JASPER COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) - Places come and then they go. Three on the Road takes us to what used to be one of the most influential towns in Mississippi. It's not much more than a crossroads today; Paulding in Jasper County.
"It's a historical place," said James Hare. "I was told by my grandfather years ago that this was called the Queen City of the East because everything was going on here.
Even my new buddy James Hare of Paulding will admit that's not the case anymore. Paulding ceded its Queen-ness back before the Civil War when the railroads bypassed it and transferred its royalty to places like Laurel and Meridian.
Today, the courthouse, water association, Post Office, and St. Michael Church, which is the 2nd oldest Catholic congregation in Mississippi, are the only entities still in business here. The old jail is even crumbling and hasn't been needed in anybody's memory.
Back in the 50's, we had THREE stores in Paulding," added Hare. "Here it was a farm community so this is part of the warehouse here where they used to put the fertilizer and all the seeds and everything they used on the farm.
So, what happened to Paulding to make it more of a memory than anything?
Stopped farming. No farming going on and people began to move away," said Hare. "They started going into the logging business. They began to move their timber faster. Began to grow it faster. Plant a tree today and in eight years from now, you can cut it.
However, Paulding has managed to acquire one asset as its commerce has fallen away that attracts people like James Hare to move back home.
"Quietness," said Hare. "You know it's not the rigmarole of a big city. See. I lived in Joliette, Illinois from '57 to 85.
So in its maturity, Paulding may no longer be QUEEN city of the east but has become the QUIET city of the east. And is attracting a lot of loyal subjects in the process.