NW Mississippi Blues Landmarks

Go to: Robinsonville | Tunica | Lula | Friars Point | Holly Springs | Helena, Ark | Links


Robinsonville is now a ghost town, thanks to the casinos of Tunica County. If you go west from the intersection of US 61 and MS 304, the first crossroad you encounter (with old US 61, naturally) will be Robinsonville (no matter what the casinos and tourist bureaus tell you). Robinsonville is important as the first home to Robert Johnson, and due to it being "abandoned," it hasn't been gentrified. All the original buildings are still standing, though many are burned out.

This is the office building for the Abbay & Leatherman plantation along Casino Blvd. Abbay & Leatherman was the actual childhood home to Robert Johnson.

Out yonder there is the remains of Commerce. Commerce was the plantation town for Abbay & Leatherman plantation. I could not find an access road back to there.


When you travel between Tunica and Memphis (either direction) along US 61 you are bombarded by billboards, maybe hundreds of them, enticing you to visit the casinos near Robinsonville, Tunica, and Lula. I know some people don't care for the flatness and lack of visual markers in the Delta, but this is just garish!
Along US 61 (SB) between Robinsonville and Tunica (Photo taken in January, 2006)

The Hotel Marie still exists, but the front here is now occupied by the local chamber of commerce (Photo from January, 2005)

Nice use of stucco and color selection here folks.

Through Rivergate Park, the clock tower and a side street you can see the Tunica courthouse. I got a chuckle from the usage of plastic streetsigns through Tunica.

Pure Oil is still in business?! This be Bainbridge Station. (All Tunica photos taken in January, 2005)


Lula is another ghost town near the intersection of US 61 and US 49 north of Clarksdale. Lula is the birthplace of Sam Carr. Lula also got songs written about it by Son House and Charley Patton back in the 1930s due to a drought.

I don't think that pink speed limit sign is standard fare in Mississippi (nor was it a photoshop creation by me). In downtown Lula.

2005 was not a good year for the Lula Lumber Company. (Photo taken in January, 2006)

Friars Point

Friars Point. Home to Conway Twitty and in previous times a hangout for blues musicians.

(Previous two photos) An interesting conglomeration of machinery in front of the North Delta Museum

Maybe this is the crossroad where Robert Johnson met the devil? Looks lonesome enough. (Along Ms 1 between US 49 and Friars Point, from January 2006)

Holly Springs

I took a photo of this building in June 1999 thinking it was Junior Kimbrough's Juke joint. I was wrong (and this was before it burned down).
Alas, I received an e-mail in June, 2006 telling me that this building is now Marshall's Disco and has a tie-in with David Kimbrough (either as part owner or regular performer). So I was only five or six years ahead of the curve with this photo. Located along MS 4, west of Holly Springs.

Helena, Arkansas

The old business district for Helena. Interestingly, the old through route in Helena (Business US 49) runs primarily through a residential area (with some shops).

The Delta Cultural Center, Part 1 (Educational Complex)
These three buildings actually house one part of the museum. The middle brick building contains the entrance and a gift shop. The building to the left, holds traveling/temporary exhibits pertaining to the Arkansas side of the Mississippi delta. The building to the right, holds the "Delta Sounds" display and the studio for the King Biscuit Time radio show.

Delta Cultural Center, Part 2 (Visitors' Center)
This restored train depot contains the Cultural Center's permanent display concerning the culture, heritage, and people of the Arkansas part of the Mississippi Delta (at least that is what the pamphlets for the Delta Cultural Center says)

Part of the Delta Levee Walk display of all the musicians who've called Arkansas home at some point in their life.

Other pages related to this collection

Memphis Blues Photos
Clarksdale Photos
Memphis Minnies' grave
Junior Kimbrough's grave

Unless noted otherwise, all photos on this page were taken in May, 2003

Page created on January 14, 2004/last updated on July 4, 2006

Questions, comments, and submissions can be sent to Sandor Gulyas

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