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Alice's Restaurant: 1939

September 1939. "Street on Saturday afternoon in Belzoni, Mississippi Delta." Medium format negative by Marion Post Wolcott. View full size.

September 1939. "Street on Saturday afternoon in Belzoni, Mississippi Delta." Medium format negative by Marion Post Wolcott. View full size.


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Sideway signs

What's missing in this modern day and age are the old style signs that protrude above the sidewalks.

From the 1939 pic just by a glance I would know what businesses lay ahead and from the google street view supplied by arch fan (thank you), with the almost every establishment and business displaying their brand, but today you see none of this.

Unless you lived in that area you would have no idea what lies ahead as you're going down that road.

I now have a real appreciation of how branding and signage was done back then.

Well Known Wallace Shows Entertainers

Well known now but not so much then.

Clyde Beatty -- famous animal trainer.

Joe Skelton, the father of Red Skelton, once worked as a clown in the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus. Red himself performed with the same circus as a teenager before entering vaudeville.

Emmett Kelly got his start as "Weary Willie" during the Great Depression with Hagenbeck-Wallace.

Maria Rasputin, daughter of that infamous Russian mystic.

Hoot Gibson -- in 1937 this cowboy, rodeo performer, and movie actor performed with the circus.

A little Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus History

It took me a while

to figure out that IMP.CO on the truck in the intersection stands for Implement - as in farm equipment. I didn't even google it.


Concrete pavement proves its superiority as witnessed in the street view of its present condition. Kudos to the city officials who originally made that choice.


I was going to comment that Alice's Cafe not having a Coke sign violates Shorpy's longstanding policy of including a Coke sign on every venue. But then I looked across the street where the Coke signs clearly met or exceeded standards. Whew.

I Have To Ask

Just what are those bags for? Is it to weigh down the front when there is a huge stash in the trunk? What? Can anyone tell me?

[They keep your cotton from spilling all over the road. - Dave]

[Thanks mate! I knew you would know - Baxado]


This seems to be it. On the left, the front of Alice's seems to have been rebuilt, but Goldberg's is still there. On the right, Ken's Discount Furniture still has the ball-on-top-of-block at the corner of the building. The fruit market's windows have been bricked up, but there's still a gas station on the far right.

Alas, all of the cool deco/neon signage is gone.

Goldberg's of Belzoni

The fate of Alice's Cafe is unknown, but there is still a "Goldberg's" in this location (North Hayden Street) in Belzoni. It is no longer a grocery store (once known as "The Home of Good Things to Eat"), but is a department store. Opened by Joe Goldberg in 1916, it recently celebrated its centennial.

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