Route 662: Roadside Mississippi Challenge

I am here to urge every 662 traveler to take the “Roadside Mississippi Challenge,” a test of one’s observational skills and one’s ability to find a visual richness, where others see a mundane and uninteresting world. Find almost any small town in northern Mississippi and explore it thoroughly.

Take Brooksville, for instance. One could speed down US 45, the concrete ribbon traversing the Black Prairie lands of Lowndes and Noxubee counties. You could ignore this wide spot in the road, but you’d miss some delightful experiences unique to this particular place.

Many will attest to the value of a visit to the Mennonite bakery there, Ole Country, a must for those wanting a fresh pastry or excellent bread. But how many notice the table of women wearing their traditional “kapps” and indicating a presence of a very special faithful community in the area? The small coffee shop and sandwich counter there provide as good of offerings as you could find in any larger city.

But that’s easy. With a little more effort, you can look behind the cluster of common-looking buildings along US 45 and you can see the decaying ruins of the old Brooksville school. A truly unusual bit of WPA-era Art Moderne architecture from the 1940s, its then-revolutionary concrete construction is the probable reason this structure can still be seen struggling against Mother Nature, who is obviously offended by this man-made intrusion into the bucolic grassland landscape.

But small towns can contain many other hidden treasures awaiting the discovery by the roadside challenger. A drive off of US 45 (itself a historic item, as the first paved highway in the South) into the town, which sits off to the West, is an experience, too.

A picture-perfect charming church…







A forlorn confederate statue that political correctness has left behind…








and at least one front yard full of those special tire garden sculptures, a Felder Rushing dream come true…


















Note: the clock tells the actual time only twice a day. (Sorry – such an old joke.)

Not one to reveal the entire palette of Southern charms to be found, I will leave the challenger to discover more in this small town. For instance, after a short jaunt out of town, one might find a giant concrete chicken or see, if you are lucky, a beautiful wild turkey in the fields.

I hope readers will be inspired to look at their surroundings, as they travel the highways and byways and find the joy of discovery in the small but unusual things to be found in even the smallest of towns.