The movie, The Help, was filmed in a few Mississippi cities, including Greenwood. Fans of the movie will surely recognize this beautiful farm house that was used for the exterior shots of Skeeter’s house in the film. The farm house is Whittington Farm, located at 7300 County Road 518 (Money Road) in Greenwood, MS. If you ever have a hankerin’ to see it, the owner welcomes visitors to explore the grounds. There’s even a sign on the main gate that invites visitors to “help” themselves to a visit on the grounds. It’s a lovely place and the owner is more than kind to allow visitors. There were a few in the driveway when I arrived early on a Saturday morning. Just a reminder of the hospitality that you’ll only understand and experience when you explore the South. And if you plan to visit, The City of Greenwood has a handy driving tour map that will guide you to the filming locations in town.
A mother will do anything to protect her child, even beyond this life. This is the grave of Florence Irene Ford in Natchez City Cemetery. Florence died when she was 10. Yellow fever took her from her family. During her life she was extremely frightened of storms. Whenever one occurred she would rush to her mother to find comfort. Upon her death her mother was so struck with grief that she had Florence’s casket constructed with a glass window at the child’s head. The grave was dug to provide an area, the same depth of the coffin, at the child’s head, but this area had steps that would allow the mother to descend to her daughter’s level so she could comfort Florence during storms. To shelter the mother during storms, hinged metal trap doors were installed over the area the mother would occupy while at her child’s grave. In the mid 1950s a concrete wall was erected at the bottom of the stairway covering the glass window of Florence’s coffin to prevent vandalism. This photo shows the grave and you can see the trap doors, which cover the stairway her mother used.
Notice the pennies on the headstone? There are many reasons people leave coins on graves but it is generally meant to be a sign that the life lost had value and meaning and will never be forgotten.
Visiting Rodney, Mississippi takes some patience and intention. If you get there, you were headed there. The drive involves back roads and some dirt roads and once you arrive you have no cell service. But once you see this old place and the architectural treasures and historic sites here, it’s worth the bumpy roads! There are two old churches here including Old Rodney Presbyterian Church that holds a unique connection to the Civil War.
When I was standing in front of the church taking photos I heard a fellow visitor ask a friend “Why on earth would someone attack a church?” He was responding to someone’s mention of Confederate troops shooting in Old Rodney Presbyterian Church. It really happened. The reverend of this church invited crew members of the Union’s USS Rattler to join the church service on Sunday, September 13, 1863. After all, there was a Sunday truce in place and the reverend believed he was doing the right thing. Confederate scouts heard there were Union troops in the church and showed up at the door to demand they leave. When the troops refused to leave, the Confederates starting shooting into the church. Retaliation from the Union followed soon after when they fired a cannonball at the church and damaged the front. And that cannon ball is still in the church. You can see it above the window in the photo below.
Rodney is one of those places where you feel like time stood still. And you can clearly hear and see history here because there are few distractions and little noise to cover up the story of what happened here. If you plan a trip to Rodney, do not rely on your GPS. Look up directions and screen shot them like I did. Or follow the basic direction below. You may need a back up because at some point your phone will not have service.
From US 61 go west on 552 towards Alcorn. Turn left on Fellowship Rd (it’s a big hill) and then take Firetower Rd to Rodney Rd on right. Go 10 mi., Rodney Rd is paved until near Rodney.
If you’re up for a road trip that truly takes you down some beautiful back roads in Mississippi, have I got the road trip for you!
The moment you walk into St. Joseph Catholic Church in Port Gibson, Mississippi, you fall silent and you’re struck by a kind of purple haze. The light shining throughout is courtesy of the cobalt blue stained-glass windows. Vivid and beautiful! The church was built in 1849 and is one of the oldest Catholic churches in the state of Mississippi.
If you love churches and architecture, stop by 909 Church Street, off Hwy 61, in Port Gibson for a visit.
Just north of Vicksburg, Mississippi, off Hwy 61, you’ll find the ruins of man’s expression of love for his wife, Margaret. It’s still known as Margaret’s Grocery. Margaret’s first husband was shot dead in the market during a robbery in the 1970s. Five years later she met and married Reverend H.D. Dennis who promised her that he would make a castle out of her grocery store if she married him. They transformed the store into a folk art ministry, including a school bus retrofitted into a chapel. The Reverend and Margaret have passed away and since their deaths the store has fallen into disrepair.