Historical Society’s new postcard book features scenes from the past

12/30/2009

Postcard publication shows history of New Albany, other communities

By Jill Smith
Penny postcards are a common denominator in the history of every community. They help tell the history through the photographs they carry and the sentiments expressed in the messages.

Three communities have partnered in a new publication “Picture Postcards of Tippah and Union Counties.“ The communities involved are New Albany, Blue Mountain and Ripley.

The books are available at the Union County Heritage Museum Gift Shop in New Albany as well as locations in Blue Mountain and Ripley. Inside its pages one can find an image of the first Hotel Rainey, scenes from Springdale lakes, the early churches with tall steeples and white clapboard walls.

Streets in New Albany are pictured when they were still dirt and mud. The early banking industry from those days is also represented as well with a variety of postcard images. Each card has a short history when the information is available.

Industry is represented through the first garment plant and the first furniture plant in New Albany built by the famous millionaire Paul Rainey. The laying of the cornerstone of the Union County Courthouse, as well as other courthouse images is in the book.

One card depicts the harvesting of hay near New Albany in the 1930s. Several of the postcards feature the New Albany School that was built at the turn of the century. It featured 18 classrooms, offices, an auditorium, steam boiler, indoor toilets and a bell tower. This was the third school in the state to receive accreditation from the Association of Colleges and Secondary School and was a great attraction for people to want to live in New Albany for their children to get a quality education.

One of the main creators of the postcards with local photographs was R.B. Henderson who was the proprietor of a drugstore in New Albany.

His postcard business is one way that historical images are preserved and are available today.

Scenes from Blue Mountain shows images from Mississippi Heights Academy, dormitories at Blue Mountain College, the steam plant at the college, one of the springs at Blue Mountain College, and others.

Old homes of Ripley are featured on many of the cards as well as scenes from downtown, First Monday and several images of baptizing, Ripley churches and an old hotel.

Many of the cards in this collection came from the Union County Historical Society Collection, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Tommy Covington and other private collections. The effort to gather the images was done by members of the North Mississippi Historical Society Committee. The book was published by Union County Historical Society & Heritage Museum and by Tippah County Development Foundation.

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