Monday, August 30, 2010
Family lore indicates that George Emerson Robinson and his three older sons - Gideon, Leonard and Floyd - helped build part of the original old Highway 78, known as Bankhead Highway. Supposedly, they were part of the team that built the stretch of highway from Bull Mountain bottom to the Alabama state line. Since George died in 1907, it is unlikely that he was involved in the paving of Bankhead Highway but he very possibly could have been responsible for part of the upkeep and maintenance for the dirt road the preceded the paved one.
There's another story, too, that I remember my father telling, about his Uncle Louis Robinson who organized the first "sit-down strike" in Itawamba County for higher wages. Seems that Uncle Louis was part of a crew working for Granddaddy E.A. "Rip" Harbor who had the contract to build part of the new Bankhead Highway. According to Daddy, Uncle Louis and the rest of the striking men got their raises.
Last week, my mother and daughter Rebekah were returning from a foray to Vernon, Alabama and took the "scenic" route back to Itawamba County. The pictures shown here were made by me during other travels, and it seems that I am always struck by the beauty and simplicity of this early highway and the trees that now line its path. Last week was no exception, and as we crossed the state line from Alabama where the highway has been repaved with asphalt into Mississippi where the old concrete highway can still be seen, the canopy of trees over the highway was a welcoming sight.
For more reading on the Bankhead Highway in Itawamba County, you might enjoy this post in 2007 by Bob Franks at Itawamba History Review. Over at American Roads, there is additional information about the history of the entire Bankhead Highway. I had no idea that the highway was a transcontinental highway. What a big deal for a transcontinental highway to come through Itawamba County!
Posted by Mona Robinson Mills at 7:27 AM