Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thank you for your patience...

...to anyone who has been awaiting an update to our blog!

Regarding our next meeting, Society President Susie Dent has emailed the following notice:

"The next meeting of the Northeast Mississippi Historical and Genealogical Society will be at 6 p.m. Thursday, December 11, 2008 at the Lee County Library, Tupelo, MS. Storyteller and comedian Patsy "Aunt Patsy" Wilson will provide the program which promises to provide a lot of entertainment and laughter. Attendees are invited to bring holiday finger foods to share. There will not be a meeting in November due to the Thanksgiving holiday. "


In other news, the _Tupelo Area Picture Postcards_ book has been published and is available for purchase at five locations: Reed’s Bookstore, LCL Friends gift shop, Village Green Bookstore, Oren Dunn Museum, and Miss Ruth’s Diner in Verona. This book would make an EXCELLENT gift for the historian in the family!

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal ran the following article on November 17, 2008.

LOCAL FOLKS:Wish You Were Here
11/17/2008 6:44:09 AM
Daily Journal
Daily Journal

TUPELO - There's no going back to the way things used to be, but a team of amateur historians have put together a postcard from the past.

Actually, they've collected more than 100 postcards that show Main Street before it was paved, Tupelo Hospital before it was torn down and other scenes straight out of time.

"All we wanted to do was go back and give a history of this area," said Bill Lyle, 80, a Tupelo native. "How many people would know some of this stuff if we didn't have these postcards?"

The project began years ago, but it heated up this year. Lyle, "Mem" Leake, Boyd Yarbrough, Julian Riley and David Baker have borrowed postcards that were created between 1907 and 1955.

"We knew a lot of the collectors," Lyle said.

"We also asked around," 80-year-old Leake added. "One would tell about another, word of mouth."

The team converted the old postcards into computer files, created captions and arranged to publish their work.

The result is "Tupelo Area Picture Postcards," and it's available for $39.95 at Reed's Gum Tree Bookstore, Village Green, Oren Dunn City Museum and the Lee County Library gift shop, all in Tupelo, and Mrs. Ruth's Diner in Verona. Proceeds will benefit the Dunn museum and the Northeast Mississippi Historical and Genealogical Society.

"This book is a picture postcard view of Tupelo," Leake said. "It's a different slant for most people."

Looking back

The 120 cards may change the way residents look at the familiar town of Tupelo. Consider the Confederate monument that's located on the Lee County Courthouse grounds. Several of the postcards from the 1920s show a different location.

"It was at the intersection of Broadway and Main streets, and there was a goldfish pond around it" Lyle said.

"One of the reasons it was moved was because of increased traffic," Leake said. "That was when, Bill?"

"1936," Lyle replied.

A postcard from 1907 shows wagons filled with cotton rolling down an unpaved Main Street, and you'll notice the Pound-Kincannon-Elkin Drug Store at the corner of Spring and Main streets.

An undated card shows the old Tupelo Hospital. The caption explains that before 1920 the building had been a YMCA and featured a swimming pool in its basement.

"Growing up in Tupelo, we had heard a lot of these stories for years," Lyle said, noting the fact that he and Leake were both 80 years old. "Some of it was new to us."

Getting the facts

In creating captions for the book, the team pulled information from the cards, performed research at the library and relied on their memories.

"That's a disclaimer," Lyle said. "I hope people will come back if they know something and tell us."

If a postcard featured a car in it, Allen McDaniel, curator of the Tupelo Automobile Museum, shared his expertise.

"He helped us date some of them," Leake said. "If he knew a car was from 1939, it gave us a range."

"We used circa' quite a bit," Lyle said. " There's no way to track them all down definitely.

"The book features churches, government buildings, private residences and more, but it's far from a complete view of Tupelo's past. For one thing, the team has almost enough postcards to put together another book.

"If anybody else has postcards, we would appreciate their letting us know," Lyle said. "We hope to have another volume eventually."

Contact M. Scott Morris at (662) 678-1589 or
Appeared originally in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, 11/17/2008, section A, page 1

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