Walt's Look Around: The Delta and its splendor - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Walt's Look Around: The Delta and its splendor

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The corn is already coming up in the Delta. Now, this used to be cotton. But not all that much cotton is planted any more. And relative to some of the older more established parts of our country, or even our state, NOTHING has gone on in the Delta all that long. It was just a few decades before the Civil War that the swamps were drained and fields were plowed.

Some of the pioneer Delta planters started out here, along the banks of Lake Washington in southern Washington County south of Greenville. Part of one of the first paved roads in the state is still here. A stretch of the original old one-lane Highway One, built about 1917. It still runs from near Roy's Store on the upper end of the lake to an area called Longwood a few miles away on the new Highway One.

Down on the south end of the lake is a monument to the past in several respects, the ruins of St. John's Episcopal Church. It was those early pioneer planters who built the church. It was dedicated in April of 1830. The dedicatory service had to be cut short so worshipers could get home before being trapped by an early springtime snowstorm.

All of the furnishings for the church came from England. The fixtures, the pews. St. John's started its decline during the Civil War. The stained glass windows were removed and the lead melted from them to be molded into bullets. And as if that weathering weren't enough, the church was struck by a tornado in the early years of the 20th century and left in about this shape.

It's only been in the last quarter century or so that a concentrated effort to clean up and preserve the ruins has been undertaken. But it and Greenfield Cemetery around it are always in immaculate condition.

There are other old places on Lake Washington. It's getting to be old country now. Some of the old plantation homes are still lived in, others deserted and almost getting to the point of not being repairable again.

But things change in the Delta, as everywhere else and as with everybody else. Like St. John's Church, built to stand forever. Now a monument to the fact that nothing lasts forever, and nothing stays the same except the fact that things are always changing.

And if you don't think that even old, establishments can be uprooted, just ask any of the CORN planters in the Delta.

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