestead & Village located there in Laurel, MS.  It was early and this living history museum was closed, but their website informs me that the museum is a replica of an 1800s southern Mississippi settlement with historically accurate buildings, such as a general store, smokehouse, trading post, schoolhouse, blacksmith shop, chapel, and Indian village.  The museum also hosts several family-based events throughout the year to celebrate several holidays.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Not far from the Landrum’s Homestead Village I visited the Veterans Memorial Museum located in downtown Laurel.  This museum is home to a huge assortment of military artifacts and memorabilia, dating from the Civil War, that reflect the stories, deeds, and sacrifices of our courageous men and women from all branches of U.S. military service.  The museum also hosts special events, throughout the year, such as the recent “Rolling Thunder 3” (June 11, 2022) which honored those veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Then I headed north 55 miles on I-59 to visit the Key Brothers Aviation Exhibit located in the Meridian Regional Airport terminal at Key Field in Meridian, MS.  Key Field takes its name from Al & Fred Key who broke the standing flight endurance record of 23 days.  From June 4 to July 1, 1935 the Key brothers flew over Meridian for a total of 27 days (using some of the earliest refueling methods known at the time-bucket and hose) to help put Meridian on the map during the Great Depression. 

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I drove into downtown Meridian where I wanted to visit the Jimmie Rogers Museum, but it was closed.  I was disappointed to miss that museum as Jimmie Rogers, known as “The King of Western Music” has been one of my favorite western singers ever since I was a teenager.  Bummer!  

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

A few blocks away, I visited the Meridian Railroad Museum.  This museum is located in the old restored 1906 Union Station depot and displays many antique railroad artifacts and memorabilia.  The museum also has a model railroad layout depicting early Meridian, as well as several pieces of rolling stock, which includes a 1917 Baldwin Steam locomotive in the process of being restored.  Amtrak still uses a portion of the station on a daily basis.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

One of the Railroad Museum curators had told me how Mr. George W. Soule (1849-1922), an entrepreneur and inventor, had built the Soule Foundry & Museum across the street and that I should check it out.  The museum was closed but many indications around the area said that she was right.  I saw this historical marker in the Depot Park near the Soule Museum.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

My last stop there In Meridian was to visit the Antique Dentzel Carousel located in the Highland Park area.  This original carousel building is the centerpiece of the park which opened in 1906.  The carousel was built by Gustov Dentzel of Philadelphia, PA in 1896 for the 1904 St. Louis Exposition, and was later sold to the city of Meridian.  The carousel figures were hand-carved from poplar and basswood, and hand-painted with oils to match the carousel’s canopy and surrounding building walls.  An amazingly beautiful piece of machinery.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Next, I continued north on SR-39 about 30 miles to visit the Sciple’s Water Mill located in De Kalb, MS.  It wasn’t easy to fine the place in that rural part of Kemper County Mississippi, but Greta (My Garmin) finally found it.  I wasn’t sure if the building was going to continue to stand long enough for me to take a photo.  Built in the early 1800s by the Sciple family, this water mill has been in continuous operation all these years and still provides ground corn meal and whole-wheat flower for local residents.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 65 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

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