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In Pictures: Meridian’s history goes round and round
By Tom Adkinson
March 10, 2023

MERIDIAN, Miss. – History is alive and well in Meridian, where you can view the artistry of a 19th century carousel maker, dine in a restaurant that has been pleasing patrons since 1870 and sleep comfortably in a memorably named Art Deco tower built in 1929-1930 as an office building. The Dentzel Carousel in Highland Park is a national treasure built in the 1890s in Philadelphia, transported to the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis and bought by the city at the end of the fair. The food treasure is Weidmann’s, the oldest restaurant in Mississippi and a destination for lovers of Southern cuisine. Historic lodging in Meridian is at the Threefoot Hotel, a high-rise that stood vacant for many years in the late 1900s until being reborn in 2021.

Highland Park’s highlight

dentzel carousel meridian mississippi
The Dentzel Carousel, acquired for only $2,000 and now valued at more than $1 million, is the only two-row stationary carousel operating today, according to Visit Meridian. Yes, this classic amusement from another century continues to take riders young and old on memorable rides. The carousel is a National Historic Landmark. Image by Tom Adkinson

Horses throughout the city

meridian carousel horse
More than 60 carousel horses, including this golden steed named Midas Mare outside Meridian’s city hall, make up a sprawling public art exhibit called Around Town Carousel Horses Abound. Thirteen are on a walking route in the heart of downtown. Each is sponsored and themed. For instance, the one outside Meridian’s Amtrak train station is the Iron Horse. Image by Tom Adkinson

Dining with history at Weidmann’s

weidmann restaurant
This image, perhaps reminiscent of Toulouse-Lautrec, sets the stage for a dining experience at Weidmann’s, which opened in 1870. Swiss immigrant Felix Weidmann created the restaurant, and it stayed in his family until the 1990s. Many of its original customers were train travelers when Meridian was a major railroad hub. Today, Weidmann’s is only a mile off I-20. Image by Tom Adkinson

Recipes old and new

weidmanns food
There is a definite Southern accent to the lunch and dinner menus at Weidmann’s, which feature some updated recipes from the restaurant’s early years. A special appetizer treat is the Fried Green Tomatoes with 1870 Sauce, which includes shrimp and mushrooms. As you might expect this close to the Gulf of Mexico, there are many seafood selections, including blackened redfish, crab cakes and New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp. A jazz guitarist adds a musical touch to Sunday brunch. Image by Tom Adkinson

About that name, Threefoot

meridian threefoot building
The 16-story Threefoot Building was the tallest building in Mississippi when it was built in 1929-1930 as office space for doctors, lawyers and other professionals. It was named for the family of Michael Threefoot, a German immigrant who arrived in the United States in the early 1800s. Speculation is that authorities Anglicized his German name, Dreyfus. It stood vacant for years in the late 1900s until a multi-million dollar renovation transformed it into the 131-room Threefoot Hotel in Marriott’s Tribute portfolio. Image by Tom Adkinson

The Threefoot’s Art Deco accents

meridian threefoot art deco
Art Deco was in vogue when the Threefoot family commissioned architects to design their downtown office tower, and reminders of that era are evident on today’s Threefoot Hotel. Inside the hotel, there are reminders of Meridian’s heritage as a railroad city, including the Boxcar rooftop bar. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places. Image by Tom Adkinson

Trip-planning resources:, and

(Travel writer Tom Adkinson’s book, 100 Things To Do in Nashville Before You Die, is available on

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