Focused on Mississippi: Museum to Market Trail

Mississippi Moment

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – A new walking trail is in the works. They are calling it the Museum to Market Trail. It will run from the Mississippi Children’s Museum and the Wildlife Museum near LeFleur’s Bluff State Park on I-55 at Woodrow Wilson, along the east side of the Belhaven and Belhaven Heights Neighborhoods to the Farmer’s Market on High Street at Jefferson.

Part of the route is already marked off as a hiking and biking trail. A sign is on a utility pole across Spengler Street from The Beanery. The Beanery is an old cafe where way back- the railroad men could rent the rooms for $0.35 a night and get a shower for an extra dime. As an aside, when Steve Colston had his photography studio here in the 90s and early 2000’s, I did a ghost story in the building. Now, the walking trail will run adjacent to it. 

The old rail road bed is fairly easy to pick out from the Fortification Street bridge. Looking toward downtown, it’s a muddy path. Looking toward Belhaven, it is not as muddy because the bed is raised.

But a part of the railroad that isn’t included in the trail is also historic. It’s behind the Old Capitol. The old Gulf-Mobile and Ohio depot is still there. The Mississippi Department of Archives and History owns the building as offices. 

Beside the stretch of existing track as another artifact: the Merci Train box car from France that was packed with art and home furnishings given as gifts to the people of United States in gratitude for America sending over 700 boxcars of supplies to France after World War II. Forty-nine of these Merci cars came here, one to each state and Washington D.C.

To the north, the old tracks have been removed. They would have run through where the Two Mississippi Museums are now, with the new walking trail picking up just across Jefferson Street behind the Two Museums.

To the south, the tracks would have gone all the way to New Orleans. Now, they stop at the edge of the pavement of the street under the Pearl Street bridge. 

Hemphill Construction is building the trail.

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