This week we are going to Hazlehurst, Mississippi, the birthplace of Robert Johnson…the King of the Delta Blues Singers. Unlikely but amusing legends say Robert made a deal with the devil at the crossroads of Highways 49 and 61, which resulted in his mastery of the guitar and the blues. Unfortunately for the world, any deal made did not prolong Johnson’s very short life, as he died at the age of 27.
Hazlehurst is a city just south of Jackson that was founded on slave-labor agriculture that exploded in size in the years leading up to the Civil War when the first railroad linking Chicago with New Orleans was built going through town in 1865. The confederacy came and went (although probably not as much as northerners think) but the railroad lives on. A century after the railroad was built, Hazlehurst once again became a place of political importance when violence against blacks in the area led the armed Deacons For Defense and Justice to establish centers there, in order to provide physical protection for protestors working with the NAACP. Another claim to fame for Hazlehurst is that it is the hometown of Beth Henley, award-winning play-writer whose play “Crimes of the Heart” was set in Hazlehurst and won both the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best American Play in 1981.
I’m not gonna lie…other than our House of the Week there’s not a lot to bring a person to Hazlehurst now, except that it’s a short commute to Jackson. Listed at $339,000, it’s certainly a niche property.
Built circa 1860, this cute as a button house is on the National Register of Historic Places. One of the reasons it caught my eye is that while it’s a 2-level Greek Revival, it’s like a Victorian cottage from the front. But don’t be fooled by it’s looks…it sports 6 bedrooms and 2.5 baths. Owned by the descendants of the same family that custom-built it until it was bought by the current owners who updated it, it sits on 6.5 level acres with gardens, a pecan grove, fishing pond, pool, patio, garage, pole barn, covered shed, walking trails and best of all…NO NEIGHBORS IN SIGHT. Ya’ll. Inside there are 6 working fireplaces, a game room, a library, and tons of historic touches. I will admit that the layout is a little funky, but I ask you to look past that and see the original heart pine floors, lovely moldings, beautiful grounds and charming front balcony.
Congratulations on earning The Taste Maven Stamp of Approval, you cute ol’ house!