Meridian Star

Local News

December 20, 2011

Historical marker finds a new home

MERIDIAN —     The historical marker that was once placed on Interstate 20 has found a new home, maybe one that is more appropriate.

    The marker, issued by the Mississippi Historical Commission in 1949, is now at Union Station on Front Street in Meridian. It seems fitting, said Ward Calhoun, who is director of Lauderdale County Archives and History located in the county annex in downtown Meridian.

    "The railroad has always been the heart of Meridian and East Mississippi," said Calhoun. "That is why we have grown so much and why Sherman's men traveled here to destroy the rail system and town during the Civil War."

    The marker recognizes Sowashee, the name of the town before the State Legislature ended an argument by adopting Meridian as the town's name in 1860, was a major rail junction vitally important to the South in the Civil War. It said Meridian also served for a short time as the state's temporary capital and the depository for the state's official records.

    "Meridian was a busy place during the Civil War," Calhoun said. "You had men and material streaming through here going in all directions."

    Calhoun said Sherman's march that came from Vicksburg, through Newton and to Meridian was meant to sever those lines of supply and communication. Ever since the war, Calhoun said the rail system continued to grow and provide Meridian with the commerce to grow.

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