town and county seat of Lawrence County, Mississippi, United States

Monticello is a town of 1,500 people (2019) on the Pearl River in Lawrence County, south Mississippi. Monticello is home to several beautiful historic buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.

Understand edit

Lawrence County Courthouse

Monticello was founded in 1798 and named for the home of Thomas Jefferson. The town's name is pronounced with a soft 'c' sound rather than the 'ch' sound used for the home of Thomas Jefferson.

Around 1810, Joseph Cooper started ferry service across the Pearl River in Monticello. Beginning around 1812, St. Stephens Road ran from Natchez, Mississippi to St Stephens, Alabama crossing the Pearl River at Monticello. As Natchez was a prominent city at the time, Monticello gained perhaps its greatest claim to fame in 1821. The Mississippi legislature selected Monticello to be the state capital. However this honor was to be short lived as the legislature reconsidered and picked Jackson the very next day.

Prior to 1860, Monticello was important economically, as the Pearl River was one of the chief north-south transportation routes through Mississippi. However, the main railroad was built through Brookhaven diverting much traffic about 20 miles to the east. Despite the advent of the railroad and its construction east of the river, the Pearl River continued to be an important waterway. Between 1880 and 1922, a shipping channel was maintained in the Pearl River as far north as Jackson, allowing Monticello to remain on a major thoroughfare.

A devastating tornado tore through Monticello in April 1882 nearly obliterating every building. After the tornado, Monticello was rebuilt over the next several years.

The main industries in Monticello and Lawrence County are based on agriculture and pine trees, although there is manufacturer of large excavator buckets in Monticello as well.

Get in edit

Map of Monticello (Mississippi)

There is no public transportation to Monticello since the passenger train depot closed more than 50 years ago; Monticello has never been serviced by intercity buses.

By car edit

Monticello can be accessed by car via US 84 and several state highways. US 84 runs through Mississippi from Natchez to Laurel via Brookhaven and Collins. Monticello is between Brookhaven and Collins. A bypass around Monticello opened in 2006 and Monticello can now be accessed by two interchanges, one at Mississippi Highway 27 and one at Old Highway 27. The old highway 84 runs straight through the town and is signed as 184. Mississippi Highway 27 runs north/south through Monticello. If one is traveling south from Jackson, Highway 27 crosses Interstate 55 at Crystal Springs and provides convenient access to Monticello via Mississippi highway 184. Smaller state highways also service Monticello; 587 serves Monticello from the south toward the small communities of White Bluff and Morgantown and originates farther south in Foxworth near Columbia. Highway 43 runs from Columbia north to Monticello on the east side of the Pearl River via Oakvale and Arm. Access to Monticello from the community of New Hebron in northeast part of Lawrence County is also provided by Highway 43.

Get around edit

As there is no public transportation in Monticello, the best ways to get around Monticello are by car and by foot. The core of Monticello is quite small and can be easily walked, Atwood Water Park and the two motels are a little farther away (each about 1 mile in different directions). This doesn't present too big a barrier, except that Atwood Water Park is across the Pearl River and the bridge over the river is particularly unfriendly for pedestrians.

Water wheel at Coopers Ferry Park

See edit

  • 1 Cooper's Ferry Park (directly behind the Civic Center). Cooper's Ferry Park features a scenic boardwalk that overlooks the Pearl River, along with a water wheel from the old gristmill. Though the water is now pumped, the water wheel still turns.
  • 2 Lawrence County Regional History Museum (in the Lawrence County Civic Center at the corner of FE Sellers highway and Broad Street), +1 601 587-4422. M Tu F 9AM-4PM, W Th 9AM-2PM. A regional history museum that explores the history of Territorial Lawrence County. It highlights the St. Stephens Road, which connected Fort St. Stephens on the Tombigbee River, north of Mobile with the Territorial Capital of Natchez on the Mississippi River. Free.
  • 3 Longino House, 700 East Broad Street. Historic home of A.H. Longino (1854-1952), the governor of Mississippi from 1900-1904. This home offers several public events throughout the year.

Do edit

The Town of Monticello operates several parks and two ball parks. Cooper's Ferry Park is just north of the Civic Center, while Atwood Water Park is a half mile east of the town center across the Pearl River. Atwood Water Park features camping opportunities as well as a boat ramp in the Pearl.

  • 1 Atwood Musical Festival, . On Memorial Day Weekend in late May, Monticello hosts the Atwood Music Festival, the longest running festival of its kind in Mississippi. The Atwood Music Festival typically headlines one or more country artists, often local to Mississippi. If you want to stay at Atwood Water Park for the festival, please note that all camping locations for the weekend typically are reserved a year in advance.    
  • 2 Atwood Water Park, 1362 East Broad Street (on Highway 184, about a mile east of the city center just across the Pearl River). Atwood Water Park has a 1.5 mile paved walking trail, tennis courts, and playgrounds. It also has boatramp that is open to anyone who has a boat. There is a campground at the park as well.
  • 3 Lake Mary Crawford (just north of Monticello), +1 601 587 7853. Lake Mary Crawford provides fishing opportunities for those inclined towards outdoor sports. It is managed by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks.  

Buy edit

While Monticello is small, it still has several nice places to shop. While many of these places specialize in used items, there is still a wide variety of stuff available.

  • Monticello Farmers Market (In Coopers Ferry Park behind the Civic Center). Apr-Nov: 1st Saturday of the month 8AM-noon. Local farmers sell produce in the park.
  • 1 Monticello Pawn and Outdoors, 1347 West Broad Street (Monticello Pawn and Outdoors is next to Los Parriellos near the two motels on Broad Street.). Tu-F 9AM-6PM; Sa 9AM-2PM. Monticello Pawn and Outdoors sells used items of all types, specializing in outdoor sports equipment.
  • River Bend House of Brews, 235 Charles E. Bufkin Street, +1 601 748 1488. M-W 10AM-6PM, Th 10AM-7PM, F 10AM-11PM, Sa 3PM-11PM. Upstairs from the coffee shop, there is an art gallery with paintings, photographs, and other artwork for sale.
  • 2 Village Antiques, 223 East Broad Street (a couple blocks east of the traffic light), +1 601 660 7766. W-F 10AM-5PM; Sa 10AM-2PM. This antiques shop has a wide selection of goods from furniture to housewares. Many of them are quite nice.

Eat edit

Monticello is home to a variety of local dining options as well as a number of well-known chains.

  • 1 Catfish One, 163 West Broad Street (just to the west of McDonalds at the traffic light), +1 601 587 5431. Th-Sa 11AM-8PM. Catfish One serves an array of fried seafood specializing in Mississippi farm-raised catfish. With the fried fish, one can get hush puppies, fries and other sides.
  • 2 China Wok, 316 F.E. Sellers Highway (on F.E. Sellers Highway south of the traffic light near the Ramey's supermarket.), +1 601 806 5080. M-Th 10:30AM-9:30PM; F Sa 10:30AM-10:30PM; Su 12:30-8:30PM. Offering takeout, China Wok provides a selection of Chinese dishes all served with fried rice.
  • 3 Midtown BBQ & Grill, 158 F.E. Sellers Highway (just south of the Ramey's Supermarket on F.E. Sellers Highway), +1 601 587 4782. M–Th 10AM–8PM, F Sa 10AM–9:30PM. Southern barbecue with fries and sides.
  • 4 Los Parrilleros, 1345 West Broad Street (on West Broad Street near Dollar General), +1 601 806 5005. Daily 10AM-10PM. A wide selection of Tex-Mex dishes.
  • 5 Pizza Inn, 429 West Broad Street (on West Broad Street a couple blocks from the Post Office), +1 601 587 4041. Su-Th 11AM-10PM; F Sa 11AM-11PM. Pizza for delivery and carryout. Pizza Inn also has an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet every day. A specialty at Pizza Inn is the chocolate chip "Pizzart", a sweet spin on a pizza.
  • 6 Miss K's, 304 West Broad Street (on West Broad Street a few blocks from the traffic light across from the Busy Bee gas station), +1 601 587 7313. Miss K's is local fast food place with a couple locations in south Mississippi. It specializes in hamburgers and hotdogs with chili during the day. In the morning it offers a southern breakfast.

Drink edit

While alcoholic beverages are legal within the city limits of Monticello, only beer and light wine are legal throughout the rest of Lawrence County. Any wine or liquor purchased in Monticello cannot be legally taken into the surrounding county. There are no bars in Monticello, although there is a local Coffee shop and two liquor stores.

  • 1 Andy's Liquour, 317 Main St (Right across Main St from Town Hall), +1 601-213-5645. M-Sa 10AM-8PM. A liquor store.
  • 2 Monticello Donuts and Kolaches, 746 West Broad St. 5 AM - 2PM. drive-thru serving donuts, kolaches, and coffee
  • 3 Pleasure Land Wine & Liquor, 3136 Highway 27 (at the corner of Broad Street and Highway 27, across from Duncan Chevron), +1 601 756-0873. M-Sa 10AM-10PM. A liquor store run by the Pleasure Point Inn.
  • 4 River Bend House of Brews, 235 Charles E. Bufkin Street (behind the Civic Center to the right of Coopers Ferry Park), +1 601 748 1488, . M–W 10AM-6PM, Th 10AM-7PM, F 10AM-11PM, Sa 3PM-11PM. River Bend House of Brews offers a selection of gourmet coffees and teas along with beer and a few mixed drinks. Some of the teas are locally sourced from the Great Mississippi Tea Company about 15 miles to the west. There is usually live entertainment on the weekends. $3-10; $7 cover when there is live entertainment.

Sleep edit

The Town of Monticello is served by two motels near the intersection of Mississippi Highway 27 and Highway 184 in the western part of Monticello. There are also camping opportunities at Atwood Water Park and Lake Mary Crawford. Atwood Water Park has tent camping, cabins, and full RV hookups.

  • 1 Liberty Inn, 3127 Highway 27 South (corner of Broad Street (MS 184) and MS Highway 27.), +1 601 587 8144. This independent motel has been a fixture of Monticello since the early 2000s.
  • 2 Pleasure Point Inn & Suites, 1711 West Broad St, +1 601 573 1403. An independent motel in the old Monticello Inn.

Go next edit

  • 1 Great Mississippi Tea Company, 2575 East Lincoln Road Brookhaven MS (From Monticello follow Thomas E. Jolly Road southeast from F. E. Sellers highway past MS Highway 27 and continue for 5.8 miles to East Lincoln Road. Turn right on East Lincoln road and drive 10.8 miles. The Great Mississippi Tea Company will be on your left.), +1 601 823-4295, . A locally owned tea farm that offers tours as well as overnight stays for those who have a camper/RV. Please call ahead and make an appointment for all tours as there may not be anyone available to give a tour if you don't have an appointment. $10 for basic tour of farm.
  • The Long Leaf Trace is a multi-use path, built on converted railroad track, that runs 44 miles from Prentiss (about 20 miles east of Monticello) to Hattiesburg in Southwest Mississippi. It is open year-round to walking, biking and horseback riding. There are stations with parking and restrooms in Prentiss, Carson, Bassfield, Sumrall, and Hattiesburg. Several campgrounds offering various types of camping are adjacent to the Long Leaf Trace.
  • 2 Red Bluff (21 miles south of Monticello on Highway 587). Red Bluff is a natural cliff formed by erosion in red clay overlooking the Pearl River in northern Marion county. Much of the Pearl River basin in Marion county as well as parts of Columbia can be viewed from the top of the Bluff. There are no amenities (restrooms, etc.) at Red Bluff so please keep that in mind if you decide to visit.    
Routes through Monticello
NatchezBrookhaven  W   E  CollinsEvergreen
Vicksburg  N   S  New Orleans

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