Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Fort Adams, Mississippi/Old River Control Structure/Homochitto Cutoff

Marker ID:  23
Location: Mud Island River Park, 125 N Front Street, Memphis, TN
County: Shelby
Coordinates: N 35° 8.968    W 090° 3.507
  35.14946666    -90.05845
Waymark: None


Fort Adams, Mississippi/Old River Control Structure/Homochitto Cutoff
Panel #23 Mississippi Riverwalk

A. Fort Adams, Mississippi
Mile 311.9 AHP

This high bluff was first named Davion’s Rock, for a French priest who lived here with the Tunica Indians in the early 1700’s. It was later called Loftus Heights, for a British Major Loftus whose expedition was ambushed here by Native Americans. Before the Louisiana Purchase, the bluff lay just north of the boundary between U. S. And Spanish Territory and Fort Adams was built in 1798 as the main border citadel. The garrison was removed in 1819, but the settlement that had grown up around the fort endured. Today, the town of Fort Adams is a small farming community.

B. Old River Control Structure
Mile 323.6 AHP

When the Old River was dammed to prevent the Mississippi from diverting into the Atchafalaya River, a floodway was dredged here to safely channel the Mississippi’s floodwaters into the Atchafalaya basin. A low till embankment built at the head of the floodway allowed only high water for the river to enter the channel. During the flood of 1973, the river severely damaged this construction raising the possibility that the Mississippi might use the floodway as a new route west to the Atchafalaya. Emergency repairs were made and later a new control structure was built, with steel gates and adjustable timbers to control the outflow from the Mississippi River. Further measures are underway to prevent permanent diversion of the Mississippi channel.

C. Homochitto Cutoff
Mile 323.6 AHP

Old River Lake, or Lake Mary, is a large oxbow lake east of the current channel. When this lake was part of the river, Homochitto River flowed into the Mississippi on its eastern bend. In 1776, Homochitto cutoff removed both bend and tributary from the river and the Homochitto River found a new mouth south of Natchez, MS.
Photo credit: Old River structure at Mississippi River Mile 315 by Michael Maples/USACE

A photo of this marker can be found on HMDB.org


AHP - Above Head of Passes, this is the distance from the mouth of a river when measured along the course (navigable channel) starting at zero.