By Leslie Criss // Photos by Lauren Wood
The Northeast Mississippi town of Corinth, within hollering distance of the Tennessee state line, was founded in 1853. It was initially known as Cross City because it served as a junction for the Mobile & Ohio and Memphis & Charleston railroads. The name Corinth was the brainchild of W.E. Gibson, the newspaper editor in the town’s early years. He suggested Corinth for the city in Greece that also served as a crossroads.
These days, visitors are welcomed to Corinth at every entry point by signs boasting Corinthian columns.
Corinth’s location at the junction of two railroads made it crucial to the Confederacy during the War Between the States. Confederate General P. G. T. Beauregard retreated to Corinth after the Battle of Shiloh, pursued by Union Major General Henry W. Halleck. Beauregard abandoned the town when Halleck approached, letting it fall into the Union’s hands. Since Halleck approached so cautiously, digging entrenchments at every stop for over a month, this action has been known as the Siege of Corinth.
Corinth is home to the slugburger and the annual Slugburger Festival. A slugburger consists of a patty made from a mixture of beef or pork and an inexpensive extender such as soybeans and deep fried in oil. It is typically served on a bun with mustard, pickles and onion. According to legend the term “slugburger” comes from the slang term for a metal disk the size of a nickel that would work in vending machines.
Corinth, the seat of Alcorn County, is a perfect destination for a day trip.
PLACES TO SEE
Civil War Interpretive Center, 501 W. Linden St.
The Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center explains the key role of Corinth in the Civil War’s western theater. Opened in 2004, the 15,000-square-foot facility features interactive exhibits, a multimedia presentation on the Battle of Shiloh, and a video on the Battle of Corinth. Interpretive exhibits detail the causes and coming of the war, the battle of Shiloh, and the siege, occupation, and battle of Corinth. A life size diorama of earthwork construction, along with a full-scale reproduction of a 2-gun battery, explain the importance of field fortification through the course of the Civil War. An extensive courtyard exhibit is home to a water feature commemorating 100 years of American history. Nearby is Battery Robinett, a Union fortification witness to bloody fighting during the October 1862 Battle of Corinth.
The center is open 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Sunday.
Corinth Contraband Camp, 800 N. Parkway St.
Many African-Americans who fled Southern plantations and farms seeking freedom and protection, found the Union-occupied Corinth to be a secure location. Union General Granville Dodge began to enlist these escaped slaves as teamsters, cooks and laborers. He actively recruited male refugees, armed them and placed them in charge of security at the newly organized camp in Corinth. Dodge’s administrative efforts led to the formation of the 1st Alabama Regiment of African Descent, consisting of approximately 1,000 men. Today a portion of this camp has been set aside to commemorate the events which changed the lives of so many people. Bronze figures surround the trail through the camp, depicting the lives of these people considered to be “contraband” of war.
Open daily from 6 a.m. until 7:30 p.m.
Corinth National Cemetery, 1551 Horton St.
In 1866, a final resting place was provided for the honored dead killed in Civil War battles for control of the railroad in and around Corinth. This two-acre cemetery is the resting place for 1,793 known and 3,895 unknown Union soldiers.
In addition, there are three Confederate interments in the cemetery – one unknown and two known soldiers.
Coca-Cola Museum, 601 Washington St.
The museum features more than 1,000 pieces of authentic Coca-Cola memorabilia, plus a large collection of old-fashioned drink machines.
Open 8 a.m. until 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule group tours.
Crossroads Museum, 221 N. Fillmore St.
In addition to railroad and Civil War history, the museum is home to thousands of artifacts detailing the city’s history. Exhibits paying homage to aviation pioneer Roscoe Turner, baseball star Don Blasingame, NFL great Jackie Simpson, a Rotary Club’s impact on the community and a Southern delicacy known as the hot tamale are just a few of the many subjects spotlighted in the museum. The museum’s hours change monthly. Check hours at (662) 287-3120. Admission is $5 adults; $3 seniors, military and students; ages 16 and younger, free.
Verandah-Curlee House, 705 Jackson St.
The Verandah House was built in 1857 for one of Corinth’s founders, Hamilton Mask. The original architecture is Greek Revival and contained four sixteen foot cube rooms.
During the Civil War, the house was headquarters to several generals.
General Albert Sidney Johnston, Major General Braxton Bragg, and Colonel Thomas Jordan, whom General P.T.G. Beauregard sent to represent his endorsement, set forth the plan of Confederate attack on the Union troops at Shiloh from Verandah House on April 2, 1862. General Henry Halleck was headquartered there following Shiloh.
After the war, the home had several families throughout the years. The Curlee family lived there twice, and the descendants of the Curlee family donated the property to the city in the 1960s. It is now called Verandah Curlee House and is designated a National Historic Landmark by the Department of the Interior because of its Civil War history. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic places, and is a Mississippi Landmark.
Old Time Soda Company, Fillmore Street
If you are in the mood for some vintage candy or ice cold soda in glass bottles, this is the place to visit.
SoCo District is a collection of businesses on Wick Street, Taylor Street and surrounding areas in downtown Corinth, featuring clothing stores, gift and home decor shops, a coffee shop, a bakery, hair salons, pet supply stores and much more.
PLACES TO EAT
Borroum’s Drug Store, 604 E. Waldron St.
Borroum’s was established in 1865 by Andrew Jackson Borroum, a doctor who had obtained his degree from Louisiana Medical School and served as an assistant surgeon in Company C of the 34th Mississippi Infantry in the Civil War. Convinced by a friend to settle in Corinth, Borroum began practicing and then opened a drugstore. He moved it to its present location in 1916. The store has remained in the hands of family members and is presently owned by the founder’s great-granddaughter, Camille Borroum Mitchell, one of the first two female students to obtain pharmacy degrees from the University of Mississippi. Borroum’s is a popular lunch spot. With its old-fashioned soda fountain counter, Borroum’s serves ice cream sodas and milkshakes, cherry phosphates and Coca-Cola.
Abe’s Grill, 803 Highway 72 W
Abe’s is the oldest diner on U.S. Route 72 still operated by the original owners. Some folks say Abe’s is home to “the Mid-South’s favorite homemade biscuit.” It’s open week days from 5 a.m. until 3 p.m. for breakfast and lunch.
White Trolley, 1215 Highway 72
Famous for its slugburgers, but the all-beef burgers are touted as well.
Russell’s Beef House, 104 US 72
A steak staple in Corinth since 1978. Open seven days a week at 4:30 p.m.
Smith., 603 N. Fillmore St.
“Fine dining done casually featuring a menu full of unique twists on great Southern fare.”
Vicari, 514 Cruise St.
Italian and American fare, with specialty pastas, sandwiches, prime rib and many offerings in between.
V Taco, 512 Cruise St.
Casual taco shop and margarita bar with a rooftop deck.
Pizza Grocery, 800-A Cruise St.
Specialty pizzas, pasta dishes, sandwiches, salads and a coffee bar, too.
JuJu & Christa’s Shrimp Boat, 1907 E. Shiloh Road
Family-owned seafood restaurant featuring gumbo, jumbo fried shrimp, shrimp and grits, étouffée, salads and homemade desserts.