Visit the Treehouse in Mendenhall, Mississippi
Mendenhall, Mississippi – a tiny, but mighty place and my hometown, is in the south-central part of Mississippi. It is the county seat for Simpson County, resting about an hour drive from Jackson to the North and Hattiesburg to the South. With only about 2,500 residents, Mendenhall is small, but the people make up for that with hospitality.
Originally known as Edna, Mendenhall got its name from Thomas Mendenhall, a lawyer and citizen of the town. Residing in Simpson County, Mendenhall is home to one of the most beautiful courthouses in Mississippi built in 1907 by Andrew Byron.
Mendenhall is home to a few restaurants, including Smokey Mountain Grill, Granny’s Table, Wiliams Good Ole Days Buffett, and Los Parrilleros. These are affordable and the food is great.
Smokey Mountain Grill serves barbecue and Granny’s Table is a soul food buffet. Both are right off Highway 49 with the same ownership. While Williams Good Ole Days Buffet is a lot like the others, it has a more hometown atmosphere. Finally, Los Parrilleros is the Mexican go to and only place open on Sundays.
Another great thing about Mendenhall is the Simpson County Lake. Formally known as Legion Lake, it is a place where you can get your inner outdoorsman on.
Right up the road is the Simpson County Country Club, home of nine rigorous holes, multiple sand dunes, and long distances to the green. Another outdoors activity is deer hunting.
For a place to thrive, it must have a good education system. Mendenhall has three, including Mendenhall Public Schools, Simpson County Academy, and the Co-Lin Simpson Center. Not many small cities can say this, but the Mendenhall education is great. Two years ago, Mendenhall High School earned an overall B rating.
Simpson County Academy year-round has amazing sports programs in football, baseball, basketball, archery, and softball. The division between public and private schools in larger cities is much greater than at Mendenhall. The two schools share the Vocational Center for grades 9-12. The Copiah-Lincoln Community College Simpson County campus is an affordable gateway for some to continue their education after high school or to go back to school after taking some time off.
One night out of all others puts Mendenhall on center stage. Fridays in the fall are the biggest. Good football and an outstanding marching band is a recipe for the entire population to follow either the Tigers or Cougars.
Both of these schools compete at a high level of football in their classification. But over the past few seasons, the Mendenhall High School Tiger Pride Marching Band has been overshadowing the football team. The reason for that is the band competes against the best and places in the Top 3.
This past year was the high point for them, winning every competition they went to and placing third in the state in 4A. This band makes people pay attention during halftime, and other bands want to see how their practicing.
The most unknown, but beautiful place in Mendenhall is the Johnny Knight Treehouse. Johnny Knight was a lifetime resident of Mendenhall and carpenter. Constructed in 1971, this beautiful place is a hidden gem.
Johnny Knight’s treehouse is now his cousin’s, who rents it out for weddings, parties, etc. Knight also built the totem pole in front of the Mendenhall Public Library.
While Mendenhall has little to offer entertainment-wise, it offers a historic courthouse, a treehouse, Friday night lights, good Southern food, and so much more. So next time you are heading south in Mississippi, make a detour off Highway 49 to Mendenhall.