The Help in Belhaven Neighborhood Tour
Skeeter, Aibileen, Miss Hilly, Elizabeth, Stuart, and more walked the streets of Jackson through Kathryn Stockett's New York Times best selling book The Help . While the social climate has drastically changed, some of the places throughout the book have not. Download this tour and drive the streets of the Historic Belhaven neighborhood and see the neighborhood that inspired Stockett and came to life in her novel, The Help . Click here (pdf 3.13 MB) to download the PDF document, map included! Click here (pdf 3.44 MB) to download the PDF of the combined Part I and Part II tours.
Kathryn Stockett, a native of Jackson, used the Greater Belhaven neighborhood extensively for the setting of her bestselling novel, The Help, published in 2009. Greater Belhaven is one of Mississippi’s most intact historic neighborhoods. It is where Stockett was born, where her grandparents lived, and where she spent a great deal of time in her childhood. The story of The Help takes place in 1963, at the height of the Civil Rights struggle in Mississippi. Scenes are set in downtown Jackson and other neighborhoods as well as Greater Belhaven.
This tour shows the relationship between actual places in Greater Belhaven and the text of The Help. Following integration in 1964 and during the next 46 years, Jackson became a more equitable culture. African-American Jacksonians emerged as leaders in every sector
including government, business, the arts, education, religion and society. Venues included in this tour now attract a racially diverse clientele. We hope you enjoy this tour, our neighborhood and our city.
Want to see these points on a map? Check out our combined The Help in Belhaven Neighborhood Tour and The Help in Jackson Driving Tour via Google Maps. Want this tour to go on your smartphone? It can easily be viewed in Google Maps for smartphones. Click here for the map.
1. Fairview Inn, 734 Fairview Street
“I was thinking next year we might do a Gone With The Wind theme for the Benefit,” Hilly says, “maybe rent the old Fairview Mansion. ”
This was the home of William J. Simmons, founder of the White Citizens Council of Jackson. It was opened as a bed and breakfast by the Simmons family. The house has the graceful architecture and landscaping of early Jackson. Today it is a successful and popular inn, owned by Peter and Tamar Sharp, featuring gourmet dining for an enthusiastic multi-ethnic clientele.
2. Bailey Magnet High School, 1900 N. State
“My favorite photograph is of the three of us (Hilly, Elizabeth and Skeeter) sitting in the football stands in junior high,all jammed together, shoulder to shoulder .”
Belhaven’s junior high school during the era of The Help, today it specializes in training for health-related professions and draws students from the entire city. To the east is the football field that still serves Bailey and Murrah High Schools.
3. 805 Riverside Drive, Headquarters of the Junior League of Jackson
“The Jackson Junior League Annual Ball and Benefit isknown simply as “The Benefit” to anyone who lives within a ten-mile radius of town .”
The Junior League of Jackson has been an effective community service organization since its founding as the Junior Auxiliary in 1927. Incorporated as the Junior League of Jackson in 1941, it is now one of the largest in the nation. Today it is non-discriminatory in its membership and has a broad outreach to minority constituents.
4. 1120 Riverside Drive, Power Elementary School
“Hilly and Elizabeth and I have been best friends since Power Elementary. ”
This school was formerly Power Elementary School, the grammar school for the Belhaven neighborhood. It became Power APAC in 1990 (Academic and Performing Arts Complex) and draws children in grades 4-12 from all over the city.
5. Riverside Drive
“Outside in the dark, I walk all the way up to Riverside, about ten minutes away, where they run a late bus for the nighttime water-plant workers .”
The northern boundary of Belhaven dead ends at the Municipal Water Plant and Riverside Park (renamed Le Fleur’s Bluff State Park). Today the park contains the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, the Mississippi Children’s Museum, a Municipal Golf Course, and public playgrounds. It is a well-used space, the scene of family picnics, softball practice, and Easter egg hunts.
6. Myrtle and Devine Streets
“Come on, Baby Girl”, I (Abileen) say after awhile, “Let’s take a walk, find out what’s going on”. We walk up Devine, turn left, then left again, and up Miss Hilly’s street, which is Myrtle .”
In the novel, Hilly Holbrook lives on Myrtle Street and Elizabeth Leefolt lives on Devine Street. This northeast section of Belhaven attracted young married couples to its smaller and less expensive houses. In 1963, Belhaven was not edged by the interstate. During the construction of I-55 in the late 1960s, the eastern-most street, Enterprise, with thirteen houses, was destroyed by eminent domain, leaving Myrtle and Devine nestled closer to the freeway.
7. 1123 Pinehurst Street
“When Kathryn was born, Demetrie, dressed in her white, starched uniform, carried the baby from the hospital after our five-day stay, leading me and a host of our family members... like a procession...to our home.”
This was the home of Kathryn’s parents, Ruth and Robert Stockett, Jr., when Kathryn was brought home from Baptist Hospital. Kathryn was Eudora Welty’s neighbor for only two months before the family moved to the Fondren neighborhood, north of Belhaven.
8. 1073 Manship Street
“I lean a minute against the counter, wishing Constantine was here like it used to be. How I’d love to share every single thing about my day with her.“
This was the home of Robert and Caroline Stockett, Kathryn’s grandparents. Kathryn Stockett spent a great deal of time after school and during the summers in this house with Demetrie, who worked for the family for three generations. She appears as Constantine in the novel, although Stockett has said that Abileen represents Demetrie’s characteristics.
9. 904 East Fortification Street, McDade’s Supermarket
“See, Miss Leefolt, she dress up nice ever day. Always got her makeup on, got a carport, double-door Frigidaire with built-in icebox.”
McDade’s is on the corner of Fortification and Jefferson streets. It occupies the original structure built as the Jitney Jungle Store, no. 14, as part of a local grocery chain founded by the Holman and McCarty families in 1919. Made famous by the writers Eudora Welty, Willie Morris, and now by Kathryn Stockett, it is considered to be Mississippi’s most literary supermarket.
10. Fortification Street
“I miss the old days, when you just walk out to Fortification Street and there be the farmers with they wheelbarrows calling out, sweet potatoes, butter beans, string beans, okra. Fresh cream, buttermilk, yellow cheese, eggs. But the Jitney ain’t so bad. Least they got the good air-condition.”
Fortification Street is the main thoroughfare in Greater Belhaven, anddivides Belhaven and Belhaven Heights. It was named for its defensiverole during the Civil War and still attracts Civil War buffs with metaldetectors. Belhaven became the first suburb of Jackson, developing just north of Fortification around Belhaven College, which opened its Peachtree Street campus in 1911.
11. 942 Bellevue Place
Belhaven Heights was one of the earliest residential areas in Jackson. It began spreading north from downtown in the 19th century. Belhaven University, founded as Belhaven College in 1883, started here at 942 Bellevue Place. Bellevue Place became known as “Judges’ Hill” because of the large number of prominent judges building their homes there.
12. High Street
“For days and days, Jackson, Mississippi’s like a pot a boiling water. On Miss Leefolt’s tee-vee, flocks a colored people march up High Street the day after Mister Evers’ funeral. Three hundred arrested.”
High Street marks the southern end of Belhaven Heights. Medgar Evers’ assassination in Jackson in June of 1963 was a pivotal event both locally and nationally in the Civil Rights Movement. High Street was the gathering spot for the large number of black mourners marching. Near the Pearl River levee, at the end of High Street, was Stockett Stables, owned by Kathyrn Stockett’s grandfather, Robert Stockett, Sr. Kathryn said in an interview, “It was just heaven for a kid, you had horses and there were people who’d catch them for you and saddle them up... there was tons of land to explore.” Remnants of the stables still stand.
13. North State Street
“On the ride home, I don’t see the big white houses passing outside the window... The bus speeds up along State Street.”
North State Street was once the main artery of Jackson. Prior to the construction of I-55, it serviced in-town traffic as a section of Highway 51. Beginning in the 19th century, North State Street was the premier address for wealthy Jacksonians who built their mansions from the downtown area to Riverside Drive. Few of the large houses remain; by the 1950s commercial establishments began to move in and residents began a flight to the suburbs. The largest number of single-family homes remaining are found in the 1500 block. This beautifully preserved block gives a glimpse of the glory that was North State Street.
14. Jatran Bus Stop
“I get on the number six bus that afternoon, which goes from Belhaven to Farish Street. The bus today is nothing but maids heading home in our white uniforms.”
The number six bus still makes its way from Farish Street to the Belhaven neighborhood. The occupants today are as likely to be orderlies or nurses en route to the Baptist Hospital, or Belhaven University and Millsaps College students who live near the bus line, as well as cooks and maids who still work in Belhaven.
15. 1225 North State Street, The Mississippi Baptist Medical Center
“I was long and leggy and mosquito-thin, a record-breaking twenty-five inches at Baptist Hospital.”
The Baptist Hospital has been the birthplace of many Belhaven residents, including Kathryn Stockett. The hospital is now an even greater presence in the life of Belhaven, providing a fitness center, specialized medical offices, a well-used emergency room, and excellent hospital services
for all areas of medical needs.
16. 1390 North State, The First Presbyterian Church
“Of course, she’d rather I go down to the First Presbyterian, but Mother’s not one to argue with Christian works...”
First Presbyterian was the church that Kathryn Stockett and her family attended. Kathryn also attended First Presbyterian Day School here from kindergarten through 6th grade.
17. 904 Fairview Street
“Separate but equal,” Miss Hilly say back to Miss Leefolt. “That’s what Governor Ross Barnett says is right, and you can’t argue with the government. ”
This was the home of Ross Barnett, governor of Mississippi from 1960-64. He sold his house when his family moved to the Governor’s Mansion in downtown Jackson. Barnett, one of the most militant of the Southern anti-integration governors, is primarily known for blocking James Meredith’s admission to Ole Miss in 1962.
18. 810 Fairview Street, The Home of Allen Thompson
“Mayor Thompson come on the radio, say how sorry he is for the Evers family. I look at the open back door and get that watched feeling again, with a white man’s voice in the room. ”
Allen Thompson was the mayor of Jackson from 1949-1969. A progressive mayor for most of his long tenure, Mayor Thompson diligently upheld the state’s polices of racial segregation and became nationally known in the 1960s for the famous Thompson Tank, used in the arrests of demonstrators and Freedom Riders.
Each site is numbered. The tour starts on and returns to Fairview Street (For map, download PDF document (pdf 3.13 MB) )
1. The Fairview Inn, 734 Fairview St. Drive west from
the Fairview Inn to North State St. Turn right on State St.
2. Bailey Magnet High School. 1900 North State St.
Turn right on Riverside Dr.
3. Junior League of Jackson
Headquarters, 805 Riverside Dr.
4. Power Elementary School (APAC), 1120 Riverside Dr.
5. Riverside Dr. to Highland Dr. Continue driving on
Riverside Dr. to Highland Drive. Turn left on Highland Dr.
U-turn in front of the LeFleur’s Bluff Park entrance gate
Return on Highland Dr. to Riverside Dr. Turn right on Riverside.
6. Turn left on Devine St. Turn left on Laurel St. Turn left on
Myrtle Street. Left on Belmont, left on Howard St.
Right on Laurel St. Left on Greymont Avenue, right on
7. 1123 Pinehurst Place. Turn left on Peachtree St.,
Left on Poplar Blvd., right on Monroe St., right on Manship St.
8. 1073 Manship St., left on Kenwood Place, left on Carlisle St.
Right on Whitworth St., right on Fortifcation St.
9. McDade’s Market, 904 East Fortification St.
10. Continue on Fortification St., turn left on Jefferson St.
11. Enter Belhaven Heights. Turn left on Morningside Dr.
Right on Madison St., right on Bellevue Pl., 942 Bellevue.
Turn left on Jefferson St.
12. Right on High St., right on North State St.
13 -14. Continue on North State St.
15. Baptist Hospital, 1225 North State St, continue driving north.
16. The First Presbyterian Church, 1390 North St. Street,
Continue driving north, turn right on Euclid Ave. right on
Peachtree Street, right on Fairview Street.
17. 904 Fairview St. Turn left on Hazel St., right on Fairview St.
18. 810 Fairview St, continue on Fairview St.
End at Fairview Inn.