AMORY – A suggestion submitted to Amory Main Street Manager Alyssa Benedict is resulting in some beautiful ornamental iron benches being placed alongside Main Street to commemorate merchants from the city’s past.
The benches are crafted by Steel Forest Furniture Company in Columbus and are individually ornamented with Mississippi-themed iron work and individual dedications.
One of the first benches was recently set in place near the Amory utilities office, and it commemorates the late Sara Jones Carlson. Carlson’s daughter, Charlotte Carlson, kicked off the initiative by asking for donations to Amory Main Street in lieu of flowers for her mother’s funeral last winter.
The elder Carlsons made a life of family-owned businesses in Amory along with many outdoor recreations.
“Mama loved this town and she loved Main Street,” Charlotte said. “She never lived more than 10 blocks away from where she was born.”
The Carlsons’ first business was a soda shop alongside Main Street in 1949 and 1950. The soda shop grew in scope to a small grocery store in 1950 and then to a larger general store named Carlson’s Grocery, which was an Amory mainstay for 39 years.
Sara worked as a part-time bank teller with every bank in town after retiring from the grocery business. She also worked as a florist in several flower shops, conducted tours at the Amory Regional Museum and served as an election poll worker. In 1987, she was the first woman to be appointed to the Amory Planning Commission, where she served for 14 years.
Businessman Jason Heleniak was the first to purchase a bench and was quickly followed by others alongside Main Street.
“Our goal is to have a bench every half-mile, combined with murals to accent the memorial tributes,” Benedict said. “Her [Sara’s] spirit will always remain on Main Street.”
Persons interested in getting a memorial bench placed are invited to call Benedict at Amory Main Street at 256-8700.