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The North Broadway Historic District in Tupelo, Mississippi is a historic district that was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. The area is composed of 4 acres which contain 13 properties. The district is historically significant because it contains some of the only remaining buildings in Tupelo that were constructed before 1936. A tornado destroyed a large portion of the city of Tupelo in 1936, making buildings constructed before that time a rarity today.

  • This photo, from a collection in the Lee County Library, shows Spring Street, looking north, as it appeared in 1928. The town was originally named Gum Pond.
  • One of the houses in the district, an L-shaped cottage built in 1900.
The North Broadway Historic District is comprised of one block of North Broadway Street, a 4 acre strip of land containing 13 houses. The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985 due to the presence of houses constructed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Houses that old are a rarity in Tupelo today because of a tornado that hit the city in 1936. Because the 13 houses are some of the few that survived, they are all considered contributors to the historic character of the area.

In 1936, the towns of Tupelo, Mississippi and Gainesville, Georgia were hit with tornadoes that caused destruction for four consecutive days. The tornadoes killed 466 people, and another 3500 were injured. The first twister touched down on April 5th, 1936 in Coffeeville, Mississippi and headed toward Tupelo. The town of Tupelo was devastated by the tornado, with many homes swept off the ground. The tornado was estimated to be an F5, a class of tornadoes for the most destructive. It is believed the twister had wind speeds above 261 miles per hour. 

The houses that remain in the North Broadway Historic District are some of the few that survived the tornado of 1936. Because of this, the North Broadway Historic District provides a unique look at the culture and history of Tupelo prior to 1936. The district features two houses built in 1895, four houses built in 1900, four houses built in 1905, two houses built in 1915, and one house built in 1920. Many of these are L-shaped cottages, but there also 1-1/2 and 2 story houses in Queen Anne-style, Colonial Revival-style, and East Lake-style.
1. North Broadway Historic District (Tupelo, Mississippi). Wikipedia. Accessed June 16, 2019.,_Mississippi).

2. Tornadoes Devastate Tupelo and Gainesville. History. November 13, 2009. Accessed June 16, 2019.