Stories of the South - Mantee, MS Part I GM&N Depot
Mantee is located at the intersection of hwy 15 and 46 in Webster County Mississippi. When I was growing up Mantee was still a vibrant little place with a grocery store, bank, farm store, service station, beauty shop, car wash, post office, fire station, and several other small businesses. By the way....does anyone else remember the ladies’s custom clothing store? They had samples you could look at and you would pick your style and color of fabric, they would measure you, you would pay a deposit, and in a week or so you would pick it up. Anyway….
I took a bunch of pictures last summer and I think I’m going to break them up into a couple of different posts. I found a great timeline for the history of the town at ancestry.com and that link is HERE. Briefly this is just a quick history of the town, I’ll do a little more in depth coverage in later posts.
In 1890 the first census of the area was taken and around 1892 the first store was built and the area was called the Center Grove Community. In 1895 the postal authority informed the new postmaster there already was a town called Center Grove in Oktibbeha County so a new name was requested. The first postmaster S.F. Gullett sent in the name “Monte” the name of one of his daughters. It was misspelled Mantee and the error was never corrected.Like a lot of small towns in Mississippi Mantee sprung up after the Civil War around the recently built railroad. In fact the town does not sit in the original location it was founded. When the railroad came through the area in 1904 built by M.J. and K.C. Railroad this actually caused the town to relocate to be closer to it. In 1906 Mantee had seven stores, a cotton gin, sawmill, livery stable, one hotel, and the school. The first church was built in 1908.
The first school was established around 1900 named Mantee Normal Institute with a tuition of $7.00 per month. And something Suzassippi might be interested in, the original school burned in 1920 and was torn down and in 1931 a new one was built by the WPA. I’m sorry to say it burned too somewhere around in the 1990s. I had family that attended school there and it was a beautiful red brick building that sat right outside of town.
Mantee was such a big part of my childhood and I’d like to share some history with you about it and just a couple of childhood stories too. Today, we’ll start with the old railroad depot.Last year Mom and Dad let me know that it had been moved back to First Street, what I always called Main Street, right across from the bank. A little digging revealed that low and behold in 2012 Mantee had received a grant in the amount of $130,150 to move the Depot, stabilize, and renovate it. According to the Webster Progress-Times online it will be used as a welcome center and community center once complete. I decided to take a few before shots and can’t wait until they are finished.
This would be the second time the depot has been moved. It originally sat on First Street and was built in 1907. Years ago it was moved a little ways down the street to the west on county road 300 and sat in front of Mantee Lake. The lake was built to provide water for steam engines by the way. It’s been unused for years as the railroad abandoned the section of line that serviced Mantee, Woodland, Cumberland, Dancy, etc. March 1, 1982. If only I had my grandmother’s Webster County pictorial history book, I’m sure there’s more information in there. So, please feel free to comment below any and all history, remembrances, anecdotes, memories, or of course corrections to any info you see above. We may just let this be Mantee, MS week as I have two more entries typed up that just need a little editing. What do you say? Have a good evening my lovelies!
History of Mantee, MS from Ancestry.comBeumont to New Albany from abandonedrails.com
MDAH awards grant for Mantee Depot The Webster-Progress Times
Misssissippi Department of Archives and History record of Mantee Depot