MOUNT OLIVE'S CROSSROADS
It is appropriate that the small town of Mount Olive was selected to host the Crossroads exhibit, for Mount Olive has been a crossroad for community activities since its establishment one hundred and twenty years ago.
Mount Olive was first a railroad and lumber town. The town was drawn up around the route of the Gulf and Ship Island Railroad in 1899, and country roads radiated out from the town in all directions. Lumber was shipped out from the three mills around town until all the timber was cut; small farms surrounded the area, and farmers continued to purchase supplies in town well into the 1960s. Cucumbers and cotton were brought to market at the gins and the Brown-Miller pickle facility. On Saturdays there was hardly a parking place to be found as families came to visit general merchandise, grocery and farm stores.
Highway 49 was paved through town in the 1930s and remained a major transportation artery for travelers going to the coast. Mount Olive had the only four lane portion of the highway, so travelers were glad for a break as they drove the tree-lined boulevard. Highway 35, a major east-west state-maintained highway came through town from Smith County and continued to Jefferson Davis and Marion counties.
Change happened in Mount Olive when traffic no longer came through town. Highway 49 was four-laned in the 1970s and bypassed downtown as it did most of the small towns along the route of the railroad. Highway 35 moved south of town when new bridges were built over the Okatoma in the 1980s. The main street of town with its surrounding houses and businesses has recently been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and there is a continuing effort to revitalize the downtown business district.
JANE BLAIN BREWER MEMORIAL LIBRARY
The library in Mount Olive was established in the late 1950s in a small building on Sixth Street. Soon after its establishment, the library became part of the Pine Forest Regional Library System and remained a part of that system until August 15, 2011. At that time the three libraries in Covington County were established as the Covington County Library System.
The building that now houses the library was constructed in the early 1980s using an LSCA grant from the Mississippi Library Commission. It is attached to the Mount Olive City Hall and is named the Jane Blain Brewer Memorial Library for a local civic leader.
* Jane Blain Brewer Memorial Library is the official exhibition host for the Crossroads event in Mount Olive.
(Mount Olive Crossroads Event Host)