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Cotesworth Center hosts MDA, Main Street

Mississippi legislators, state and local tourism representatives, Main Street directors, and community leaders representing towns and cities along Heritage Highway 82 will be gathering for a reception at the Cotesworth Center for Culture and Heritage in North Carrollton on Friday, May 10 from 4-6 p.m.

The occasion at Cotesworth is in celebration of the historic home recently becoming a cultural heritage center. With the recent designation of Highway 82 as the state’s first heritage highway, which runs through Carroll County, the addition of Cotesworth as another tourism destination adds to the multiple attractions along the route.

The Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA) and the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) Division of Tourism are sponsoring the reception in honor of Senator Lydia Chassaniol, Representative Rita Martinson and other members of the state tourism committees in the Mississippi legislature.

Sen. Chassaniol of Winona serves as the Tourism Chair in the Mississippi Senate and led the efforts to include the acquisition of Cotesworth in the recent tourism bond bill that was passed by the legislature. Funds were included in the bill that will develop Cotesworth into a tourism destination.

“Cotesworth brings a special opportunity for cultural and heritage tourism in Mississippi,” Chassaniol said. “Easily accessible from U.S. Hwy 82 and from Interstate 55, cultural and heritage tourists who long to see what a real Mississippi farm was like in the mid-nineteenth century need only take a scenic drive to the graceful entryway.”

“Cotesworth offers something for those who are interested in agriculture, law, architecture, political and even movie history as much of the hit movie “The Help” was filmed here,” she said. “When the project is complete, there will be nothing else like it in Mississippi.”

“Cotesworth’s significance to Mississippi’s cultural heritage is multi-faceted,” said Sarah McCullough, Cultural Heritage Program Manager, MDA, Division of Tourism. “It began as a stagecoach stop in the mid-nineteenth century and became the home of J. Z. George, who served as United States Senator, Chief Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court, and drafter of the state constitution. He was known as ‘The Great Commoner’.”

Aside from its connection to J. Z. George, Cotesworth is of architectural significance as it is an example of Greek Revival architecture and boasts an extraordinary hexagonal library.

A working farm also surrounds the historic home.

“The acreage adjacent to the house that comprises the Cotesworth Center for Culture and Heritage provides a wonderful space to develop an agri-tourism program that can also serve as an educational program for Mississippians on the value of producing our own food,” McCullough said.

“Its location in Carroll County provides the ideal opportunity to link the Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area and the Delta National Heritage Area, which are two of the most recently designated National Heritage areas in the country,” she added.

In addition to Cotesworth in Carrollton, representatives from Main Street and MDA Tourism will be traveling along Highway 82 and exploring the towns and cities of Columbus, Eupora, Greenville, Greenwood, Indianola, Kilmichael, Leland, Starkville, Vaiden and Winona as part of a regional tourism initiative from May 10-12 during National Tourism Week.

“The reason for this regional road trip is to see these familiar Mississippi cities and towns through the eyes of a first-time tourist,” said Bob Wilson, MMSA Executive Director. “Our group will be eating and shopping and visiting museums while keeping up with our individual expenses. At the end of the trip, we will report our expenses as a way to show what tourism brings to our local economies and to our state.”

Source: Mississippi Main Street

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