Philadelphia, MS – A city with a history, the most visited small town in Mississippi.
This town is an excellent starting point for an out-of-town excursion by car. Neshoba County, Mississippi’s administrative center is located in Philadelphia. Although it is not on a major US Highway, it is conveniently located near several other major roads and is therefore very accessible. At the Newton, Mississippi exit of Interstate 20, take the MS Hwy 15 north ramp for forty miles. It is approximately 60 miles to Canton, Mississippi, where you will make a turn east onto Mississippi Highway 16. The majority of Highway 16 is through rural areas; however, you will travel through Carthage, Mississippi, which is well worth the detour of ten minutes. There is a third option available; if you are currently traveling on US Highway 82, you can make the 58-mile detour south onto MS Highway 15 at Mathiston, Mississippi. Because four of the main highways in Mississippi pass through Philadelphia, it serves as a hub for a wide swath of the state and offers a surprising amount of diversity for such a small city.
Philadelphia has a population of about 7,500 people, making it a reasonably sized town for an area that is predominately rural. In the year 1903, it became a corporation. In the 1700s, it served as the political and economic center of the Choctaw nation. There is still a sizeable Choctaw reservation here in Mississippi, and it even has its own town named after the tribe: Choctaw. A large ceremonial mound and cave dating back 1700 years can be found at Nanih Waiya, which is located north of Philadelphia.
Williams Brothers – An Operating Old-Time General Store
This is something that you won’t be able to find in any other place. The Williams Brothers Store is a genuine example of an old-fashioned general store and can be found in a neighborhood known as Williamsville. The shop first opened its doors in 1907. In 1939, it was highlighted in National Geographic magazine. This store is serious business and not just a novelty for passing tourists. Genuine locals shop here for their daily necessities, including groceries, clothing, footwear, and agricultural implements. Two men spend the entirety of every Saturday slicing bacon and chopping off chunks of hoop cheese. The process takes them ten hours. The number of customers is enough to make Walmart blush.
You won’t find a better selection of groceries and meats anywhere else, as they carry the entire line of products available. (Three butchers working nonstop in an extremely frantic manner.) Alongside the feed and seed, they also sell home-grown sorghum and blue ribbon cane mosasses in the front of the store.
Williams Brothers is a retailer that carries apparel for both men and women. There are some lines of women’s clothing that are only sold in the more upscale department stores, while other lines are unique to Mississippi and can only be found there. The shoe department can be reached by going through the crowded clothing department and turning left. It is also possible to refer to this location as the shoe department. They sell everything from the newest Nikes to men’s steel-toed boots, as well as the latest fashions for women, men’s dress shoes, and the fanciest cowboy (and cowgirl) boots this side of Fort Worth. In addition, they sell the most up-to-date ladies’ clothing.
You will not be taken advantage of in any way. The costs are reasonable in all respects.
I was raised in an era where there were general stores, but this one amazed me back when I was younger, and it still amazes me now. This particular country store is busier than any other I’ve ever seen.
Olivia Williams, who later became Archie Manning’s wife, is the daughter of one of the company’s founders. It has been mentioned to me, and I was able to confirm it, that both Peyton and Eli worked here as summer employees when they were younger. They may still stop by every once in a while, but they’ve moved on to better things!
The exterior of this shop does not conceal anything; it simply presents itself as it is. It functions without a hitch, which is a strong indication that someone is behind the wheel and knows what they are doing. On the weekends, there are typically such large crowds that the bar-b-que stand located in front of the store does a thriving business catering primarily to customers of the store.
Choctaw, Mississippi is about two miles west of Philadelphia on MS Hwy 16
The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians has constructed two enormous casinos in Choctaw, Mississippi, each offering a wide variety of games and entertainment options. The Golden Moon and Silver Star Casinos serve as the hub around which a number of other attractions are organized. The Pearl River Resort has a sizable footprint, and it’s not just because it hosts concerts, boxing, and other types of entertainment.
The Dancing Rabbit Golf Club is widely regarded as one of the South’s most prestigious courses. It was constructed on land that once belonged to Native Americans. This challenging course is popular with not only the locals but also hotel guests and even famous people. The course has been well maintained and it winds its way through an attractive canopy of established trees. It is rated as one of the top 100 courses by Golf Magazine.
Geyser Falls is a water park that spans over 23 acres. The amusement park features more than ten rides that involve slides and getting wet, in addition to three restaurants and plenty of seating for elderly visitors. I can assure you of one thing, and that is the fact that there are numerous opportunities to get wet. If you don’t like getting wet or having water fall on you, you might be surprised by one of the many geysers that literally erupt from the ground under your feet. You will get wet! On a summer day, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, and this attraction is only open during the summer months.
The welcoming environment is comprised of three hotels and four restaurants in total. Chief Phyllis J. Anderson uses this endearing phrase to describe Pearl River Resort: The phrase “Vegas with sweet tea” comes to mind. If you are not familiar with southern culture, you should know that down here we believe in laid-back hospitality and that we take our tea sweetened with sugar and ice. The phrase “I want sweet tea, please mam” is what we end up saying. That doesn’t happen anywhere else besides in the South!
Downtown Philadelphia has retained its charm and its shoppers
It is not a secret that the majority of downtown areas have been struggling throughout the last three decades. The construction of new highways has diverted traffic away from the central business districts, and this drop in foot traffic is responsible for the closure of many retail establishments. In the case of Philadelphia, this is not the situation. The original proprietors of some of the stores continue to run those locations today. Some have gone out of business, but unfortunately, this is inevitable. In contrast, most of the older establishments have been succeeded by fresh-faced startups. There are still law offices, pharmacies, furniture stores, and other types of businesses, even though some of them are gift shops and coffee shops. The town is laid out on a square, and the courthouse serves as the focal point of this public space. My friend recently went shopping at Kademi, a specialty gift shop that is located on the square, and she enjoyed her experience there.
Peggy’s is a well-known restaurant in the neighborhood, and customers travel from far and wide to eat there. From the southwest corner of the square, head south on Byrd Avenue for just over two blocks, and it will be on the left side of the street. This location is just south of the square.
Peggy’s is an old house that has been renovated into a lunch-only restaurant with a family-friendly atmosphere. You are going to absolutely adore the home cooking. The fried chicken at Peggy’s is regarded as some of the best in the state, according to Mississippi Magazine. Don’t bother looking for a menu because there isn’t going to be one. You can assist yourself if you go through the line. Also, you shouldn’t bother looking for a teller! You are expected to pay on your own accord; simply place your payment in the basket that is located on the table in the lobby. (You should also make the change from the basket.) The tip should be left on the table. The walls are covered with photographs of famous people who have dined at this establishment. Marty Stuart, a star of country music, is a fan of this restaurant. Marty calls the city of Philadelphia his hometown.
Although there are no commercial flights, the Philadelphia Municipal Airport has a decent airstrip on Highway 19, which is located in the southeastern corner of the city. It is directly across the street from the Neshoba County Hospital, which is an excellent facility for a rural community.
Philadelphia historic district
The majority of the historic district can be found between Rose Street and Main Street, specifically along Holland Avenue and Poplar Avenue. The majority of the houses were constructed at the beginning of the 1900s.
In addition, there is the stunning and historically significant Holy Cross Catholic Church located on North Byrd Avenue. You can find this Church, which was established in 1861, by taking a turn to the north from the northwest corner of the square. There is a church located south of town on Mississippi State Highway 19 that was originally constructed as a mission to serve the Choctaw Indians who live in the area. In the year 1861, construction began on the Holy Rosary Catholic Church. It took care of Indian children by running a school.
There is a sad, dark side to Philadelphia’s past
On June 21, 1964, racial tensions in the state of Mississippi reached their highest point. An explosion occurred out of the fermenting caldron of racial tension stirred by new civil rights legislation that was strongly opposed and the entrance of out-of-state civil rights activists. This is an event that all Mississippians would rather forget and wish had never happened. I beg you not to judge the entirety of the white population in Mississippi based on the actions of a small number of criminals because I am a native white Mississippian. The murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwermer are something that the vast majority of the men and women I know deeply regret. This shouldn’t have taken place at any point. Although it took some time, residents of Mississippi eventually located and prosecuted those responsible.
The majority of people have lost all memory of this terrible event. Even the film “Mississippi Burning” was not successful in keeping the topic in the public eye. The town of Philadelphia, Mississippi in the present day has a black mayor and bears very little resemblance to the version that is portrayed in the movie. This is a town that welcomes anyone who will listen to it by simply saying, “Y’all Come.” People of all sizes, shapes, and races do end up coming, and once they do, everyone has a good time.
Philadelphia, Mississippi, is the only small town that I can think of that we’ve been to that has more to offer than Philadelphia. All of you, hurry down here and take a look at what we have to offer. You’ll be glad you did!