Dizzy Dean Enterprises - Jasper County, Mississippi

 

According to a front page newspaper article that appeared in the Clarke County Tribune, September 6, 1961, Jay Hanna Dean, better known as the famous baseball pitcher, Dizzy Dean, announced plans to open a sizable charcoal briquette manufacturing facility at Pachuta, Mississippi. This plant was to be financed by a $150,000 county bond issue and promised to employ approximately 100 people. Plans were outlined to repay the bond by way of rent payments over a twenty-year period. Dizzy Dean Enterprises, was listed as a subsidiary of Mississippi Industries, Inc., the holder of other wood related operations within the states of Mississippi and Alabama.

 

 

Photo of newsparer clip: Clarke County Tribune- 1961

 

 

Photo of newspaper clip: Clarke County Tribune - 1961

 

The plant was slated to begin operations by January 1, 1962 with a projected output capacity of 200,000 tons per year. Total cost for the construction of the manufacturing facility and the related kilns was estimated at $375,000.

 

Company officers of Dizzy Dean Enterprises were listed as follows:

President: Warren Hood

Vice President: Jay Hanna Dean

General Manager: W.A. Roper

 

Significant to the decision for this industry to locate at Puchuta were the efforts of the local city government and the Pachuta Development Club.

City Officials:

Mayor: E.A. Moody

Aldermen: Avery Lewis Jr.; L. C. Rhoden; Charley Rahalm; W.A. McGill; L. E. Castle

Pachuta Development Club:

President: T.W. Lewis

Vice President: Matt Eddins

Secretary: W.A. Lightsey

Treasurer: Avery Lewis Jr.

 

The actual manufacturing plant was constructed by Mr.C. Elliott Green of Meridian, MS. After the facility was completed and operational, Mr. Green took the two following photos inside the production area.

 

 

Workmen manning the rotary charcoal presses and hand bagging. Conveyor transports filled bags.

 

 

A detail of the rotary briquette forming machine

 

Although the manufacturing facility was constructed at Pachuta, in Clarke County, at least two separate off-site kiln sites were built within Jasper County, near Vossburg, MS., on the property of Mr. Lee Donald, and another site near the village of Shubuta, MS. According to the 1962 projections, an annual volume of $200,000 of hardwood was purchased from local timber growers.

Back in the day, Dizzy Dean, a native of Arkansas, was a national celebrity. He was commonly seen and heard on television and radio announcing major league baseball games, his career in broadcasting spawned from his stellar major league baseball pitching record. Should you not understand, Dean's endorsement of charcoal was similar to the modern day endorsement by Tiger Woods of Nike products.

 

Dean’s wife was a Native of Bond, Mississippi, and he spent a good amount of effort signing autographs and encouraging the local young athletes within Mississippi.

 

 

Photo of newspaper clip: Clarke County Tribube - 1962

 

 

A local Pachuta, MS team sponsored by the company

 

It is not known when production of charcoal at the Pachuta facility ended. In any case, the factory has been gone from the landscape for many years. In it's hey-day, the Ol' Diz brand was marketed throughout the south. It was a common sight to see their transport trucks rolling along old Hwy-11. It is my understanding that members of the Eddins family once held a contract with the Ole Diz corporation to haul the burned renderings from the kiln sites to the processing facility in Pachuta. Because the production of charcoal involves partially burned wood, the transport of these embers proved to be hazardous. Several near misses were recorded where transport trucks were nearly burned to the ground. In the case of transporting embers from the Shubuta site, an agreement was reached with a local woman who owned a good water well. Trucks would stop and water down their load before continuing the journey to the processing plant.

 

 

Dump truck parked in front of the kilns located in Pachuta

 

 

The remains of the old wood burning kilns in Jasper County

 

 

Aerial view of Kilns at Shubuta

 

 

Remains of kilns near Shubuta

 

 

The old processing plant at Pachuta

 

The Familiar Package

 

 

One of the old trucks pushed into the woods

 

 

Ol' Diz #6

 

Thanks to Bill Eddins and Richard Green for much of this information.& photos

 

Please contact me if you can supply any additional information.

 

This page is under construction

 

These pages are a work in progress. While every attempt has been made to include accurate historical information, some error may be included. I invite corrections, additional information, additional photographs, and accounts of personal experience. Please contact me at the supplied address. Very little has been documented in regards to the dying towns and landmarks of east-central Mississippi. With your help, I hope to put together a few pages that we all can pass along to our grandchildren. Thanks!

Keith Wilkerson

 

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