The next stop on our Delta Tour was the Greenwood Blues Heritage Museum and Gallery, located in the building in the photo above. If you are unfamiliar with Robert Johnson, he is the Delta Blues musician who allegedly "sold his soul to the devil" in order to become the greatest guitar man ever at what is now the intersection of U. S. Highways 49 and 61 known as the "crossroads." Robert Johnson's life and music career ended early, at the age of 27, allegedly under mysterious circumstances at Three Forks, a store and club near Greenwood.
The first floor of this beautifully renovated building houses the Blue Parrot Cafe and Veronica's Bakery. The restaurant had been on our list for dinner on Monday evening, but we were disappointed to find out that it was closed on the only evening we were in town. We did buy chocolate chip cookies from the glass case of goodies at Veronica's Bakery to take with us when we left Greenwood. The only word for the cookies - divine!
On the second floor is the museum and gallery, accessed by a single flight of stairs.
In addition to green historic markers that are posted along Mississippi's highways and byways, a new set of markers, blue in color, now mark places that are significant in the state's Blues History. The marker pictured above is one of the new markers and can be seen outside the building above.
Those who participated in the renovation of this three-story brick building in Greenwood's Historic Downtown District are memorialized on this plaque outside the building.
As we ascended the stairs, we knew we were at the right place when we saw this poster of the King of the Blues, Robert Johnson.
Once we reached the second floor, we were cordially greeted by George Vasquez, Steve Lavere's son. George's friendly smile and his knowledge of his father's thirty-something years collection of Robert Johnson records and memorabilia made our visit to the museum a very pleasant one. As he gave us a personal tour of the museum, he answered all of our questions with the ultimate in expertise and patience. Although George is a Californian who moved to Greenwood specifically to work with his father in getting this important blues museum established, we immediately decided that he is also a "Southern Gentleman." Thanks, George!
Memorabilia housed in glass showcases line the walls of the museum. Interestingly, these antique wooden glass cases and storage drawers were once part of an old drug store in Greenwood and now add to the uniqueness of this extensive collection of records, books, and other memorabilia.
Although the contents of this one-of-a-kind museum are the personal collection of Steve Lavere, there are a few new items for purchase in the small museum "store" area.
As we were about to leave the museum, Robert Johnson's loyal and longtime fan, Steve Lavere, "the man behind the museum," appeared at the head of the stairs. With the permission of both Steve and George, I snapped this final picture of them with another fan of Robert Johnson, my husband, who is standing in the middle. With Veronica's cookies in hand, we left the Robert Johnson Museum headed to check out a new venture described by George and Steve as "Tallahatchie Flats."
Source: Photos are part of a Digital Collection (2009), privately owned by Janice Tracy
Next Stop: A Pictorial Visit of Tallahatchie Flats