CORINTH, Miss. — I had never heard of or tasted a slugburger until I visited Corinth, which, it turns out, is known as the slugburger capital of the world. I ate my first one at Borroum’s Drug Store. Despite their yucky name, slugburgers are delicious. They are so popular that locals pay homage to it with a Slugburger Festival every July.
The first slugburger was made during the Great Depression in the 1930s, when money and food were scarce. The Weeks family owned a hamburger stand in town. Mrs. Weeks, needing to make meat stretch, started adding an extender, soybean meal and spices, to ground beef or pork. She deep fried the patties, serving them on hamburger rolls with mustard, pickles, and onions. They’re served that way today. And don’t even think of asking for ketchup or you’ll get a blank stare like I did. You get the same look if you ask for the recipe.
Why the name? Mrs. Weeks charged a nickel for them. Back then, nickels were called slugs, hence “slugburger.”
Corinth, founded in 1856, is a small town that exudes Americana. Locally owned shops and restaurants line the streets downtown. The American flag waves from many buildings and homes.
More than 100 years ago, the first Coca-Cola distribution company opened in Corinth. The Coca-Cola Museum holds an old-fashioned soda fountain and hundreds of artifacts.
Borroum’s Drug Store, founded in 1865, has glass cases filled with 19th-century medicine bottles and Civil War artifacts. It’s been in the same family since the end of the war.
In 1862, two of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War were fought in and near Corinth; the Battle of Shiloh on April 6-7, and the Battle of Corinth on Oct. 3-4.
The Crossroads Museum boasts exhibits and maps depicting the town as a railroad hub during the Civil War.
Inside the Corinth Civil War Interpretative Center are exhibits, maps with Confederate and Union fortifications, and a multimedia theater with a video explaining the battle of Corinth.
The visitors center at Shiloh National Military Park has videos and maps detailing the battle sites and memorials. This beautiful place was the scene of slaughter during the Battle of Shiloh (Pittsburgh Landing). General Grant’s 40,000 Union troops engaged General Johnston’s 44,000 Confederates. On the second day of fighting, General Johnston’s men were forced to retreat.
Those two days of carnage resulted in 23,746 casualties. The Union Army gained control of Corinth from May 1862 to December 1863.
As in other Union occupied towns, Corinth had a contraband camp providing a temporary home for escaped slaves. The camp held 6,000 African Americans who started farms and built homes, churches, and schools. Today, dispersed on the camp grounds, are life-size bronze statues of people at their daily activities; a laundress, a teacher, a farmer, and so on.
Frances Folsom can be reached at email@example.com.