A small house with wooden siding propped up on brick supports stands behind the Heritage House in Hazlehurst, Mississippi. This structure is what’s left of the original birth home of bluesman Robert Johnson.
Perhaps you’ve heard the story that Johnson met the devil at the crossroads and sold his soul in exchange for his musical talent. While that bit of his story is made up, there’s no doubt that Johnson was a gifted musician.
Born on the outskirts of Hazlehurst on May 8, 1911, Johnson spent part of his childhood in Memphis, where he developed a love for music. In addition to singing and writing songs, Johnson played several instruments, including the guitar, harmonica, and jaw harp. Johnson died on August 16, 1938, near Greenwood, Mississippi. Though he was not widely known during his lifetime, Johnson is now recognized as a master blues musician. Other artists who have cited his music as inspiration include Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac, and the Rolling Stones.
The house was moved from its original location on Damascus Road to Miller Road when Highway 55 was constructed. In 2008, it was placed under the ownership of Copiah County Board of Supervisors and moved to its current location on S Lowe Street behind the Heritage House Cultural Center located at 201 Downing Street in downtown Hazelhurst.
On its face, the building is not much to look at, but if you are knowledgeable about and an avid fan of Mr. Johnson, the house holds incredible significance. Copiah County is currently raising funds to have the building completely restored and it has been added as a significant feature of the famed Mississippi Blues Trail.
Know Before You Go
The property is located directly behind the Heritage House at 201 Downing St which is adjacent to the Copiah County Courthouse property.