Farish Street Historical District, Jackson, MS


The street gets its name from the family that lived and had businesses for four generations. Until the late 1970's most of the businesses on Farish Street were owned and operated by black people. Farish was an early settler of the area. Segregation began in the 1890's and flourished as a business area. In 1915 it was well known as being the most progressive areas in the capitol city of Jackson, MS.

Buildings on Farish Street were constructed by black craftsmen and the shops were located both on and off Farish Street. The business directory for Farish Street in 1913-1914 showed that the businesses include eleven black attorneys, four doctors, three dentists, two jewelers, two loan companies and a bank. The black population had two hospitals as well as numerous retail and service stores.

In the early part of the twentieth century blacks made up forty percent of the population which is most likely why the businesses of Farish Street were so successful. There were two distinct cultures in Jackson during this time frame. Although there was some interaction on an economic basis between the two communities they didn't stray beyond it to social or religious activities.

The famous photographer, Richard Beadle, had his studio for fifty five years on Farish Street. There were many churches, retail stores and restaurants that drew people to Farish Street in its heyday. The Ritz Theater is a landmark on Farish Street and it was one of only two black owned theaters in the entire country at the time.

Jackson State University was located on the corner of Farish and Griffith Streets for about a year before moving to its new location. The businesses on Farish Street saw their first decline in the 1960's and it continued to decline throughout the 1970's. The elder men who began businesses passed away and the younger generation moved away from the downtown area. Resurgence in the neighborhood began in the 1980's however, when Farish Street became part of the National Register of Historic Places.

Farish Street is on its way to attract tourists with shopping, blues and jazz clubs, theaters and museums. State and other monies have been promised to help revitalize the area. The IC depot has been purchased and the project hopes to consolidate rail, bus and taxi service in the area. Hotels and the old Standard Life Building are also planning extensive renovations.

Because Farish Street is in close proximity to downtown guests can find many hotels close to this historical area; The Jackson Marriott Downtown, Crowne Plaza Jackson Downtown, Edison Walthall Hotel, Microtel Inn and Suites and the Hampton Inn and Suites Jackson Coliseum. Restaurants that are within a mile of Farish Street include Big Apple Inn, Peaches, and The Pizza Shack. If visitors are looking for other attractions in the area check out the Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center, Country Boy and the Manship House Museum. A trip to the Old Capitol Museum and Mississippi Museum of Natural Science is always a good choice as well.

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