THE SOUND OF MUSIC
Legends run deep in the Piney Woods, and Crockett, the seat of Houston County, has its share. First, there’s the name of the town, which honors the Tennessee statesman and scout Davy Crockett. It’s said that Crockett camped in this area on his way to the Alamo, where he died fighting for Texas independence in 1836. A century later, musician Sam “Lightnin’” Hopkins, who was born on a farm west of town, started playing the blues along Crockett’s South Third Street, dubbed “Camp Street.” Hopkins later performed at Carnegie Hall and influenced musicians around the world. Crockett honors this African American blues legend with a concrete and steel statue created by the sculptor Jim Jeffries. Across the street from the statue is the historic Camp Street Café and Store, in a revitalized 1931 false-front tin building. The café keeps the music alive with artists performing the blues, Western, bluegrass and even Celtic tunes. There’s more music each June when Crockett hosts the World Championship Fiddlers’ Festival. The third local legend is of the non-corporeal kind. Some say a ghost haunts one of the most beautiful residences in Houston County, the Downes-Aldrich House. Built in the 1890s, the Eastlake Victorian-style structure was home to two of Crockett’s earliest families.
Area history unfolds at the Houston County Museum, housed in Crockett’s 1909 railroad depot. African American history also is part of the area’s heritage. On a hill north of Crockett’s town square are the ruins of Mary Allen Junior College, which educated young African American women. The nearby enclave of Germany, named for a German settler family, became home to freed slaves after the Civil War and in 1883, the community constructed New Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, which remains active and hosts social events throughout the year.