BROOKHAVEN, has practically outlived its antebellum character and with its dairying interests has become a lively modern town. Until 1851, when it was the first northern terminus of the New Orleans & Great Southern R.R., Brookhaven was little more than a straggling group of plantations centered about the crossroads store of Samuel Jayne, who had settled here in 1818. With the advent of the railroad, it slowly took shape as a village of wealthy merchants who ensconced their families in great white-columned homes to live leisurely but formal social lives. Until 1907 it was a place where ladies never made calls without hats and gloves, where the blinds were drawn for afternoon siestas, where streets were unpaved and shadowy with the arching branches of live oak trees, and where the daily arrival of the train and the mail were events to be anticipated. In that year, however, Brookhaven broke with its staid past to pioneer in a new activity in the State. The creamery established here was the first in Mississippi. Today the town is the hub of southern Mississippi’s dairying country, supplying a great part of the milk products shipped to New Orleans. It has a well-knit business section and asphalt-paved streets; and sons and daughters have left outmoded rambling Colonial-style homes to follow every architectural fad in house building. Only burgeoning oaks and here and there a landmark are left as relics of the former easy village life.
— Mississippi, A Guide to the Magnolia State (WPA, 1938)
Brookhaven, Mississippi (pop. 12,520)—a town that keeps changing.
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David Jones is a State Guide to Mississippi. While going to school, he lived in five of the Southern states, from Virginia to Texas. Currently he can be found traveling the highways and back roads of Mississippi, helping people out when he can and exploring the hidden treasures of the state. You can find him on tumblr at woodprof.tumblr.com.