Hot Coffee, Anyone?

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One of the best things about our country is the small towns.  Every state has them along with a fascinating story about each one.  I grew up visiting my great-aunt in rural Iowa.  My husband and I have property up on Lake Superior in a Michigan town of about 250 residents.  So yes, I love small towns.  Most have charm and lovely people.  Small towns also can have unusual names.  How about Hot Coffee, Mississippi?

MS Coffee welcome sign

In 1870, a man named L.J. Davis built a small store and hung a coffee pot over the door, advertising that he sold “the best hot coffee around.”  He made the coffee from pure spring water, beans from New Orleans, and molasses drippings for sweetener.  The popularity of Davis’s coffee led to the name of the community, which is often noted on lists of unusual place names.  National Geographic even wrote about Hot Coffee in a 2005 article.

I might have never heard of Hot Coffee, except my daughter Kara happened to be driving somewhere for her job and stumbled upon the town.  She couldn’t resist stopping and taking photos, knowing I would love it for a blog.

MS Coffee quad photo

The original general store was built in the 1930’s, and bought by the McDonald family in 1967.  Since then, four generations of McDonald’s have continued with the store.  The trend toward malls and big discount stores hurt many small town businesses across the country, and McDonald’s did not want to suffer and close as many had to do.  Instead, the family decided a push toward tourism was the best way to go.  Soon bus groups started coming in to see the charming little store and buying the souvenirs.  People who have signed the guest book have been from Brazil, Denmark, Scotland, Switzerland, Austria, England, Belgium, and Canada, not to mention states all over our own country.

There is even a family link to country music star LeAnn Rimes in Hot Coffee.

MS Coffee LeeAnn_


However,  maybe some music of others got a little out of hand, according to this sign.  Too much caffeine, maybe?

MS Coffee no music sign

Apparently, Hot Coffee is not the only small town with references to the morning cup of joe.  I guess Americans really like their coffee.  Look at all the coffee-friendly towns across the country.  I bet there is a story behind each one of them.  I’m closest to Cream, Wisconsin, and Spooner, Wisconsin.  I should check them out!

MS Coffee cities

While browsing through the store, coffee in hand, Kara noticed a sign for free recipes.  Now you know she couldn’t pass those up for her mom!  I didn’t make these, but here they are: Shoo Fly Pie and Tea Cakes.  I love that they are hand-written.

MS Coffee Shoo Fly Pie

MS Coffee Tea Cakes

Next time I visit Kara in Mississippi, I’ll have to make a detour to Hot Coffee.  But first I’ll have to go to Cream and Spooner in Wisconsin so I can tell the people in Hot Coffee about the other coffee places.  Maybe I’ll compare the coffees of the North and the South, but I have a feeling there is no coffee like Hot Coffee.

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14 Responses to Hot Coffee, Anyone?

  1. July 8, 2015 at 7:08 am #

    I’m another lover of those unusual small town names.

    Next time I take the Mississippi route to Louisiana (when I’m headed to Baton Rouge), I’m going to have to make a stop in Hot Coffee.

    When we visit Steve’s family, we drive through Bee Hunter, Indiana. Possum Trot, Kentucky, is another favorite.

    • July 8, 2015 at 9:36 am #

      Great names, Madonna! I love a couple towns in Iowa: What Cheer, which I think is an Amish way of saying hello; and Lost Nation. (where did it go?)

      • July 8, 2015 at 10:35 am #

        I almost forgot about Uncle Sam, Louisiana.

        Here in Indiana, we have Santa Claus.

        • July 8, 2015 at 12:59 pm #

          Love Santa Claus. There is also a Christmas, Michigan in the U.P.

          • July 9, 2015 at 6:35 am #

            You need to visit me. Santa Claus is just a 30 minute drive from my house. There’s a fantastic theme park there called Holiday World (used to be called Santa Claus Land when I was a kid). They have some of the world’s best wooden roller coasters.

          • July 9, 2015 at 6:54 am #

            Would love to visit Santa Claus. Will skip the roller coasters! Santa is more my speed…

          • July 10, 2015 at 8:30 am #

            Did you know that the Bears’ quarterback is from Santa Claus? The local newspaper had pictures of him and his wife at Holiday World earlier this week.

          • July 10, 2015 at 9:33 pm #

            Didn’t know that!

  2. July 8, 2015 at 7:51 am #

    Since I grew up in the small town of Walla Walla (they loved it so much, they named it twice!), I love those small towns, too. A favorite trip I had through Alaska once took us to Chicken, Alaska – named Chicken because they didn’t know how to spell the name of the state bird, Ptarmigan. Later we came across the small outpost town of Lost Chicken, named because they couldn’t find the community of Chicken!!

    • July 8, 2015 at 9:33 am #

      Kim, I love those stories!

  3. July 8, 2015 at 12:00 pm #

    My parents had a vacation home in Spooner, WI ! We vacationed up from the time I was 5 years old to when both my parents died in 1999 and 2000–over 40 years ! It was too far away (375 miles) for us to really use it for a weekend home so we had to sell it. And just this past week, one of my parents dearest friends up there passed away at the age of 90–today is his funeral and unfortunately we could not get away to go to it. I still have kept in touch with them and their children (and grandchildren!) How coincidental that you should mention Spooner as it’s been on my mind alot this past week.

    Now the funny thing is that one of the breakfast/.lunch places up there is called The Coffee Cup–and known for their homemade in-house pies. They were fantastic. Coffee, though, was too weak and not strong for my taste. But all the coffee I ever had up there is like that–wasn’t just this restaurant. I am thinking that is the way people up there like it.

    • July 8, 2015 at 1:05 pm #

      Barb, you would be the perfect one to talk to about Spooner. I would love to hear about all your great memories sometime. Every time I hear about small Wisconsin towns, there always seems to be great pies involved! It must have been hard to sell your parents’ place, but how nice you still keep in touch with friends up there. So sorry about the recent passing of one of them.

      • July 8, 2015 at 2:40 pm #

        Thanks Debbie ! It was hard to sell, but our lifestyle was not like my parents and the cost of keeping it was really prohibitive–between upkeep and taxes. I swear all the food in the restaurants in northern Wisconsin are all “Supper Club” type food. Think of those cracker/bread baskets with the Euphrates sesame crackers and those breadsticks served with a little tub of hard butter. And of course each table got the swiveling trio of some sort of corn relish, bean salad, and probably pickled beets. Thousand Island dressing on iceberg lettuce, and baked potatoes in aluminum foil come to mind also. And for sure one of the desert choices was Neapolitan ice cream.

        • July 8, 2015 at 10:06 pm #

          All that food sounds very “Supper Club!” In fact, I have a book about the supper clubs of Wisconsin that I was going to write a blog about this summer. I think everything you mentioned is in that book!

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