My current research on the Green Book Travel Guide took me to Jackson for the weekend. Though my primary purpose was photographing extant sites from listings for Jackson, I can never pass up the opportunity for any interesting or unique piece of history. Last time I was on Farish Street, the Crystal Palace was a mess, so it was stand out to see the building has been revitalized and is now a restaurant and club. The first thing that caught my eye was the window-sized portraits of entertainers. Among the entertainers who played the Crystal Palace were Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, and Count Basie.
The Crystal Palace was constructed c. 1935 in an Art Deco style, and originally featured
…Art Deco concrete enrichment in an arrow motif. (Adele Cramer, 1979, nomination form for the Farish Street Historic District, NRHP)
and a stepped parapet. The first floor was store space, which housed Harmon’s Drug Store in 1951. It was also home to the Mississippi Free Press. Following the renovations, the first floor is now home to Johnny T’s Bistro, while the second floor–the original dance hall–houses the Club 540 Ultra Lounge. Johnny T is John Tierre Miller, and assisted by Chef Brian Myrick, is investing in Farish Street through the “most celebrated club on Farish Street in the 1930s and 1940s.” Jackson was the Crossroads of the South, and a stopping point for musicians traveling between Memphis and New Orleans, and on the east-west circuit in the south.
Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Historic Resources Inventory.
Adele Cramer, 1979 nomination form for the Jackson Historic District.
Donna Ladd, February 26, 2004, Farish Street Blues: Rebuilding a ‘Music Town” by Scott Barretta, Jackson Free Press.
E. Waibel, September 14, 2011, The Past Lives On, Jackson Free Press.
R. James-Terry, July 26, 2015, Johnny T’s Brings Life to Farish Street, The Clarion-Ledger.