BY DANZA JOHNSON
SALTILLO – History stayed true to its word and repeated itself in Saltillo on Saturday.
For the second time since 1990, the Mississippi State Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution dedicated a concrete marker to celebrate one of the first concrete roads south of the Mason-Dixon line located right in Saltillo.
More than 50 people, including State Representative Steve Holland and Tupelo City Council President Dick Hill attended the ceremony on County Road 681.
Margaret DeMoville, a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, said she was thrilled to see such a large turnout for the rededication of the marker.
“This is a big part of our history,” said DeMoville. “This road means a lot to where the county has come from. To see so many people here to celebrate with us and who are proud of their county's history is a great thing.”
The 111-2 mile stretch of road on County Road 681 was paved on Nov. 15, 1915, and stretched from Saltillo to Verona. According to DeMoville, the original cost of the road when it was completed was $8,100 per mile. When finished, the speed limit was 15 mph.
The DAR first had a dedication in 1990, but someone stole the maker soon after the ceremony, causing the organization to spend the past few years raising money to rededicate the road.
Saltillo Mayor Bill Williams commended the ladies for their hard work in getting the road rededicated.
“We want to thank DAR for what they are doing,” said Williams. “I am really impressed with this ceremony. This is an important event for us because this is an important road in history, Saltillo and in Lee County. We have to preserve our history and this is helping to do just that.”
Hill said paving County Road 681 benefited Tupelo and all other parts of Lee County.
Despite nearly 100 years of wear and tear, many in attendance marveled at how well the old road has held up.
Jimmy Collins and his wife Margaret said they are longtime Saltillo residents but didn't know the road they have often traveled had historical significance.
“When you look at these new roads with pot holes and craters in the road and then you look at this 90-something-year-old road you're just amazed at how well it still looks,” said Collins. “It seems like the old stuff was built to last and the new stuff isn't.”
The new maker reads, “Dedicated Feb. 15, 1990, and rededicated April 26, 2008.
Contact Danza Johnson at 678-1583 or firstname.lastname@example.org