A Walt Grayson film
Walt Grayson reflects on a life spent in Washington County, Mississippi. See the region through his eyes and learn how the Mississippi River was the impetus for not just the geography, but also the culture and history of the Mississippi Delta.
Greenville: “Our Place on the Mississippi”
By: Benjy Nelken
The Father of Waters, the most fertile alluvial soil in the world, the moderate annual climate, the blues, and the best folks you would ever want to meet, are just some of the attributes of the queen city of the delta, Greenville, Mississippi. To further describe the attributes of Greenville, I would like to begin by writing four lines that were written about Greenville by William Alexander Percy, one of the many published writers and authors that have and do call Greenville home.
Any town large or small should be judged by the distinction of its citizens, and throughout Greenville’s history, it is the quality of those folks then and now that is the measure of this town’s worth. Over 57 years ago, it was Greenville’s leadership that worked together in avowed unity that recruited into the city the nation’s largest carpet plant. And many decades later, it is similar dedicated leadership that has formed the new Industrial Development Center to forge new commerce and growth in the 21st century.
It is our good folks that have established one of the largest Rotary Clubs in the State. The Junior Auxiliary has for over 60 years offered help and relief to the underprivileged. Greenville is the founding home of the National Association of Junior Auxiliaries. Garden clubs are plentiful in Greenville. We have the Main Street organization that is working overtime to protect and preserve the city’s downtown. There is the Convention and Visitors Bureau that faithfully promotes our area. These and many more local organizations run by local citizens strongly believe in Civic teamwork and cultural values. It takes a strong and dedicated people to stoke the engine of progress, and Greenville continues to have a large reservoir of these committed citizens.
And as for culture and quality of life, Greenville’s cup runneth over. There is the Greenville Symphony that brings a half a dozen wonderful musical venues to the delta every year. Greenville’s community theater Delta Center Stage is the best in the state. Housed in the historical Stein Hall at E. E. Bass Cultural Center, this organization presents excellent live stage performances all year with a special children’s workshop and production every summer. If it’s Hollywood you prefer, Greenville has the only state-of-the-art stadium-seating movie-plex (Nelco Cineplex) in the Ark-La-Miss Delta. Greenville also boasts to have the most published authors per capita of any city in the nation. You can read more about our native authors and their history at the Greenville Writer’s Exhibit at the William Alexander Percy Library in Downtown Greenville. If one indulges in gaming, Greenville boasts two casinos (Harlow’s Casino Resort and Trop Casino) with another on the drawing board.
Add to that the Winterville Mounds Museum, Greenville History Museum, Old Fire Department Museum, Highway 61 Blues Museum, and Jim Henson-Kermit the Frog Museum, Hebrew Union’s Century of History Museum, Greenville Air Force Base Museum, and Flood of 1927 Museum – not to mention the country’s oldest fully restored and operational Armitage-Herschell Carousel housed in the E. E. Bass Cultural Center. No one has an excuse to be bored in Greenville, Mississippi.
If it is wildlife and outdoor recreation you are looking for, well, look no further. Lakes abound in Greenville and Washington County. On Lake Ferguson one can fish, sail, swim, ski, or just sight see. The bass fishing in this area has been called the best in the country. And hunting? Well, name your poison. There’s Deer, Dove, Turkey, Coon, Squirrel and even Alligators, to name a few. And the view of the Mississippi River at Warfield Point Park is the most spectacular of anywhere in the country.
Hodding Carter wrote in 1960, “The sense of obligation to community and fellow citizen was strong and deep when I first came to Greenville-and long before. It has not significantly lessened.” These words remain true today and still characterize a present leadership that is committed to do whatever is necessary to continue to make Greenville a progressive force of industry and commerce while at the same time, making sure we have a wonderful town in which to live and thrive.
So, we invite one and all to come visit, play, and even live in Greenville, because it is what it is…it’s “Our place on the Mississippi.”