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The Abandonment of Henning, Tennessee

001 Henning002 Henning003 Abandoned Mansion, Henning004 Abandoned Mansion, Henning005 Abandoned Mansion, Henning006 Juke Door, Henning007 Abandoned Juke, Henning008 Noel's Bar & Grill, Henning009 Abandoned House, Henning010 Henning011 Noel's Bar & Grill012 Henning013 Henning014 Henning015 Sir Charles' Place, Henning016 Sir Charles' Place, Henning017 Sir Charles' Place, Henning018 Sir Charles' Place, Henning019 Welcome to Henning020 Henning021 Main Street, Henning022 Poe's Bar, Henning023 Main Street, Henning024 Sonny's Smooth Jazz & Old School, Henning025 Sonny's Smooth Jazz & Old School, Henning026 Henning027 Henning028 Main Street, Henning029 Sir Charles' Place, Henning030 Sir Charles' Place, Henning
Back in the 1980’s, Henning, Tennessee became famous as the hometown of writer Alex Haley, whose genealogical novel Roots was a best-seller in the late 1970’s and which was later made into a television mini-series. A museum was opened on the Main Street of the little town just across the Forked Deer River from Tipton County, and residents of Henning waited for the tourists they hoped would be coming. They even renamed State Highway 211 “Chicken George Trail” after one of the characters in Haley’s novel.
But the tourists never arrived, and Henning seems to be in the grip of a depression, for some reason. Abandoned houses and ruins are everywhere in the little town, and many of the downtown storefronts along Main Street are vacant, or seem to be so. A block west of Main is a street lined with abandoned juke joints that were undoubtedly once full of large crowds, as Henning was a party destination for Covington, Ripley, and even Dyersburg and Brownsville. A couple of the bars seem to still be open, such as Sonny’s Smooth Jazz and Old School, or Uncle Charles’ Place, which has an elaborate painted mural that mentions Prince’s old movie Under The Cherry Moon, but the town has clearly seen better days.


  1. Veta Frazier Banks

    Something I was doing propelled me to look up Henning. I also worked with a late, former city councilman of a city we used to live, who had ties to Henning, through his family. He was a Henning, and his family were founders.
    I was saddened to see the abandonment, of such a historical place.
    I wonder how one goes about getting interest in raising funds to not only restore buildings & services, but to get Henning on the registry of historical places.

    1. Kyeasiha J Mitchell

      It hurts my heart to see such an historic place abandon like this, after watching Roots, it motivated me to look up this place that once was the land of the free and even visit one day but to see this (abandon) hurts my heart. Smh
      We need to restore this town and give back it’s life.

        1. Dawn M Boysen

          I just saw your post and I know it’s a long way off and I’m sure you’ve already gotten responses to this but if you haven’t I purchased some property in Henning in 2020 out in the country. And Names mentioned include the following with the last name of Lewis, Dorean, Evelyn, Erline, Andrew. I can tell you Evelyn,Erline and Andrew have all passed away . And Doreen Lewis ward and her husband Bruno currently currently reside in the county of Mecklinburg North Carolina. .. By the way the town is still abandoned and has actually gotten worse and since the 2010 shooting at the Post Office,

  2. Cocco B

    I grew up in a Rural area of Henning and truely loved my youth. I have since moved away but of coarse family is still there and often travel home. I too am saddened by the abandonment. it is my desire to help rebuild my hometown as it has so much history.

  3. Mark Kellerhall

    It is very sad to see a place that I remember so well as a child. My mothers side of the family (Sellers) all grew up in Henning and some still live in the Covington and Ripley areas. My grandparents lived above the old grocery across from the city hall. I would go over and play on the old fire truck and police car. This was back in the early 1960’s and it seems like a lifetime away. I cant help to feel that when they built and diverted Hwy 51 that it was the begining to the end. Although I do remember my mom telling me that a lot of the youth that were graduating at the time could not move away quick enough to places like Memphis and the larger cities.

  4. Lukas

    My father was born & raised in Henning. I only visited once, on account of his funeral. I’m hoping if someone sees this they may know some of my family that still (I think) reside there. So if anyone knows of any Harding’s of Henning please let me know. Thank you in advance.

    1. Belverly

      Yes my mother Kathryne Farmer married Roosevelt Farmer whose mother Irene Campbell Green married Alonza Franklin Green Sr in 1965 that was my step father and step grandparents a street we lived on they named it Green St

  5. Valerie Henning

    Saw this on the map and had to look into it more as my Daddy was a Henning. But the Henning family we have resides throughout a lot of Wisconsin and other places scattered around the US. Would love to see this town come back to life.

  6. ReGina

    There is a vision of huge development throughout Tennessee. Many are considering revitalizing small abandoned towns to avoid having these historical, often painful regions being bulldozed over. It’s a time to truly ponder how deep the roots of many who migrated away to greater prosperity really mean. My granddad worked hard in Henning. His legacy stirs a baton from one hand to another. Anyone else sensing a stirring let’s ponder.

  7. Erin Sarvarian

    Did anyone know the Lee Harris Burks family? He moved from Virginia to Tennessee. There used to be a Burks Plantation. At one time, one of the sons owned a lot of land in Henning and Ripley. My family line came from William Arasmus “Raz” Burks, and eventually my direct family moved to Arkansas.

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