THE GREYHOUND BUS BUILDING
D n english
I saw the news released concerning John Allen winning yet more praises for his renovating yet another historic building.
Well deserved as far I am concerned.
This time it was the Greyhound Bus Station. Working downtown I have so many wonderful stories that were shared with me at the bus station . I would walk down and sit on a bench talking to individuals waiting on a bus or waiting for a family member to come to pick them up.
Let me share one of these stories shared with me in 1998.
I was about to leave the office at the Phythian building to go and tend to my dogs since I knew I would be working late.
(Back then my 2nd job as a researcher and PI had no set hours)
As I left the office I ran into a young man that was walking up from the bus station. He stopped and asked what was open to get a bite to eat. I pointed him in the direction of Burger King.
When I got back I saw he was sitting on the steps out front playing his guitar. I parked my car ,walked back to check on him
and asked permission to join him. I had brought some cookies and bottled water just in case I ran into him again.
As we sat there eating cookies he told me his story. His father was raised in Jackson and had married a lady from Ohio. Then when he was ten the family moved to Ohio to help his mother’s family. His father ran the family store becoming very successful but never forgetting Jackson.
“You would not believe all the stories I heard.”he said
We locked his guitar and bag in the office and started walking around downtown sharing stories about downtown. He said this was so much fun. His father passed the year before and had not been back to Jackson since he moved up North. His father had seen all his children get their college degrees. He had only had one request that least one of the children come back and visit Jackson. Since he was the wanderlust son and was on his way to Nashville he decided to make a detour to Jackson.
I walked him back to the bus station he told me he had a job waiting for him at a music publishing company. I wished him luck and off he went to start the next chapter in his life happy he had completed his father’s request.
Now for the history of the Greyhound Bus Line which was founded in 1914 and started stops in Jackson in the late 1920’s.
In the early 1920’s even though rail travel was still around there were several bus lines that serviced the small communities transporting individuals and light freight. For example companies like Dixie Bus Line Tri State, Shorty, Gibbs ,Smith Motor Coach and Harrell Bus Line. The first bus station was located at Chester and Market* where the Federal Courthouse is now.
In 1938 Hubert Owens Construction Co built a new bus terminal in the 400 block of East Main. As time went on more automobiles were available the other bus lines disappeared.
Greyhound stood strong in 1987 the company moved to North Jackson that same year it moved back downtown.
Later the company made the decision to relocate, the building was left to be sold.
Can you imagine all the individuals that have gone through those door. Young people moving to the large city to start their new jobs or start there college or trade school education. Young men and women headed off to boot camp , families on vacation, ladies going for a few days of shopping in Memphis or Nashville and the soldiers coming home. The stories that could be told if the walls could talk.**
The family that owned the building sold it to John Allen a couple years ago . His bringing the building back to life included all the neon lights is beautiful and appreciated.
Now all we have to do is-see what the next chapter of this loved building will reveal.
*Market St is now known as Highland
**Downtown Wanderings I 2002 d n english