Stackhouse to be honored with Blues Trail marker

Published 8:00 pm Sunday, September 23, 2012

A ceremony unveiling the latest marker on the Mississippi Blue Trail will be held in Wesson Wednesday.

     The marker, honoring Houston Stackhouse, will be placed in front of the Old Wesson Public School, which is slated to become a community center.

     Mayor Alton Shaw began working several months ago to put a marker honoring Stackhouse in Wesson and is pleased to see the payoff to his work nearly here.

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     “It went faster than I thought (it would), which is strange for government,” Shaw said. “But I’m OK with that.”

     Houston Stackhouse was born Houston Goff in Wesson in 1910 and also lived in Crystal Springs for a time. He’s famed for teaching and mentoring other blues artists, including his cousin Robert Nighthawk.

     Stackhouse died in Helena, Ark., in 1980.

     Stackhouse had been on a list of artists eyed for a marker by the Mississippi Development Authority when Shaw contacted them with the missing piece: a location for the marker.

     Wesson will join area cities and towns including Brookhaven, Hazlehurst, Crystal Springs, Monticello and McComb in notching a place on the Mississippi Blues Trail.

     Wesson city leaders and MDA representatives will formally dedicate the marker Sept. 26 at 2 p.m. The public is invited to the ceremony, and Shaw said he’ll probably open up the Old Wesson Public School and have some light refreshments available.

     The largely completed renovations to the old school will be view.

     Plans to renovate the building into a community center have been ongoing for years, but the end is finally in sight. Shaw estimates about 90 percent of the work on the school is done.

     All that remains is to finish work on the elevator, a stage lift and some rear parking. Shaw is optimistic some grant money will be available to help with these remaining projects.

     What’s on display Wednesday, though, should look complete.

     “What people will see is mostly finished,” Shaw said.