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116-Year-Old Tunica, Mississippi Depot to Serve as Entrance to the New Gateway to the Blues Museum January 21, 2011

Posted by David W. King in Uncategorized.
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TUNICA, Miss— W.C. Handy once played the blues on the wooden platform of the train depot in Dundee, Miss., as crowds danced to his music.

On Wednesday, the 116-year-old depot reclaimed its blues heritage as it was moved to its new home in Tunica. It will be restored to house a visitors center and serve as the entrance to the new Gateway to the Blues Museum.

“This train depot, the last one in Tunica County, will allow us to preserve its blues heritage by giving tourists another component of this rich history in this area,” said Webster Franklin, president and CEO of the Tunica Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The depot, built around 1895, was once a transportation hub in the small Tunica County town of Dundee. Edgar and Janet Hood of Clayton, Miss., inherited the old depot decades ago. When officials with the Tunica Convention and Visitors Center asked to restore the depot, the Hoods didn’t hesitate in donating it.

The depot will be restored to become the new Gateway to the Blues Visitor Center and Gift Shop along U.S. Highway 61., where the current Tunica visitor center now sits. From the depot, visitors can head to the 4,000-square-foot blues museum that will be built behind the depot.

Grant funds totaling $1.9 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Mississippi Department of Transportation will pay for the Gateway to the Blues project.

That included hiring Germantown Contracting to move the 1,250-square-foot train depot from Dundee to Tunica.

Crews had to cut the roof off the building to keep it from hitting power lines.

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