The long stretch of 22nd Avenue featured three department stores. To the left were the Dumont Department Store and the Marks-Rothenberg Department Store. To the right was Winner and Kline Department Store. Also to the right is Weidmann’s Restaurant, which is still in operation. In the center of the photograph is the Threefoot Brothers Wholesale Company, the present location of The Threefoot Hotel.
Front Street was a dirt road at the turn of the century, and the first Union Passenger Depot had not been built. This stretch is Front Street between 26th and 27th Avenues. On the left is a white picket fence encircling a private residence, where a pig has wandered into the street. In the middle ground is a steam-powered tractor, standard at the time. In the hazy distance is the site where the first depot would be built.
Farmers are shown delivering locally grown corn at the Queen and Crescent Freight Depot. At the Armour Packing Company, right, meat was smoked, packed, and shipped to destinations all over the southeastern United States.
This photograph shows Fifth Street looking east. The Rosenbaum Building, now condominiums on the near right. Farther down the block is the Arky Building, now the site of Dumont Plaza. On the left are the Great Southern Hotel and First National Bank. The city was served by electric streetcars.
Tornado Damage – Union Station
The photograph shows the damage to Union Station Passenger Depot on Front Street after a tornado leveled much of downtown Meridian in March 1906. Martial law was declared, and the man standing with a shovel to the left was a doughboy soldier sent in to help with the cleanup.
Tornado Damage – 22nd Avenue and Front Street
This photograph shows storm damage at the 22nd Avenue and Front Street intersection after the March 1906 tornado. The people of San Francisco sent money and supplies to Meridian to help out in the emergency. The people of Meridian returned the favor the next month, in April, when a massive earthquake rocked San Francisco.
Tornado Damage – Baum Building
The spring tornado in 1906 killed as many as 50 people. The Baum Building’s distinctive mansard roof was ripped entirely away; it was replaced with a flat roof when rebuilding efforts began.
Sixth and Eight Streets
The oddly shaped intersection at Sixth and Eighth Streets is the home of the Miazza-Woods “Flatiron” Building. The V-shaped structure was patterned after the Flatiron Building on 23rd Street in New York City, where girl watchers gathered and waited for the unusual winds around the building to tug at skirts. Police walking the beat would warn them to “23-akidoo” from the area. Behind the Flatiron Building to the left are Threefoot Brothers Wholesale and the Saenger Movie Theatre.
Oakland Heights School
Children are shown outside Oakland Heights School, located then, as it is now, on 59th Avenue. In 1900, there were 119 schools in Lauderdale County. After consolidation efforts, the number of schools dropped to 35 in the 1920s, and education standards improved.
About 1920, Meridian officials were preparing to pave 24th Avenue. This view shows preliminary site grading work near the intersection of Eighth Street, looking south. City Hall can be seen at the end of the street. Across Eighth Street, to the right, is a residence, now the location of Meyer and Rosenbaum Insurance. The man in the photo faces the site where the Temple Theatre would be built in the mid-1920s. Behind him was the Standard Club.
James Melton Bridge
In the late 1950s, Meridian celebrated the opening of the James Melton Bridge, named for a local politician and businessman. The bridge quickly came to be called the 22nd Avenue Bridge. The bridge was needed to cross over train tracks that ran through the town center, often stopping traffic on 22nd Avenue. This opening day parade photograph was taken on the bridge, looking north. To the left is Meridian Hardware. The tall building in the background is the Threefoot Building.
For children, the Temple Theatre was the place to be on Saturday. It was not uncommon for lines of children waiting to see the latest Western to wrap around the block. On this particular Saturday, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and The Three Stooges were on the bill. The Temple Theatre is located on the corner of Eighth Street and 24th Avenue.
View from the Threefoot Building
This 1956 view, taken from the top of the Threefoot Building, shows 22nd Avenue looking south. Trains rolled through the downtown shopping area before the James Melton Bridge was constructed. Behind the train, to the right, is the Gulf, Mobile, and Ohio Railroad Freight Terminal. Plans were underway to renovate the building for use as a railroad museum when it burned in 1995.
Firefighting – Front Street
This fire broke out on Front Street at about 10 a.m. on March 8, 1964. It began at Rice Pappenheimer Furniture Company but eventually consumed six other businesses as well: L.H. Conard Furniture, Corr-Williams Tobacco Company, Rhodes Furniture Warehouse Annex., Merrill Paint and Hardware, Frank Tank Discount Store, and Saxton Used Furniture Store. The Meridian Fire Department was joined by firefighters from Naval Air Station Meridian, the Mississippi Air National Guard 186th Tactical Reconnaissance Group, and volunteer stations. The final damage was estimated at $2 million.