Monday, May 12, 2008

MISS US 45; It Finally Has

US highway 45 has had three routes through Baldwyn. You probably only remember two. The highway once came through the heart of downtown and was what is now known as Second Street. It wound to the south across Twitchell Hill as the street now known as Sand Hill. Exiting town to the north it went by the high school and the brickyard area, across old North Bridge (remember moonlight nights there?) and twisting and turning, continued on to Booneville. Most of it was gravel surface past the town lines.

The first high school building built in 1929 on highway 45, now North Second Street, faced the highway looking east. That building burned in 1939 and by then the highway was to the west, so the building was rebuilt with the front to the west.

The second Street photo above is undated. It was made from atop the first water tower. Looking north, it appears that sidewalks have just been laid. The streets in town were paved in the mid to late '20s, but the asphalt residential streets were sometime later. The photo is from about 1927.

The newer highway was completed through Baldwyn in the middle '30s. Service stations sprang up nearby quickly. The Standard Station was built around 1936 by Mr. C. V. Grisham. Other owners were; Dr. Gene Caldwell, Richard Mauldin, Harold Burns, and Harliss Rutherford.
The Blue Top "Pure Oil" station was just to the north and was operated by Milton "Brownie" Coggins for many years. A Pan Am station and restaurant operated by Mr. Bingham was farther north just past the school. In later years the cafe was moved into an addition next door and operated by Mr. Bingham's daughter Christine.

To the south, the Sell-Rite service station was around for a number of years, as also was the Lee-Ann truck stop.

For many years, only one traffic light served the city of Baldwyn at Main and old 45. 50+ years later, by my count there are two, and one caution light at a four way stop near the Blue Bell building.

The signs once read: MISS US 45.

Now, many years later, it finally has missed us. It is about two miles west of downtown Baldwyn.


  1. The first traffic light that was installed was still in use in the late 1980's - a good investment.
    Where is the other light? At the new highway and ???

  2. I am drawing lots of blanks on photo at top of blog. Maybe honorees: Larry Johnson escorting Linda Johnson, Gene McCary escorting Edith Ann Gordon. This has to be class of 1956 function since all honorees except Linda were in that class. In stands: Mr and Mrs Sam Johnson (with glasses on 2nd row right of center), Billy Allen in 1st row right, Martha Fay Nichols 1st row left. Players: maybe Betty Smith, Rachel Christian, Peggy Pannel and Irene Cheatam. Rachel, Peggy and Irene would have been freshmen and their team went to State tourney when they were seniors. Irene was written up in area papers several years ago for still playing basketball at age 62. Anyone still have that article? She ended up in California and was very successful in the business world.

  3. Oh yes, Coach Jobe on right hand of bench. Don't remember him coaching girls, as we called them back then, but there he is - dapper as always.

  4. I'm familiar with Sand Hill street. We knew it as the road to J. B. Adams and his refreshment stand on top of Twitchell Hill. Roads weren't named back then as far as I know. Whoever lived on the roads had the road referenced about them.