If there is any place in Mississippi that is more
blue than Clarksdale, I have
yet to visit it. There is more blues landmarks within Clarksdale
than anywhere outside Memphis and Chicago. Below are some of what
one can find here.
How much more blue can you get than John Lee Hooker
Ln intersecting with Blues Alley. This is located to the left
of the Delta Blues Museum...
Chronology of the Delta
Myrtle Hall, located on State St (old US 61/49), just
to east of the crossroads monument, original home to the Museum
taken in June, 2005)
Carnegie Library, located on 114 Delta Ave (up on the
north side of the Business District), home to the Museum from
- First time I visited the Delta Blues Museum, in June,1999, it
was still located here)
Back when the Delta Blues Museum was still on Delta
Ave, someone had an idea to create an Blues Alley Walk of Fame.
As far as I know, only one band got mentioned this way.....ZZ
Top (blues purists can stop snickering anytime now). I took this
photo in June, 1999, I did not see any additions to the Walk of
Fame at The Blues Depot, nor here when I last visited in June,
The current home for the Delta Blues Museum since 1999.
Now located at the old Clarksdale Depot, they have been looking
for funding to refurbish Muddy Waters' old Stovall Plantation
home/shack and have it outside (nearby) for everyone to see. (Photo
taken in May, 2003)
(It should be noted that Muddy's
childhood home is setting inside the museum, and has long since
been taken off the "House of Blues" tour)
Ground Zero Blues Club
Front entrance. This building was once a cotton store
(owned by the Stovall family?). The owners (lawyer Bill Luckett
and actor Morgan Freeman) have purposely kept the front looking
"rundown" for an authentic juke joint appearance.
Side of the building. Some old ad paint around in places.
The interior of Ground Zero. Christmas lights and exposed
beams have historically been part of juke joints (because their
owners were historically poor and would use whatever they could
find...on the cheap) and has been incorporated here.
That's Morgan Freeman (back to me) dancing to Super
Chikan (a favorite performer of mine) with his homemade guitar
(cigar box, axe handle, and various wires) on stage with his band.
The club can afford to bring in regional acts on a regular basis.
(All Ground Zero photos here taken in June, 2005)
Over on Issaquena, is this historical marker for W.C.
Handy, who evidently lived in Clarksdale for several years. The
home has long since been torn down.
The Greyhound station that many blacks used to leave
town (if they couldn't catch a train). After all their rehab work,
Greyhound Buslines announced during the summer of 2005 that they
will cease service in Clarksdale (and many other small towns along
US 61) this year to help Greyhound save money.
that this is the Delta, Clarksdale made lemonade from lemons and
changed the bus station into a visitor greeting station (with
plenty of parking for buses) (Photo taken in January, 2005)
While the contrast in this photo is lousy, the three
musicians shown here have ties to Clarksdale. Name them and their
significance to Clarksdale.
And this mural is located
on the side of Carmen's Pawn shop at the corner of Sunflower and
Besides the significance of the Hopson family to Clarksdale
(besides this building, if you look at the top) this was home
to WROX AM from 1946-53. The significance of WROX is that it was
the first station to employ a black DJ (Early Wright) to spin
blues records over the airwaves. $ While
the modern version of WROX is off the air, John Fewkes and Bubba
O'Keefe maintain this site as a museum
Way back in the day, one could see the itinerary black
musician playing on a curb or in front of a store for tips. In
this modern instance, it was a white male playing an acoustic
guitar in front of this shop on Yazoo Ave (Jimbo Mathus?). Photo
taken in January, 2005.
The second most famous blues landmark in Clarksdale,
The Riverside Hotel. Most noted as being a hospital in a former
life and where Bessie Smith passed away due to injuries from a
car crash, north of Clarksdale along US 61 in 1938. The room where
Bessie stayed is now full of mementos about her. $
If the Riverside Hotel is #2, then the "Crossroads"
The casual blues fan wants to believe that
the "Crossroads" is US 61 & 49. Well, they ain't
a crossing, but a merging. And a "Y" isn't a "X."
However, the city fathers of Clarksdale knew a good thing when
they saw one. So I don't blame them for trying to promote the
intersection of US 61 and 49 (now Old US 61 & Old US 49 with
the completion of the Clarksdale bypass in the summer of 2003)
as the "Crossroads" (see photos below)...
Since I didn't address this above, the reason all blues
fans look for the "Crossroads" is due to in part to
the legend of Robert Johnson. His most famous song was...Crossroad
Blues. And if you read up on the history of Robert Johnson you
can see there is even more reason to find the "Crossroads."
However, I am one of those who subscribe to the theory
that the southside of Clarksdale does not contain the "Crossroads."
Maybe the "Crossroads" is further south near Hopson
Speaking of which....
is located several miles south of Clarksdale, just off of US 49.
Historically, Hopson is noted for having the first mechanically
harvested cotton crop back in 1941 (Significance: They needed
less black labor, thus the black exodus to the "North"
started in mass). Of recent vintage, the current owner decided
to refurbish some of the barns and tenet building and turn this
into a ballroom and motel (for lack of a better word) called the
Shack Up Inn.
Back at US 49 and Hopson-Pixley Rd, is this historical
placard concerning the techniclogical advances to farming made
at Hopson Plantation.
My not so great close up on the marker.
$ - Source is Steve Cheseborough's
- Source is Robert Birdsong and John Ruskey (The Path Finder map)
Other pages on this site related to this page.
Clarksdale New World (Black) District
Helena Ark, Lula & Robinsonville
Central Delta Photos
Muddy Waters' home
Sonny Boy Wiliamson's grave
Sunflower River Blues
and Gospel Festival
Delta Blues Education Program
Page created on August 17, 2005/ last updated on July 4,
Questions, comments, and submissions can be sent to Sandor
Return to the Key to the Highway