Clarksdale is Affordable!
Cost of living, home values and downtown building prices are… astoundingly low.
Clarksdale offers exceptional affordability to those who are seeking a better work-life balance lifestyle. The cost of living in Clarksdale is often 50% less and more than it is in many other parts of the country. Large homes are available here at less than $40 per sq. ft., and luxury homes can be found under $70 sq. ft., some with pools and on a golf course.
For creative people looking for a place to work, or move their small business to a more affordable location, there is a significant inventory of available buildings in Clarksdale’s historic downtown Arts & Culture District. Many of these may be purchased for under $100,000 (their average size is more than 4,000 sq. ft, and some come with an attached apartment(s) as well). Leases in the District are negotiable, and often are available in the range of $1 or less per sq. ft. per month (this is not a typo). There are also many other attractive small business opportunities beyond the downtown Arts & Culture District as well.
Clarksdale also has many affordable industrial and manufacturing opportunities as well. These are former warehouses, distribution centers, manufacturing sites, a few office buildings, and a Wal Mart Building. All are negotiable and come with a rich, compelling portfolio of Local, State and Federal incentives and tax credit packages.
Retire here too!
Your retirement lasts longer in Mississippi than any other state in the country!
Yes, you can retire here, and your life savings will last longer than any other place in the United States. For example, if your retirement nest egg were a million dollars, it would last almost 27 years in Mississippi, and likely even longer here in Clarksdale.
This comes from financial research found in Bloomberg News, here. It’s upshot: if you want to stretch your retirement dollars as far as they can go, you need to head down south to Mississippi.
Rich Culture & History
Sometimes referred to as the most Southern place on earth, Clarksdale was once most known as the buckle in the cotton belt. In that earlier era when cotton was King, Clarksdale also had historic, exceptionally rich arts and cultural traditions running out of and parallel to its better known agricultural attentions.
The economy here is still much reliant on farming cotton and other crops today, but Clarksdale has always been an arts and culture community as well, and today we are now better known for the art that emerged and evolved out of here. Music, literature, civil rights and more happened here, and it it still continues to this day as well. Clarksdale is the birthplace of the blues… and rock ‘n’ roll.
The birth of the blues eventually changed contemporary American culture. That it happened here certainly has much to do with Clarksdale’s agricultural and labor force past, but the magnitude of the artists that came from here, or who came here to craft their emerging careers is exceptionally significant. No other musical culture anywhere has ever had such blues music talent.
Of the more than four dozen plus significant music artists that came out of Clarksdale, a half dozen are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Ike Turner and Sam Cooke, a Hall of Fame charter member were from here, and Howlin’ Wolf and Robert Johnson spent much time growing their careers here.
The first rock and roll song ever recorded, Rocket 88, was written and rehearsed here by Ike Turner and Jackie Brenston. The first song Elvis Presley ever recorded was written by Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup, a Clarksdale gospel singer who wrote That’s All Right shortly after moving to Chicago from here.
Clarksdale’s music tradition continues to this day, where one can see authentically established bluesmen play in real juke joints, or up-and-coming blues artists, rock and rollers or roots music performers play live music seven nights a week.
The great American playwright, Tennessee Williams, spent his childhood in Clarksdale. The lifestyle here at that time and the Clarksdale characters and personalities he met and spent time with here were of such significance to young Tennessee that they became the very fabric of most of his great American plays. Also adding to Clarksdale’s literary history was Louise Moss Montgomery, a published author, and poet who became the poet laureate of Mississippi.
Other Clarksdale Artists Today
Over the last decade, many creative artists have relocated here from other parts of the country. These are historians, educators, painters, muralists, ceramic and pottery craftspeople, writers, poets, mixed media creators and metal artisans. These new additions to the Clarksdale creative community have added more than a dozen new small businesses into the historic downtown Arts & Culture District, and some have created known and well attended Clarksdale Arts & Music Festivals as well.
Clarksdale Civil Rights
Clarksdale had a notable role in black freedom struggle during the intense civil rights, voter registration era in the early 1960’s. Starting a decade earlier, and led by Clarksdale pharmacist Aaron Henry, the strongest branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was in Clarksdale.
Henry helped lead an ensemble of activists that fundamentally challenged the system of segregation and the nearly complete exclusion of African Americans from the political system. A non-violent social movement leader, Henry was a foremost participant in most every boycott, sit-in, protest march, rally, voter registration drive, and the court case in the black freedom struggle in Mississippi. Much of his important civil rights work and efforts were through his leadership in the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, which won national recognition from the full Democratic Party in 1968. (Aaron Henry biography here).
Notable social advancements were also led by Vera Mae Pigee, whose life personified an African American woman’s local leadership during the civil rights movement in Mississippi. A beauty parlor owner, Ms. Pigee was also Aaron Henry’s secretary and the secretary for the Clarksdale NAACP. Many of Clarksdale’s civil rights initiatives are from her initiation. In addition to focused and consistent voter registration work, one of Ms. Pigee’s many contributions was leading a non-violent protest that led to the desegregation of the Clarksdale bus station in 1961. (more on Ms. Pigee here).
Small Town Pace & Charm
Are you looking for an affordable solution to get away from that relentless big-city pace? Are you done with rush hour traffic? Are you looking to relocate to a place with a small town pace where you can relax and breathe? Perhaps the first thing a visitor notices is one can get anywhere in Clarksdale in less than five minutes– say goodbye to rush hour, to the stress of being held up in traffic, say hello to the peace and quiet family lifestyle you’ve always wanted.
Another thing about being in the most southern place on earth is our hospitality; here, friendly is a way of life. It’s immediately apparent in this place where everybody speaks– how are you and so nice to see you are a local mantra.
Yes, life in this small town centers around the home. Friends, small gatherings, church activities, civic and charitable organizations, small unique restaurants and live music add to a complete sense of community. Adding to it is an active out-of-doors lifestyle, team and individual sports, and some of the best hunting and fishing on earth.
Entrepreneurial & Creative Opportunities
In the last decade, thirty two new businesses have opened in Clarksdale’s historic downtown Arts & Cultural District. Fourteen of these are owned by longtime Clarksdale families, and eighteen are owned by new residents who have moved here from across the country. Almost all of these new businesses serve Clarksdale’s arts and cultural community. Most are owned by creative people within the arts as well.
As noted affordability and our small town lifestyle are key attractions that bring new residents here. So is Clarksdale’s lightning fast broadband. This certainly adds much to a compelling package for creative people who work virtually online, and Clarksdale is that perfect place for a high tech start-up, or more mature technology company looking to cut costs and add a more balanced lifestyle to their efforts.
The abundant choice of places to create in historic buildings in our downtown Arts & Culture District is already noted, and this much adds to Clarksdale’s entrepreneurial opportunities. Most all of these buildings make for excellent studios, small offices and creative spaces of any kind.
Urban Centers Close By
Claksdale has essential shopping in town. There are some half dozen grocery outlets, including Kroger’s and a Wal Mart Supercenter. Most other normal daily shopping needs can also be found here.
Because Memphis, TN is only about an hour away, it may well take less time to get there as it does for you to get to a specialty specialty store across town from where you are now. Big box stores such as Best Buy and national retail outlets such as Dillards and Macy’s are in Memphis. There’s also a Costco, Whole Foods, Trader Joes and The Fresh Market, and countless specialty stores throughout the metropolitan area.
There is a Lowe’s a half-hour away in Batesville, MS, plus numerous Lowe’s and Home Depot outlets in Memphis as well. Oxford, MS, home of the University of Mississippi, is less than an hour away, and there is much in the way of shopping, education, entertainment and cultural performing arts there.
On the distant driving horizon, are Nashville and New Orleans. It is possible to leave Clarksdale early in the morning and have lunch at Pascal’s Manale in New Orleans, for example, or leave Clarksdale mid-day and go the the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville that evening.