Quaint County Seat Just North of Jackson
"Chance Discovery of This Small Town"
Interstate 55 is a direct route from Memphis, TN in the north to New Orleans, LA in the south. Jackson is the only distinctive interrupt along the way. Almost the entire freeway route is shrouded in pine forests, and so it is very difficult to see much of Mississippi during a hurried trip through. Rather highway 51, which generally parallels I-55, is the better way to go, driving from one small town to the next, stop light to stop light. Strangely, when I suggested this alternative route to a rest stop visitor center volunteer, she frowned at the idea and told me, "You'll be safer to stay in the interstate. There's nothing to see in Mississippi, particularly along highway 51." I'm reluctant to take my 53' monster vehicle off main highways, and I don't have much time for stop lights, unfortunately, so when my dispatcher sent to for a pick up in Canton, I had no idea what I would find. In was in for a nice surprise, as Canton is a great stop along highway 51, off I-55.
"Presto and the County Courthouse"
Presto, the manufacturer of cheap aluminum kitchenware and gadgets, closed it's four factory's down sometime ago, and now that the products are all made in China, the factory building in Canton is used as a distribution warehouse. It's located in a run-down rural part of Canton, where warped rails evidence the end of freight train lines. At the time I arrived, black warehouse workers ate lunch outside, while mostly white office workers did the same inside. After making arrangements for loading the trailer, I decided to walk into town for lunch. I was delighted by the courthouse plaza and surrounding 19th century brick commercial buildings. But, Canton closes down at 2pm daily, so it was only by local recommendation that I was able to eat at Cristine's Back Porch.
"Annual Flea Market"
Besides being the hometown for various blues artists and atheletes, Canton is rather infamous for it's huge annual flea market where all sorts of art is sold. I there the day after, and learned that some 75,000 people had besieged the small town for this event, perhaps the largest such flea market in the south.