Scenic USA - Mississippi

Birthplace of the Blues

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Birthplace of the Blues -  Tutwiler, Mississippi

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

     Running north and south through the Mississippi Delta, U.S. Route 49 cuts a path about halfway between I-55 and the Mississippi River. Here at Tutwiler, the highway splits into eastern and western routes, rejoining about 80 miles south at Yazoo City. At the start of the 20th century, the Yazoo and and Mississippi Valley Railroad was expanding northward. Tutwiler was placed on the map with a two-story railroad depot. Named for the railroad's civil engineer Tom Tutwiler in 1899, the town was incorporated by 1905. Here at the new Tutwiler depot, W.C. Handy listened to the weirdest music he ever heard. It's believed that local Henry Sloan was playing the slide guitar with a knife and singing about goin where the Southern cross' the Dog. Lake Cypress - Tutwiler, Mississippi Today you'll find a Mississippi Blues Trail sign marking the spot where the blues was born in 1903.
     Other than a modern highway and automobiles, the broad Delta in this view appears pretty much the same as it was a hundred years ago. The rich earth is covered in cropland as far as the eye can see. The Mississippi Delta is sprinkled with freshwater lakes and accompanying cypress trees, faint echoes of old bluesmen ... and the Mississippi Delta Railroad still follows the old rail route. Along with freight service over the Delta, visitors may also follow the hundred year old line on an excursion train from Clarksdale.

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