Skeeter is still in Greenwood,
Mississippi. No, not the character played by Emma Stone in
The Help, one of the
most popular movies of 2011. This Skeeter is a small gray dog
and she resides with Webb Franklin in his home at 613 River Road
in Greenwood. The home was used as the interior of Skeeter's
On a recent press trip, we followed
the trail of The Help and visited many of the homes used in
the filming as well as places frequented by the cast and
crew while they filmed n Greenwood. You can get a map at the
link below and follow this fun trail on your next vacation.
The homes are private residences so you will not see the
insides. Please remember this and respect the owner's
privacy as you drive by or stop for a photo op at these
homes. You can visit, dine or stay at many of the public
places used in the Greenwood part of the filming.
|Franklin home used for the
interior of Skeeter's home
Webb Franklin invited us into his
home and told many of the behind the scenes stories about
the filming of The
Help in Greenwood Mississippi.
It's a beautiful
home and fits perfectly the description in Kathryn
Stockett's book from which the movie was made. For those of
you who have only seen the movie, the book has a lot more
stories and subplots but both are masterpieces. The Academy
Awards nomination for Best Movie and the four Academy Awards
it won plus the BET Award in 2012 for Best Picture, and that
the book stayed over 100 weeks on the best seller list,
|Webb's parlor without the
movie set fireplace
Webb's home was built 1911.
He bought it 1976. When we entered, we were greeted
by the four-legged Skeeter who enchanted all of us. Webb
entertained us with some insider stores as he showed us his
Webb felt one point had a lot to do
with choosing this home. He
said, "The cinematographer loved the different levels where
he could put the camera."
|The upstairs bedroom in the Franklin house where
many scenes with Skeeter's mother took place.
"We were evacuated my wife and I from
the house for two months. They
took two weeks to move all our things out and set it up with
their things. They videotaped everything down to the books
on the shelf and then give you a book showing what they took
away. Then when they finished shooting the film the put
everything back just as they found it. They were like ants.
They put everything back just where it was. It was a
The first day of shooting they
brought Emma Stone to Webb's home with her entourage of
beauticians, hairdressers and all the usual Hollywood
attendants that regularly accompany a big star. Webb
overheard her make a statement thy exemplified the
difference between Hollywood and Greenwood. "Emma Stone was
talking to her hairdresser. ‘I don't know how we're going to
make it here in Greenwood Mississippi. You know, they don't
even have a psychic in this town.' That's the difference
between the Hollywood folks and the Greenwood folks. "
He explained the detail the movie
people went to in order to keep things accurate. "Since the
Wittington house was the outside of Skeeter's house and this
was the inside and both houses were built around the same
time, they took the door off of this house and put it on the
Whittington house and put that door on here so when actors
went in or out of the house, the correct door would show
|Bill Crump telling of the filming. Webb Franklin
and several of the journalist are in the background
One of the thing they did to make the
rooms work, was they built a fake fireplace to cover a
mirror. Webb said it was so beautiful they would have liked
to keep it but the movie people wouldn't let them because of
|Webb telling about the
pantry, Note the cabinet behind him, in the movie it
was a deep turquoise and filled with crystal
glasses and silver items
Another thing they did was take all
the doors off the pantry and put in items that were
authentic to the 1960s; a potato chip can, old coke bottles,
Breeze Detergent and lots of period items.
Webb has pictures of Skeeter's mom
applying the treatment to Skeeter's hair to straighten it
still hanging in the room where it was filmed.
|The four-legged Skeeter
||Two of the still pictures
from the movie
Since the script called for Skeeter
to live on her family's cotton plantation, Longleaf, the
movie required a different home than Webb's which is right
in town and has houses all around. They choose the
Whittington home located at 7300 County Road 518 also known
as Money Road.
|The exterior of Skeeter's
home. Lots of similarities, two stories, attic rooms
and wrapping porch.
It has similarities to Franklin's but
is set in a beautiful rural setting. It was built in 1910
and originally not far from the Franklin house. The family
had it cut in quarters and moved out to its present location
many years ago. The bench Skeeter sits on in the movie is
located in front on the street side of the driveway. The
owners graciously allow visitors to drive in the driveway
and take pictures of their home but be courteous and do not
abuse their hospitality.
|Sitting in Skeeter's bench
under the willow made me feel so close to the movie
The person everyone loved to hate in
The Help was
Hilly Holbrook. One of my favorite scenes is where the front
lawn of this home is littered with old toilets due to
Sketter's typing "mistake" in the Junior League Newsletter
when she typed "old commodes" instead of "old coats" to be
dropped off at Hilly's house. My only disappointment here
was that the lawn is perfectly tended with a low boxwood
hedge and not one single toilet in sight.
|Can't you visulize all the
old toilets sitting on this lovely lawn?
Her home in the movie was the
two-story, red-brick Johnson Residence at 413 Grand
Boulevard. Fitting Hilly's personality, it is a traditional
colonial that is very prim and proper looking. It shows a
more modern version of the "New South" rather than the older
more traditional Southern homes from the turn of the
century. You can see this house perfectly from the street.
We visited Baptist Town. There is a
plaque near where Minnie would have gotten off the bus to go
home. I never found out exactly which house was used for her
home but you can see the vast social difference just
visiting this site. The characters lived in two different
|Baptist Town began in the
1800 and is one of Greenwood's oldest Aftican
Junior League of
The Junior League where Hilly
presided over meetings and introduced her Home Health
Sanitation Initiative which would require white-owned homes
to have a separate toilet for the "Negro help," was the
Garden Club Headquarters at 401 East Market Street.
|The Garden Club is perfect for
the Junior League setting.
Robert E. Lee Hotel
The Old Greenwood Elks Lodge at 102
West Washington Street was used for the interior of the
hotel. The infamous scene where Celia arrives with Johnny
dressed in that
red dress. The exterior was the Leflore County Courthouse at
306 Market Street.
|Leflore County Courthouse
makes an impressive Robert E. Lee Hotel
Bill Crump who heads Greenwood's
Economic Development Council told us an interesting story
about the Old Elks Club. "I had never read the book or even
heard of it. It was the Sunday before Christmas. I got a
call from the Alluvian Hotel desk clerk ‘Mr. Crump, we have
some people here who want to look at eh Elks Club.' I
thought they wanted to see about the new Elks Club and told
the clerk to give them that number. He called back. ‘They
want to see the old Elks building.'
Now it was in just
shambles at this time. That was the first time I had met
Tate Taylor, the director. They introduced themselves and
said they were scouting for a movie location. We went
through. They fell in love with that old building and
decided they wanted to make Greenwood the center of the
filming because of it."
|The Old Elks Club is the
place that started the ball rolling
Bill got a little insight to the
importance of The
Help when he got home. He told his wife what had
happened. He said "She exclaimed ‘The
Help!' Apparently she had read the book and knew all
Later when Bill attended the priemer, he
was gratified to have Allison Janey, who plays Skeeter's mother,
come up and give him a hug in front of the theater saying, "I
want you to know that I have never been anywhere in my life that
I enjoyed more than Greenwood, Mississippi. All of you peoplle
were absolutly fantastic."
Needless to say, The Help had a tremendous
economic impact on Greenwood and the entire state. Bill also
told us that Tate Taylor is planning to film his redo
version of TV series
In the Heat of the Night in Greenwood. I'm not a big TV
fan so I haven't heard any more about that but it would be
one more reason to visit Greenwood.
The Little Zion M.B. Church (header)
on 63530 County Road 518, (Money Road) is the Baptist Church
featured in the movie. It is also the location of the
graveyard where Robert Johnson, the Bluesman who allegedly
sold his soul to the devil in exchange for becoming a great
guitar player, is buried.
|Suite at the Alluvian note
the artwork and
||the champagne at the bedside
Two movie hotspots we visited that
not featured in the movie but frequented by cast and crew
were The Alluvian
and the Delta Bistro.
The Alluvian is owned by the Viking Range manufactures. They
bought the historic Irving Hotel and did a fantastic job or
turning it into luxury lodging. They did a great job; the
Alluvian was on Conde Nast Traveler Gold List in 2008, 2009,
and 2010. Many of the cast and crew stayed here.
|The lobby of the Alluvian
||The bar at the Alluvian
We did a tour and I was impressed
with the art collection. I especially loved the Delta Dog
Trot: Landscape Askew West by Bill Dunlap in in the lobby.
Each room has sketches related to the Delta done by
We also enjoyed a great
all-you-can-eat buffet breakfast. I can vouch that this is
not your typical motel continental breakfast.
|The cast loved
the tapas plates and atmosphere at Delta Bistro
When we had dinner at the Delta
Bistro, I understood why so many of the Hollywood people
dined there while shooting in Greenwood. The food was great
and the atmosphere vey modern.
| A salad and
dessert at the Delta Bistro
You can visit these sites and more.
It will make a unique vacation especially coupled with all
the other fun things in Greenwood. The Winery at Williams
Landing is one of the few in Mississippi and I believer, the
only licensed winery in the Delta. I fell in love with his
unusual Fig Wine. There are two museums you want to visit;
Museum of the Mississippi Delta,
Back in the Day
Museum on Young Street, that covers the history of the
blues, Baptist Town and African American culture in the
|The music trail marker for
Bobby Gentry at the Tallahatche Bridge
For amateur chefs, you can take a
class at Viking Cooking School. History or Blues buffs could
follow the trail of Robert Johnson's or Emmitt Till's
untimely deaths along Money Road not far from Skeeter's
plantation home. Then you can visit the Tallahatchie River
Bridge. There is a marker near the bridge for Bobby Gentry,
a Greenwood native. Shame Billy Joe didn't throw Hilly off
the bridge. But then there would have been no movie and a
few less reasons to visit Greenwood.
For more info:
The Help Driving Tour:
Ads fund American Roads so please consider them for your needed
If you enjoy the articles we offer, donations
are always welcome.