Walking history tour coming to downtown Meridian next month

Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 2:30 PM CST
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Mark your calendars for Saturday, Feb 12! The Rose Hill Company of Storytellers is planning a special history tour of downtown Meridian.

The organization has partnered with the city of Meridian and the Lauderdale County Department of Archives and History for a unique experience that will leave you full of knowledge about the city of Meridian.

“There’s a nefarious gentleman named John Ball, who will tell you he’s the founder of Meridian, but I’m the true founder of this fair town,” Brad Hampton said, portraying Meridian founder Lewis Ragsdale.

That’s one of Meridian’s founders and one of nearly 20 stops along the Meridian Downtown History Walk coming in February.

“I think they’re going to be coming out to hear some good storytelling,” Hampton explained. “They will come out to see some good acting. We will be here to entertain them and tell them a few things about their town they might not know.”

This is the first time for the history tour in downtown. It’s all about Meridian and how the city become what it is today. Downtown businesses will also play a role.

“They are going to be providing some appetizers that afternoon. They will be open for business that evening, once the tours are over,” said Community Development Director Craig Hitt. “We are hoping this will be beneficial for the restaurants as well as the retailers that afternoon.”

If you’ve ever been to the Rose Hill Cemetery Tour in September, then you already have had a taste of how great the downtown history tour will be. You’ll hear from voices of the past like Mrs. Clara Weidmann of Weidmann’s Restaurant, the Gypsy Queen and more.

“This is our first event celebrating Meridian’s birthday. We are happy to be down here telling our stories,” said Gypsy Rose Hill, who is portraying Kelly Mitchell during the tour. “It’s not just going to be cemetery stories that you would normally hear at the Rose Hill Tour. It’s going to be different people representing different areas of town this time.”

You’ll also hear the story of a Buffalo Soldier from WWI.

“Often, the history of people of color is missing. I’m excited to be able to share the story of the Buffalo Soldiers, as well as his personal story,” Terrence Roberts said.

From the significance of Meridian railroads to Wechsler School and the Temple Theater, this tour is like a time machine. A portal to Meridian’s past that many of us have never known.

Organizers say this tour is free and great for the entire family. There will be door prizes and hot chocolate along the tour route.

Once again, the tour will be February 12 at 2 p.m. This will be a self-guided tour using a map. The event runs until sundown (around 5:45 p.m.).

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