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Lost Towns: In Search of Fulton and Ashport, Tennessee
Lost Towns: In Search of Fulton and Ashport, Tennessee

Lost Towns: In Search of Fulton and Ashport, Tennessee

1742 Mississippi River at Fort Pillow009 Pop's Place, Ashport008 Pop's Place, Ashport007 Pop's Place, Ashport006 Pop's Place, Ashport005 Pop's Place, Ashport004 Pop's Place, Ashport003 Pop's Place, Ashport002 Pop's Place, Ashport001 Pop's Place, Ashport
In the early days, when Tennessee was just becoming a state, Memphis had two rivals for dominance of the trade on the Mississippi River. Randolph, on a bluff some 30 miles north of Memphis, was the county seat of Tipton County, and about 30 miles north of Randolph was Fulton, in Lauderdale County. Since I had never been to Fulton, nor to Fort Pillow State Park, I decided to head out there one afternoon after a day of substitute teaching at Arlington Elementary. So I grabbed a late lunch at Bozo’s Bar-B-Q in Mason and then headed out through Covington to Henning, and from there out to where Google Maps told me Fulton should be. Unfortunately, I was quite disappointed, as there is really no trace of the town of Fulton. There is a Baptist church, although the building looks fairly recent, and a few houses, all of which also look fairly recent. If there was a business district once, there is no trace of it now. But I did enter Fort Pillow State Park, and got a beautiful view of the Mississippi River from a bluff inside the park. From there, I headed north through the Wildlife Management Area until I got to the beginning of Highway 19, and a community called Ashport. While Ashport is never mentioned as a rival river port to Memphis, it must have had some significance, as it was on the river, and there was an Old Ashport Road that clearly ran from Jackson, Tennessee to the area. But there was little trace of Ashport, just as there was little trace of Fulton, with one exception- an amazing, monstrous ruin of a building on Highway 19. Covered with soft drink and beer signs, it appears that the building was most recently called Pop’s Place, and must have been either a beer joint or a grocery store, or perhaps some sort of combination of both. But the old brick two-story building with a wide set of steps in the center was clearly built to be something else, perhaps a school, although a check of the internet yielded little information, and it is hard to imagine the need for a school that big in the sparsely-populated flatlands near the river. Just beyond the ruin, the road climbed a fairly steep cliff on its way toward Ripley, and the view back toward the river in the sunset was beautiful. Unfortunately, there was no good place to pull over and try to grab a photograph of what I was seeing, and no guarantee that my camera could capture it either. So I headed on into Ripley, grabbed a blizzard from the Dairy Queen, and hit the road back to Memphis.


  1. Mike

    Pop’s Place was indeed a beer joint. A few years back it was operated by a rather attractive lady that used to own The Honey Hole, which was an old school, back water, farmers beer joint that ultimately burned down after being in the same spot for decades. She moved her operation to Pops and was subsequently flooded out shortly thereafter. Pops was a school many years ago. The former proprietor of The Honey Hole and Pops was working at a bait shop last I heard on the way to Fort Pillow. She also did a stint bartending at Poe’s in Henning, which is still there and is one of the best bars I have ever been in. Great juke box and mens bathroom.

    1. kay harrison

      This was a school in the beginning and once it burned down years after it had been closed, my sister & brother decided to purchase this land & building that went with it. My brother Dennis Patterson worked hard into turning this into a bar. The Pop’s name came from him in honor of our father who’s nickname was Pop’s. I hate to read things like the above statement like this lady own this bar. My brother’s bar used to be the best bar around and now he has past away but my sister has let it reopen and the young man running this bar now has made me very proud, because after the flood of 2011 it was never the same but now it has life once again and I know my brother is looking down and smiling on how great of a job he is doing.

  2. Perry Sanders

    I grew up at Golddust, went to school at Ashport. Went through the 8th grade there. Back then, Ashport and Golddust were thriving communities. I finished the 8th grade at Ashport School in 1967.

  3. Stephanie Watkins

    Most of Fulton have been bought by the State of Tennessee and it was added to Fort Pillow. But some areas are still there. My mom is from there. Everything hasn’t been taken by nature.

  4. Elaine Williams

    I am just learning that my great grandfather, Woods Bud Brown, was murdered near Ashport, TN, around May 18, 1909. I would like to find his burial site near this area.
    Any information will be appreciated.
    E. F. Williams

  5. Sandra Peppers

    I was not raised in the area but I have always been interested in it and still am.
    I was drawn into the area by going fishing at Cold Creek with my father. This was in the 60s , probably around 62.
    Later in my 20s I started riding around up there.
    We just took a ride up there last week and I have so many questions!
    I will keep following this Avenue and will be asking questions later.
    Y’all take care.

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