Reclaimed pine beams with a history of Blues
The unexpected history of reclaimed pine beams...
A recent journey to Greenwood, MS brought Richard Woods to the epicenter of the blues. His goal was to acquire reclaimed pine beam stock for his flooring business. What he ended up finding was a far more interesting story than the typical wood purchase. The building Woods inspected was located in a historic neighborhood in Greenwood, Mississippi. It is known for the infamous crossroads nearby the birthplace of Robert Johnson.
The area was known as Baptist Town. This neighborhood is rich in history dating back to the early 1800’s. Baptist Town was established by African American workers when life in the South revolved around cotton plantations, gins, and oil mills. The area quickly became popular for late night revelers after the bars of Greenwood closed. The after hours popularity gave birth to a strong blues base and a safe haven for musicians that wanted to escape the cotton fields.
Home of the Mississippi Blues
Some of these musicians became quite popular. Eventually, they became legends of the Blues music genre including Honeyboy Edwards, Tommy McClennan, Robert “Dr. Feelgood” Potts, and, probably the most famous, Robert Johnson. Baptist Town is said to be the final residence of Robert Johnson when he passed away in 1938 at the young age of 27.
A more recent famous resident is Morgan Freeman. Before the age of 10, Morgan Freeman lived in various cities including Baptist Town. In 2009, Baptist Town was added as a point on the Mississippi Blues Trail. The trail was a state wide series which highlights the important role that Mississippi played in the development of the famous Blues genre.
Woods was amazed at the unexpected back story of the town and the reclaimed pine beams. “Part of what I love about this job is the opportunity to learn the history of these places and buildings that I pull wood from. I feel by using the quality, antique building materials from these places , it allows the history to live on.”