Greater Belhaven's two neighborhoods - Belhaven and Belhaven Heights - are a trip back to a slower time. Greater Belhaven remains one of the most historically intact neighborhoods in the country, stretching from High Street to Woodrow Wilson and from Congress Street to I-55.
Here, we chat with our neighbors on sidewalks, we know our local grocer and each other! Come visit awhile. Have a cup of coffee at our Saturday morning Greater Belhaven Market, grab a bite to eat at our restaurants, check out our shops and stores, our schools and colleges, our churches, our workout centers and our parks. Plus, in Greater Belhaven we have a front row seat to the downtown cultural scene - symphonies, art exhibits, music venues, and great theatre. Shopping and dining at Highland Village, Banner Hall and Fondren Corner is just minutes away and makes living in our neighborhood even more extraordinary.
Articles About the History of Belhaven
The following articles were featured in the Greater Belhaven's e-newlsetter Neighborhood News. Belhaven residents, Bill and Nan Harvey, wrote these interesting articles about the neigborhood. You can learn more about Bill and Nan. Click here to sign up for the Neighborhood News.
A Beanery in Belhaven Heights
Belhaven - Our Neigborhood University
On the Street Where You Live
1808 and a Rite of Passage
Sylvandell - Its more than a myth
The Day the King Came to Belhaven
The Pink Apartments
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For a well-organized neighborhood no one can beat Greater Belhaven’s four groups.
The Greater Belhaven Neighborhood Foundation (GBNF), a 501c (3) non-profit group governed by a board of directors with representation from Belhaven and Belhaven Heights, works to improve and revitalize the area. Through long-range planning, economic restructuring, historic preservation, green space enhancement, and plans for improving Fortification Street, the Foundation makes a difference.
Friends of Laurel Street Park, a committee of GBNF, works to improve and maintain Laurel Street Park with the assistance of the City of Jackson parks department.
The Belhaven Improvement Association (BIA) and The Belhaven Heights Community Association (BHCA) are our homeowner associations which work with residents to protect and improve property concerning issues such as code enforcement.
For more information on the BIA (homeowners north of Fortification Street), click here.
For more information on the BHCA (homeowners south of Fortification Street), click here.
Our Security Association
The Greater Belhaven Security Association (GBSA) keeps our neighborhood safe by providing private security patrols to augment the Jackson Police Department. For more information on the Greater Belhaven Security Association, click here.
We love a reason to celebrate, and we love getting together with our neighbors and friends at festivals, the most notable being our street party “Bright Lights, Belhaven Nights”, held one magical August night each year when we celebrate and promote our unique community heralded by its artists, musicians, and merchants. Stroll up and down Carlisle Street, from New Stage Theatre to the English Village Shopping Center (McDade’s), and jive to the live music, check out the arts and crafts booths, and sample the exotic festival food prepared by Greater Belhaven restaurants and vendors.
Some of Jackson’s most exciting events are held up and down the North State Street corridor just five minutes away from Greater Belhaven. From Highland Village to Hal ‘n Mals and from Fondren to the Mississippi Museum of Art, we are the middle of Jackson’s Cultural Center.
Head downtown to JubileeJam!, the Farish Street Festival, and our nationally known St. Paddy’s Day Parade. And, in the nearby Fondren neighborhood, you can browse intriguing shops and attend monthly gallery openings during Fondren Art Mix. Check out other festivals held throughout the year at nearby LeFleur’s Bluff State Park, the Natural Science Museum, and the Agriculture Museum.
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The Arts and Literature
In central Jackson, the arts are celebrated in nearly every block.
Want to sit back and be entertained? New Stage Theatre, Mississippi's only professional theater, is located in the heart of Greater Belhaven. At New Stage you also can attend everything from Shakespeare and Broadway musicals, to independent films, edgy late night comedy acts, and newly discovered plays funded through the Eudora Welty New Plays Series. As one of the South's oldest theatres, an exciting line up is offered year-round. To go to New Stage's website, click here.
In nearby downtown Jackson, live performances enchant Jackson audiences at Thalia Mara Auditorium, including the International Ballet Competition held every four years.
What ever beat you're looking for you'll find it in Greater Belhaven. Check out the rhythm at the authentic 930 Blues Café on North Congress Street, Fenian's Irish Pub on Fortification Street, or head down to the Commerce Street clubs catch the bands live each weekend.
To go to the 930 Blues Club's website, click here
To go to Fenian's website, click here
For current music attractions, click here. (Jackson Free Press website).
Artists studios and galleries abound in and around Greater Belhaven, including the Municipal Art Gallery on North State Street, college galleries and the state's acclaimed Mississippi Museum of Art, where you can see the latest traveling art show or the visit the "Mississippi Story" exhibit which includes a number of our neighborhood artists!
Millsaps College and Belhaven College both offer a never-ending arts, lectures and entertainment schedule, many of which are free to the public.
To go to Belhaven College's website, click here
To go to Millsaps College's website, click here
Experience eclectic art at the Millsaps College gallery, or become a member of the renowned Millsaps Arts and Lecture Series and the unique Bell Concert music series.
Enjoy gallery exhibits held at Belhaven College's new Bitsy Irby Visual Arts and Dance Building, or attend a ballet, musical event, or drama at Belhaven College's Center for the Arts on Riverside Drive, or look forward to bringing a blanket and listening to the Belhaven Singing Christmas Tree, the oldest annual event of its type anywhere.
Also catch a performance or a student art show at the unique Power APAC (Academic and Performing Arts Complex), an innovative public arts school right in our neighborhood.
In Greater Belhaven we love our Mississippi writers. If you're looking for unique, out-of-print books, or if other reads capture your interest, then Choctaw Books on North Street offers a large, diverse variety. Lemuria Bookstore, located in Banner Hall across from Highland Village on I-55 North, offers a versatile and comprehensive collection of Southern, national, and international literature, both fiction and non-fiction, as well as poetry. Check out two first editions rooms where you can find signed first editions of Mississippi literary geniuses, such as Jackson's own Eudora Welty. Other rare Mississippi author's first editions such as William Faulkner, Walker Percy, Willie Morris, or Ellen Douglas among others, can also be found at Lemuria. Join friends and neighbors at the inspiring author readings and signings as well.
To go to Choctaw Book's website, click here
To go to Lemuria Book's website, click here
For public libraries, the Eudora Welty Library on North State Street, or the new Willie Morris Library, just off I-55 North, gives local readers a diversity of choices of favorite reads. Need to know more? Try the new library at The Mississippi Department of Archives and History, just off North State Street. The depth of Mississippi's rich history and culture can be discovered in this beautiful setting.
The Mississippi Museum of Natural Science on Riverside Drive contains multiple collections and exhibits. Special year-long programs and events, garden tours, nature trails, fish feeding, and even snake feeding have piqued the interest of many children and their adult chaperones!
The Mississippi Children's Museum, also located on Riverside Drive, will break ground in 2008, and will celebrate Mississippi's rich history and traditions and offer exhibits and programs that are fun, creative and imaginative, through five basic themes: Mississippi Heritage, Literacy, Health and Nutrition, the Arts, and the World at Work.
Close by on Lakeland Drive, the Mississippi Agriculture Museum serves as a nostalgic walk through Mississippi's heritage. Containing various buildings which herald Mississippi's rich history of agriculture and farm life, the small "town" recreates the way a typical Mississippi town looked in the 1930s and 1940s.
Also on the ground of the "Ag" Museum, is the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum which showcases the state's legendary contributors to football, baseball, basketball, and soccer.
Downtown, the Smith Robertson Museum provides elaborate exhibits which narrate Mississippi's African American heritage.
On North State Street, the Old Capitol Museum, set to reopen in 2008 after its recovery from the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, features additional Mississippi exhibits dating to the earliest history of the state.
Visit the Greater Jackson Arts Council Cultural Tour. Click here for more details.
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Dining and Shopping
Pull up a chair in one of Greater Belhaven's eclectic restaurants and outdoor cafes.
Examples of Mississippi's finest cuisine and indigenous foods can be found in and around Greater Belhaven. From barbeque to cupcakes, we have it all! Upscale Southern cuisine, juicy barbeque, gourmet pizza and sandwiches, Greek, Irish, Italian, Mexican, and down-home plate lunches are among the choices.
Need a clever unique gift? You can find handmade soaps, candy, jewelry, lovely garden plants or flowers, and tempting gourmet items at the Greater Belhaven Market each Saturday morning.
Park your car once. Buy groceries at McDade's, eat lunch or dinner at Basil's or Pizza Shack, grab a bottle of wine at Kat's, and pick up your dry cleaning from Hallmark Cleaners.
If you want to spice up your life with an ethnic style cuisine, try La Cazuela Mexican Cantina and Grill, Fenian's Irish Pub or Keifer's for a Greek Cuisine.
For unique clothing and style, Sami Lott's Gallery is the place to go, which is right next door to Carmen's Candles, specializing in handmade candles with customs scents.
Throughout Greater Belhaven shopping and dining features a mix of art and handmade items. And, more shopping is only minutes away in the Fondren area, Highland Village, Banner Hall, or downtown Jackson.
A Well-Earned Rest
For exceptional accommodations and group events in and near Greater Belhaven are several choices. The Fairview Inn, Jackson's only Four-Diamond Bed and Breakfast Inn, offers 18 beautifully designed guest rooms, a five star restaurant, named Sophia's, and a relaxing spa all nestled in a mansion built in 1906 that is now listed on the National Historic Register.
To go to the Fairview Inn's website, click here
The Old Capitol Inn Bed and Breakfast, circa 1950, on North State Street is now restored and is home to 26 beautiful suites, an intimate dining room and garden. For modern conveniences in the midst of a multitude of restaurants and shops, try the Millsaps Cabot Lodge and Inn, also on North State Street. Various national hotel chains are conveniently located close by.
To go to the Old Capitol Inn's website, click here
To go to an information page about the Cabot Lodge, click here
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Education and Religious Institutions
Only the Greater Belhaven Neighborhood can offer such a large variety of education choices from elementary schools through graduate schools.
Many public and private education choices are available in or around Greater Belhaven. Also nearby are The Mississippi College School of Law
and the University Medical Center
Some of Jackson's oldest congregations worship in the Greater Belhaven Neighborhood and numerous historic churches
flank the neighborhood. Some of the churches, reflecting a diversity of denominations in or near Greater Belhaven are Episcopal, Methodist, Baptist, and Presbyterian. Catholic and Jewish congregations are also within easy proximity, as well as casually contemporary congregations meeting in and around central Jackson.
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History and Historic Landmarks
Greater Belhaven, including Belhaven and Belhaven Heights, serves as one of the best examples in the United States of well preserved historic districts.
The two historic districts are under the City of Jackson's Historic Preservation Ordinance administered by the Jackson Historic Preservation Commission.
From its very earliest beginnings in the 1850s, when Belhaven Heights was being developed, until the streetcars appeared in 1900 and the area now called Belhaven was started, this area of Jackson has been a Mecca of literary, cultural, and artistic growth and energy. The evolution of the two areas can be traced by looking at their diverse and eclectic architecture such as the high style, large, ornate houses to Tudors, cottages and bungalows.
Once the main artery from downtown Jackson to the "suburbs", the North State Street area between Fortification Street and Millsaps College still showcases some of the oldest mansions built by wealthy merchants in the early 1900s. By the 1920s, when the neighborhood was first included in the city limits, the new automobiles and buses helped establish Greater Belhaven as one of the most desirable places to live in the capital city. To this day, the area serves as a beacon to those residents who appreciate the history of the area and look toward the promise of its future.
Reflecting the history of America, this special Jackson neighborhood is an example of the area's development of towns, beginning in the late 1700s when a French-Canadian trapper, Louis LeFleur, built a trading post on the Pearl River. Called "Lefleur's Bluff", the tiny hamlet developed into the state capital by 1821.
Some 80 years after, the town was burgeoning, and many wealthy residents sought escape from the city's chaos and noise. The new technology of the streetcar began to spur dreams of development north and west of the city. Meadowed forests and outlying farms beyond the city limits promised opportunities for expansion. Landowners and real estate developers began subdividing those areas, which were purchased by speculators, builders, and prominent citizens.
By the late 1920s, houses populated nearly every block, and Greater Belhaven was included within Jackson city limits. The result is a constellation of homes that sparkles with history and are indicative of popular notions of 20th century building styles.
Of particular interest to both local persons and visitors, the Greater Belhaven Neighborhood Architectural Tour
gives an up-close view of our various architectural styles, including styles ranging from mansions of the early 20th century, to bungalows and cottages, to 1950s Ranch style homes. The self-guided walking or driving tour focuses on the exteriors of 21 houses in Belhaven, 13 in Belhaven Heights, and six additional landmarks. Included structures were chosen by a team of architects, historians, and preservationists. The brochure outlining the tour can be obtained from GBNF at 601-352-8850.
Three prominent historically significant house museums reside in the Greater Belhaven Neighborhood: the Eudora Welty House, the Manship House, and the Boyd House/The Oaks.
Located on Pinehurst Street, the Eudora Welty House
, constructed in 1924, was the home of internationally acclaimed Pulitzer Prize winning author Eudora Welty. On the National Register of Historic Places, the Tudor Revival house and its gardens are open for tours. A new Visitor's Center, located next door, gives guests information about the author's life and writings. Call 601-353-7762 for more information.
The Manship House
, a Gothic Revival cottage on Fortification Street, served as the home to Charles H. Manship, Civil War mayor of Jackson, and his family. Containing some original period furnishings, as well as examples of wood graining and decorative painting, the restored house is operated by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and open for public tours. Call 601-961-4724 for more information.
Also on the National Register of Historic Places is The Boyd House
, also known as The Oaks
, located on North Jefferson Street. Built around 1856, it was a residence of businessman and long time mayor James H. Boyd both before and after the Civil War, as well as future generations of his family for over 100 years. The house, which survived the burning of Jackson during the Civil War, is now a museum operated by the Colonial Dames, and offers an excellent example of a Greek Revival cottage. Call 601-353-9339 for more information.
Two historic cemeteries are located in the Greater Belhaven Neighborhood: Greenwood Cemetery
and Beth Israel Cemetery
Located between West and Lamar Streets near downtown Jackson, and originally named "The Graveyard" and later "City Cemetery", the Greenwood Cemetery, named in 1899, was established by a Federal land grant in 1821. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Greenwood Cemetery became the final resting place for Confederate generals and 100 unknown Confederate soldiers, as well as former Mississippi governors, Jackson mayors, and the Pulitzer Prize winning author Eudora Welty.
Beth Israel Cemetery, located on North State Street at Pinehurst Street, dates from 1860 and ranks as the only Jewish Cemetery in Jackson.
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Parks and Recreation
Laurel Street Park
serves as one of the most popular spots for neighborhood children and their parents. The park features a playground, picnic pavilion, and large green space, often used for pickup soccer or softball competitions. Renovated in 2000, though an ongoing partnership between the neighborhood and the City of Jackson, the park is supported by Friends of Laurel Street Park, a committee of GBNF.
Another neighborhood park, Belhaven Park
, on Poplar Boulevard, is in process of being restored and will give friends an intimate place to visit and enjoy native plants and flowers. The inviting tree-lined grounds of Belhaven College also offer a beautiful place for walking or biking.
Nearby on Riverside Drive, LeFleur's Bluff State Park
, which covers 305 acres, includes a very large playground with picnic spots, a golf course, and a driving range. Camping choices include a variety of RV pads and cabins, all nestled among nature trails, green spaces, and ponds for fishing or boating. The Museum of Natural Science
perches at the southern end of the park, and the complex also will serve as the home of the new Mississippi Children's Museum
, set to open in 2008.
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Fitness & Healthcare Facilities
For fitness, Greater Belhaven offers two fantastic options: the Baptist Health Systems' Healthplex-Jackson
with sports equipment, fitness programs, a walking track, and a lap pool; and the YMCA
at the eastern end of Fortification Street which provides a place where you can swim, run, or play all sorts of sports with friends and neighbors. And of course, there is no better exercise than walking or jogging through the Greater Belhaven Neighborhood or around the Belhaven College campus while waving to friends and neighbors, all for free!
For healthcare facilities, no area can surpass the availability and proximity that Greater Belhaven possesses. We can simply go across the street to doctor's visits, for maternity needs, or surgeries to the Baptist Medical Center
on North State Street. This facility includes the 564-bed medical center, the Mississippi Hospital for Restorative Care, the Colonnade
, and a number of related healthcare services and programs, all which began in 1911 as the "Baptist Infirmary" on the east side of North State Street in the Belhaven neighborhood. Now boasting comprehensive health care, health education, health risks assessments, and wellness, the complex ranks as one of the most advanced medical facilities in the state. A premiere cancer center, the Hederman Cancer Center
, offers patients an all encompassing program.
The University of Mississippi Medical Center
and its affiliated hospitals and clinics, and the Mississippi Methodist Rehabilitation Center
on the northern most part of the Greater Belhaven Neighborhood all provide residents of the area with a multitude of options for advanced healthcare.
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