Newton (Estimated population of 3,699)
Newton is a thriving city located on Highway 80, near Interstate 20. Recently, the community progressed from a great, small town to the status of a city. The designation is due because of new businesses, which include unique shops, especially antiques, and eateries that have recently opened.
The city planning includes additional opportunities for business as well as the arts and historical endeavors. My husband and I took lunch with friends, Emily and Bill Jordan, at a yummy little café, with the unique name of Grits & Glory – delish.
Also, each year in March, Newton is host to the highly successful Loose Caboose Festival – a unique collection of crafts, arts, gifts, antiques, music, activities for children, and food, all located near the historic Train Depot. The Roxy Community Theatre stages several performances each year as well as the historic Newton Depot sponsors many community-inspired events annually.
Union (Estimated population of 2,021)
I’m happy that you have continued to read this column to this point, because I think the following information will reinforce the strength of the fabric and integrity of our Mississippi people as told through the story of Union.
The town of Union was settled as early as 1833 and was situated directly on the stage line running from Montgomery, Ala., to Jackson, Miss., and thus Boler’s Inn came into existence.
I like to think of Boler’s Inn as the jewel in the crown of Union Mississippi. You see Boler’s Inn is a survivor – three times a survivor. Newton County pioneer, Wesley Boler, in 1856, built it. The structure was first used as a home and eventually became a thriving stagecoach inn.
In 1864, during General Sherman’s March-to-the-Sea, it is said he felt the name “Union” signified the Union of the United States of America, and therefore, the little town was spared, including Boler’s Inn — survival number one.
After many years of neglect, a community-minded group came forth to save the historic structure from the final destruction of a tumbledown eyesore. With this group, Boler’s Inn was saved once again, and the third time was during the devastations of Katrina — three times a survivor.
One more thing … my very favorite route to Union is via Highway 19 North and then left onto the Old Jackson Military Road, now known as Highway 492, first built by Andrew Jackson for his troops. I make a point to travel that pathway of history at least four to five times per month.
Today, I’ve taken you on an armchair tour of Newton County, Mississippi. Make your plans to discover the good folks of Newton County, who are neighbors to the west of Meridian.
My, dear, dedicated readers,
I would like to thank each of you who requested a repeat of today’s column. The column originally published Nov. 21, 2008. I updated and made a few additions/deletions from the original.
Anne B. McKee is a writer and
storyteller. Visit her website at www.annemckee.net.