412 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI in one year. Resident ministers improved churches for the Baptists, Presbyterians, and Methodists. Some noted that, for the first time, Tupelo had more churches than saloons. Tupelo built its first school building and a 900-seat opera house, the era’s ultimate urban status symbol. The railroad brought the establishment of a new industry. Taking advantage of the hardwoods made accessible by the railroad, furniture manufacturers opened factories. Unfortunately, the supply of hardwoods disappeared quickly and laborers became disgruntled with their low wages. Thus, the city failed to move beyond dependence on cotton, and this soon led to major problems. By the mid-1890s, the price for cotton fell below the costs for seed, ginning, and transport. It hit bottom at 5 cents a pound in 1898. The depression worsened as Mississippi tried to compete with Egypt and India in cotton production. The Northeast Corner lost population and Tupelo, in desperation, tried to attract Midwestern farmers in the hope they would bring new skills in growing other, more profitable, crops and thus save the economy. Such efforts did not meet with much success. The anticipated influx of Midwestern farmers never happened, but the new transportation arteries did attract a small Jewish community. Emil Strauss, for example, settled in Fulton as a grocer, but moved to Tupelo and opened a butcher shop. He joined a host of local civic organizations and was even granted honorary membership in the local camp of the Confederate Veterans, despite the fact that he had been born in Germany in 1850—too late to have served. He and his family became so much a part of the community that when he and his wife celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary, the entire town trouped to their home bearing gifts. There was no Jewish congregation in Tupelo and, therefore, no Jewish cemetery, so Strauss was buried in Glenwood Cemetery. At the depths of the cotton depression, James Kincannon bought The Tupelo Journal and spearheaded the drive to attract industry. He ran for Congress against Allen, but ultimately he pledged his support for the Bourbon Democrats and editorialized in favor of their new South vision of railroads, industry, and progress. Kincannon challenged Tupelo by running articles about young women leaving the city to work in Corinth’s mills. Private John Allen left Congress at the age fifty- five and returned to Tupelo where he joined with local bankers, merchants, and lawyers, most all of whom also owned farms, to establish Tupelo Cotton Mill in 1899. The mill only employed white women because the Bourbon owners and other farmers did not want to denude the county of agricultural workers with industrialization. The mill proved to be a success and it gave birth to a garment industry using the same labor. Sewing machines appeared in the mills and as they proved profitable, separate garment shops were constructed. The same ownership group of about forty-three individuals branched out and opened operations in nearby towns such as Ripley, Booneville, and Fulton. In New Albany, a similar network of businessmen cooperated to advance trade and industry. In 1917, these mercantile businessmen formed what the local newspaper termed “New Albany’s progressive dry goods stores.” They promoted sale days together and worked to grow the town’s economy. Their common enemy was mail order competition. The newspaper joined the merchants running cartoons of mail order money bags boarding a train out of town and a mail order shoe customer trying to exchange his ill-fitting, mail-ordered shoes in a local store. When it came to local support, New Albany had an advantage in Paul Rainey. An Ohio heir to millions of dollars, Rainey fell in love with the Mississippi hills, bought thousands of acres in Tippah and Union counties, and built a lodge with a heated swimming pool and a private generating plant. He maintained a rail siding at his lodge, constructed a luxury hotel in town, and owned control of the bank. He built an ice plant, a bottling company, and the first factory in town. His parties at the lodge brought friends from around the world to indulge in an incredible display of wealth. Industrialization in the Northeast Corner, with its heavy reliance on the female labor of the region, failed to create a highly prosperous society. The region still Industrialization in the Northeast Corner, with its heavy reliance on the female labor of the region, failed to create a highly prosperous society.