Historic Sites and Museums

M.D. Anderson Memorial Plaza

This memorial plaza is located between the two Federal Buildings on North Highland Avenue. It honors the memory of four great men from Jackson: M. D. Anderson, Will Clayton, Frank Anderson and Ben Clayton. The M. D. Anderson Memorial Plaza Bill was presented to Congress by Congressman Steven Fincher and approved by Congress and signed by President Barak Obama on January 3, 2012.While the plaza is named in honor of one of Jackson’s most famous natives, M.D. Anderson, the nine-foot, granite monolith honors not only Anderson, but also Will Clayton, former Secretary of Commerce and Assistant Secretary of State under President Roosevelt and “Father of the Marshall Plan” as well as Ben Clayton and Frank Anderson. These four Jackson natives lead the way nationally in the cotton industry and turned a business that began on the corner of Highland Avenue and Baltimore into the largest cotton trading company in the world. By the year of 1929 Anderson, Clayton & Company had offices in Egypt, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Paraguay, England, Mexico, France, Italy and Germany to continue their lead in the cotton industry. By 1935 the company was literally a global merchandiser of cotton.

M. D. Anderson, a Jackson banker and later President of the Anderson, Clayton & Company in Houston, Texas became one of the richest men in America during the early 1900’s. As the company grew it was necessary for Frank Anderson and Will Clayton to ask M. D. to move to Houston in order to be near larger banks and deeper ports. With this move to Houston, the Anderson, Clayton & Company soon became the largest cotton merchandiser in the world. Upon his death in 1939, his foundation became the recipient of the largest bequest in Texas history. Not only was Jackson native Will Clayton vital to the success of Anderson, Clayton & Company, but was also involved in the Roosevelt administration. He served as Secretary of Commerce and Assistant Secretary of State. Upon visiting war-torn Europe, he became the author of the Marshall Plan. Frank E. Anderson, brother of M. D. Anderson, was a local cotton merchant with his office at the corner of Baltimore and Highland in the late 1880’s. Frank married Burdine Clayton, sister of Will Clayton. Will was also in the cotton business in St. Louis and New York City. In 1904 Frank and Will moved to Oklahoma City where cotton grew bountifully. In 1907 the company became so successful that the men needed a partner to help finance the expansion of their company to Houston. To meet this need M. D. gave up his banking career to move the company to Houston. Ben Clayton, another Jackson native, was involved in the growth of Anderson, Clayton & Company. He was responsible for the development of the overseas shipping operation. Eventually he left the company and formed the Clayton Foundation Research which generously supported the University of Texas at Austin. He founded the Biochemical Institute at the University of Texas at Austin in 1940. Ben Clayton died at the age of 96 in 1978.

West Tennessee Strawberry Festival/Historical Museum

1200 Main Street, Humboldt, TN  38343; (731) 784-7770;Fax: (731) 784-1573; E-mail: strawberrymuseum@bellsouth.net
Housed in a restored 1912 building formerly City Hall, this museum contains memorabilia from the longest continuously running festival in the South – the West Tennessee Strawberry Festival. A variety of displays evoke memories of past festivals, including band and majorette uniforms, pageant gowns, posters, magazines, and photographs. The Historical Museum contains photographs and items from Humboldt businesses, military uniforms, medals and weaponry, post office and bank documents, telegraph equipment, and many more items from Humboldt’s past. The building includes the original jail and police exhibit. Art center is upstairs. No admission charge, tour and school groups welcome. M-W-F 9 a.m.-4 p.m. or by appointment. Closed on Holidays. Handicapped accessible.

Tom & O.E. Stigall Ethnic Library and History Museum

Corner of 9th. Ave and Vine Street in the historic Crossing area of Humboldt, TN; Contact: Jerry Marable (731) 424-5249 or (731) 225-3269; Web site: www.stigallmuseum.org
Mission Statement: To develop the recognition of the Tom & O. E. Stigall Ethnic Library and History Museum as a representation of art and historical artifacts. To provide opportunity for artists to create, and for people of all ages to share in gratification of that creation. The museum will be a focal point for the social and educational life in our community and surrounding areas. To display historical items of our community and culture (paintings, drawings, other artifacts and written information). To develop an appreciation and an understanding of heritage. Open Thurs., Fri. and Sat. 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

The Veterans’ Museum

100 Veterans’ Drive, Halls, TN  38040; (731) 836-7400;E-mail: vetmuseumhalls@bellsouth.net; Web Site: www.dyaab.us
Located off I-40 Exit 79, this 8,900 sq.ft. museum is located on the site of the former WWII B-17 Training Facility known as THE DYERSBURG ARMY AIR BASE, which was operational from 1942 through 1945. The location itself is a rich and unforgettable piece of history, but the Museum demonstrates how the facility affected the daily lives of those who lived in the area as well as its military history. In addition to complete WWI and WWII exhibits, displays on Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm are under development. Military vehicles, uniforms, videos, and individual tours will give all generations an opportunity to look at history personally. Three murals that were painted on the base by Ernie Berke provide a look at other aspects of base life. Additional WWII art is also on exhibit. Includes a gift shop, area lending library, research library, and archives. Average tour time is 2 hours. Open M-F 1pm-4pm; S-S 2 pm-4pm.  Donations accepted.

The McNairy County Historical Museum

114 N Third St., Selmer, TN 38375; (731) 646-0018
The historic Ritz Theater Building provides the perfect showplace to display items of the county’s history. The Museum has a unique layout with a large center gallery that displays various aspects of life in the early McNairy County. There are seven side rooms that offer a different way of viewing the history of the county. There are the School Room, the Civil War Room, the Church Room, the Healing Arts Room, and the Business and Agriculture Rooms. Museum hours are Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sun. 1-4 p.m., other times by appointment. Groups are welcome and the museum is handicapped accessible.

Tennessee River Museum

495 Main St., Savannah, TN 38372; (800) 552-3866;Web Site: www.tourhardincounty.org
Located in downtown Savannah, the museum has displays of items concerning the river and its influence on the heritage of the Tennessee Valley. Here, exhibits chronicle prehistoric times, life of the Mississippian mound builders the tragic story of the “Trail of Tears,” the Civil War on the River, the Golden Age of Steamboats, and the Tennessee River today.  A replica of the world famous “Shiloh Effigy Pipe” is the central display item. Open Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. 1-5 p.m. Admission.

Shiloh National Military Park

1055 Pittsburg Landing Rd. (Highway 22 between Tennessee 57 and US 64); Shiloh, TN 38376; (731) 689-5696;Web Site: www.nps.gov/shil
For two days, April 6 and 7, 1862, Civil War troops clashed in the fields and woods near Pittsburg Landing in the first major battle in the war’s western theater. When the battle ended, General Grant had pushed Southern troops back to their base at Corinth, Miss. The battlefield features 152 monuments, 229 cannons, and more than 450 historic tablets. The battlefield tour starts at the visitor center where exhibits and a brief film provide an introduction to the battle. The Park will host several special events through October 2010 that will offer visitors a unique look at civilian life in and around Pittsburg Landing in the 1860s; infantry, artillery, and cavalry tactical demonstrations; and a glimpse of the military camp life shared by thousands of Civil War soldiers. The Visitor Center/museum/bookstore is open every day, except December 25, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Scotts Hill Heritage Collection

85 Hwy 14 S, Scotts Hill, TN 38374; (731) 549-3175;Fax: (731) 549-2344
Collection of historic photographs and historic finds on display in lobby of city hall that depict Scotts Hill street scenes from 1890s to 1970s. Some items are on loan from local individuals that portray tidbits of history of the area. Some items are held on rotating basis.

Salem Cemetery Battlefield

Cotton Grove Rd., Jackson, TN 38305; (731) 424-1279; Fax: (731) 664-2486; E-mail: jwilcox1279@charter.net; Web Site: www.salemcemeterybattlefield.com
On the morning of Dec. 19, 1862, approximately 1,500 Confederate cavalry, along with Freeman’s Battery with three pieces of artillery under the command of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, clashed in a 2 hour battle with about 1,000 Federals under the command of Col. Adolph Englemann. Gen. Forrest achieved his objective of pinning down the Federals behind their fortifications in Jackson, thus freeing him to make raids against the Federal rail and communication lines.  Salem Cemetery Battlefield has a welcome center, 5 monuments, a battle map inlay, flagpole, and 2 six pound Napoleon smooth bore cannons on display. The Cemetery is the resting place of Adam Huntsman, who defeated Davy Crockett in 1836 for a position in Congress, causing Davy to go to the Alamo. Salem Battlefield is a self-guided tour. Take I-40 Exit 85 South and follow signs. The battle site is open daily from 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

Parsons Regional Museum

535 Tennessee Ave S, P.O. Box 128; Parsons, TN 38363-0128; (731) 847-6358; Fax: (731) 847-9272; Web Site: www.cityofparsons.com
From the earliest days and the first settlers to current times, the Parsons Regional Museum draws from the past to tell future generations the story of our progress and achievements. The genealogy room, with a computer link to multiple national reference resources, in-house reference library of local history and collection of oral histories gathered from some of Decatur County’s oldest residents is an incredible storehouse of information.


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