Historical marker placed on Mississippi Blues Trail

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CLARKSDALE, Miss. -- A historical marker has been added to the Mississippi Blues Trail, which will ultimately highlight more than 100 locations in the state that have played roles in the development of blues music.

Three markers were placed by the Mississippi Blues Commission in December. The fourth marker, unveiled Jan. 18, will be located at the Riverside Hotel in Clarksdale. The hotel has been home to many blues musicians through the years and is still in operation.

Since 1944, the hotel has provided lodging for legendary artists like Sonny Boy Williamson II, Ike Turner, and Robert Nighthawk. The hotel was formerly the G.T. Thomas Hospital and is best known as the place where the empress of the blues, Bessie Smith, died in 1937 from injuries sustained in a car accident.

"The Riverside Hotel is a monument to our blues heritage and many international visitors come to make it a part of their cultural tourism experience," Alex Thomas, heritage trails director for the Mississippi Development Authority, said.

The previous three markers are:

The grave of Charlie Patton at Holly Ridge. Patton is considered one of the earliest of the blues singers.

The Southern Whispers Restaurant in Greenville, which honors the blues heritage of Nelson Street, where the restaurant is located.

Former site of WGRM radio in Greenwood, where B.B. King made a live radio broadcast in 1940. In 1939, WGRM occupied the second floor of the building, which was originally built in 1901.


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