RANKIN COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – “When I was a little boy, my daddy used to fish at Lake Providence, Louisiana, and we would go by these old houses sitting out in the Delta. And I don’t know, something was fascinating about them. One day, I had some extra wood, and I decided I’d try making one of them,” said Billy Jones.
Jones has been creating model houses for years. It’s a hobby for him. He sells them along when someone wants one bad enough. But that’s not why be builds them.
“Just the pleasure of doing it. It’s a hobby, I guess. I just enjoy it. I had a friend years ago that had one. And they were about 12 by 12. And families lived in them. Every one I try to make it a little better. I’m not good at getting things precise. I just get them about right.”
These kinds of houses were not only all over the Delta at one time, they were also in the Smoky Mountains. One house in particular caught the attention of a girl who grew up in one like it in the Smokies; Dolly Parton. She liked it so much she commissioned Jones to do a whole village for her. He has the replica of the village at his home in Mississippi.
“I’ve got one with Dolly Parton. We’ve started one in Dollywood. And I decided I would just make one here. And with this virus and everything, I just enjoy doing it and decided I’d try creating one here.”
Jones said they will dedicate his Smoky Mountain Village at Dollywood some time in the fall when the world reopens after the COVID-19 pandemic has passed. Until then, Jones will be at his house out north of Brandon or creating another home in his shop out back.
Jones is a member of the Mississippi Crafsman’s Guild and oftentimes, you can catch some of his work in the Craftsman’s Guild gift shop a their headquarters in Ridgeland.