Feb
1

Wait a minute – the Crossroads is for SALE?!?!

Now you can own – literally – a HUGE piece of the Blues pie

The CrossroadsFor better or for worse, you read the title correctly.

The legendary crossroads, where 49 and 61 intersect in Clarksdale MS, the spot where (allegedly) Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil, where thousands of blues fans pay their homage each year…  is for sale.

After an interesting post was made on this site, I contacted the poster and got all the details before the listing has even been made.  It’s a thedeltablues excusive, and you heard it here first.

Read more to learn more about the property, what is included in the sale, what the previous owner had planned out for the property, and even the listing price.

I was contacted today by Molly Phillips after leaving her several messages about what she had posted on this site.  I didn’t know (and still don’t) whether to be extremely saddened, or rather excited.  Perhaps it was (and is) a bit of both.

The Crossroads is for sale.

I immediately thought “How could Clarksdale, making a good bit of its money on tourism possibly allow this to happen?”  Turns out it’s not really up to them.  It also turns out that the ENTIRE Crossroads is not for sale.  But a huge chunk of the land – and a piece of blues history – definitely is.

Molly informed me that the property for sale sits snugly on the Northeast corner of the legendary Crossroads.  The property was intended to be turned into a large park – one that featured Robert Johnson, the blues, and history.  It was also to include a large hotel, a brick “blues walk” where fans could even buy bricks, and was all designed by a famous artist.  Although the “pie shaped” lot is what is currently up for sale, the plan was to buy the large chunk of land around this lot in order to create the park.  That land was never bought – and due to economic issues, the financing has all come crashing down.

Included in the sale, though, is more than just the land.  You get the land, all the plans for the park, and more.  The park has already been sanctioned by the mayor of Clarksdale, as well as the city.  The park itself was designed by Earl Klatzel, and is a beautifully designed park including a blues walk, history, an outdoor stage, and more.  But wait – there is more.  Once the park was built, the city has agreed to move the famous sign, indicating it as the crossroads, to the tip of the park.  This leads me to believe if the land is bought, and the park is built, the sign will become a part of the park, and someone will indeed own a huge chunk of blues history.

All in all, this could be what Clarksdale needs.  If the park, and the “old” plan to erect a 5 story hotel on the adjacent property are carried out by the new owner, it could help spawn an even larger tourism draw that the city could definitely use.  So it is true – you can now, in a way, own the crossroads.  I sure hope whomever buys it has a taste for history, and it still becomes a park, and not a condo complex.

So how much is all of this?  How much does it cost to own the land, the mayor and city “ok”, the movement of the sign, the park drawings, etc?

Just a mere $350,000.  (that’s no typo)

Buy a “Save the Crossroads” shirt here.

Contact Molly, the agent selling the property, by clicking here.

11 Comments to “Wait a minute – the Crossroads is for SALE?!?!”

  • Maybe Morgan Freeman will come to the rescue. A crossroads Wal-Mart would be a horrifying thought.

  • I hope somebody does. I know there are a lot of blues fans, but probably few that have the resources to do anything with the land once it is bought – but I am hoping Morgan Freeman, Robert Plant, Clapton, and all the big RJ fans can get something done. Or even locally – maybe the city of Clarksdale can step up and save it. I don’t know.

    All I can say is, I hope it doesn’t become a Wal-mart….

  • I was born, raised and have lived all my life in Clarksdale. And I can tell you this – that is NOT the spot where RJ (allegedly) sold his soul to Satan. That intersection WASN’T EVEN THERE in the 1930s. It’s just a spot that C’dale deemed the Crossroads sometime after the story became popular enough that we could make money off of it. I’m not knocking my town for this – we could use all the tourist money we can get. But there’s no reason for blues fans to be upset by this. That intersection has no historical significance whatsoever.

  • John,

    I know exactly what you are saying. This site does not claim it to be the “real” crossroads – for that discussion, see here: http://blues.jfrewald.com/?p=18

    However, I do disagree a little bit. Since it has long been touted as the crossroads, it does bear historical significance. Highway 61, even in the 30′s was a well traveled road. Perhaps that EXACT intersection was not there, but 61 and 49 did interest somewhere. And many musicians traveled through there. Also, the fact that this intersection is tied with the myth of Robert Johnson in and of itself gives it value. Regardless of whether the story is true, or if this is the real “spot”, it is none-the-less a part of the folklore and mystery surrounding Robert Johnson.

  • Don’t worry, there’s already one down the street ;)

  • I think it’s fairly well known by blues fans and folklorists alike that this isn’t the “real” crossroads. I believe, IMHO, it’s more about sentimental significance rather than historic. It’s a focal point on the blues highway and the roots of music, a good place to to start; a “You Are Here” on the map of american music. And for that reason, it would be so nice if it could be preserved.

  • Matthew with his local knowledge makes some excellent points here.Especially so from the point about this intersection not even being in existence at the time of this transaction between Johnson and the Devil took place.

    There again ,how would anyone be able to document where the actual transaction spot is located,either at this crossroads or any other nearby cross roads?

  • The “real” place where Robert Johnston sold his soul is probably a bit like the “real” place where he is buried! However, I agree that the intersection of 49 and 61, while only a designated “crossroads,” does nevertheless have historic significance, and one would hate to see it obliterated. That park sounds like a great idea. I am a photographer who lives about 15 miles south of Clarksdale in Sumner, and I have been traversing these Delta roads most of my life. At the risk of plugging my own work, here is a link to my DELTA LAND book. It consists of landscapes from around here, and I devoted quite a lot of time and energy to this project:
    http://www.amazon.com/Delta-Author-Artist-Maude-Schuyler/dp/1578061776/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1265490998&sr=8-1

  • Nice post – extremely well written as well as great sharing..

  • Maude,

    Being a fan of the Delta, I am actually already aware of your book, though I do not own it yet. You have a great eye for capturing the heart of the Delta.

    I agree with you. The park would be the “decent thing to do.” I can only hope the new owners of the property see it that way. Whether or not it is the “real” crossroads we may never know – but I do know this – there are literally thousands of crossroads throughout the Delta. The chances of it being THE one is almost impossible – but it still bears significance. I hope what comes from the property is something that can help the city of Clarksdale, and the state of Mississippi, generate more income through tourist revenue from blues fans. I know they could use it.

    Thanks again for visiting! Hope to hear from you again soon…

    Here is a view of the Photobook from our 2008 trip.

    http://www.mypublisher.com/?d=tq%3Ey-cppl%60je%3E369874%3A&_mp=IQdhpfuveJ/SNsXrQOzJgj3%2BoWA2IB96

  • Jason

    Can you please contact me by email. I am the editor of Blues In The South (see http://www.bluesinthesouth.com/about.htm ) I need your help and offer to help you

    Best wishes

    Ian M

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