Day 6 - Greenville, mile 537


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North America » United States » Mississippi » Greenville
December 10th 2016
Published: June 22nd 2017
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Hebrew Union CongregationHebrew Union CongregationHebrew Union Congregation

The congregation is down to 52 families but their temple (built in 1906) is obviously well cared for. I think this is the first time I've been in a Jewish place of worship and so I appreciated the experience.
Geo: 33.3985, -91.0379

A short look around the decaying delta town of Greenville today. Another lovely day.

The catastrophic flood of 1927 was highlighted, along with the appallingly racist treatment of displaced AfAms (it's tough worrying about PC in a personal travel blog, but it is publicly available). Had an interesting visit to a long-standing Jewish Temple. Unfortunately the Arts and Cultural Centre was unexpectedly closed, denying us the chance to interact with an historic merry-go-round.

Interesting talk about river control this afternoon by our resident "Riverlorian". As a result of levee construction, the bed of the river has risen by 16ft in some sections. Especially in New Orleans where the river boat paddle wheels are above the roofs of many houses.

In the 1950s engineers thought it likely that the Mississippi River was ready to jump its bed and flow down the shorter route to the Gulf via the Atchafalaya River, exiting near Morgan City. Of course this would have catastrophic consequences for the industry and cities on the Lower Miss, including Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Massive river control structures were completed in 1963 near the confluence with the Red River tributary, and all thought the potential for disaster had been avoided.
Inside the TempleInside the TempleInside the Temple

The large wall plaques with lights commemorate deceased members. The lights beside the names are turned on if the person died in the current month, regardless of the year of death. Their Rabbi is a married lady who comes once a fortnight from Jackson - a two hour drive away.
10 years later a flood threatened all this and only after the waters subsided was it discovered that the river had undermined some of the structures and washed out the concrete foundations, leaving only twisted reinforcing steel. This underground route had saved the structures from being over-topped and totally washed away. The river nearly did a major course change that day, as it has done many times over the millennia, and will again.


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Flood of 1927 MuseumFlood of 1927 Museum
Flood of 1927 Museum

This small museum also seems to be a memorial to the victims of the flood. These visitors are watching a TV showing a PBS documentary on the events. The documentary matter-of-factly focussed on the racism that bubbled up. Apparently a press-ganged worker refused to obey an "order" to return to the sandbag line (he had just finished working a long shift) and he was shot and killed for it. Many AAs left the town afterwards and looked for work in the northern cities.
Stein MartStein Mart
Stein Mart

We were surprised to learn from this sign that our favourite discount clothing store in California was started in Greenville. NB: Note the height of the levee bank in the background.
Hebrew Union CongregationHebrew Union Congregation
Hebrew Union Congregation

The congregation is down to 52 families but their temple (built in 1906) is obviously well cared for. I think this is the first time I've been in a Jewish place of worship and so I appreciated the experience.


13th December 2016

Hi Rob n Sel. Just caught up on a bunch of blogs. Fascinating stuff and well written too. Love the historical stuff. Thx.
13th December 2016

Thanks Billy.

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