Mississippi River Basin Model
Hinds County, Mississippi
Started in 1943 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Mississippi River Basin Model is designed to study floods, drought, and other weather events. The early excavation was carried out by German prisoners of war who were captured in North Africa when Rommel’s Africa Korps was destroyed by Anglo-American forces. Later, concrete work was completed by local Jackson contractors and the model was ready for use in the early 1950s. A day on the river could be simulated in just 5.4 minutes using the model. Although it was useful for predicting flood limits for four decades, the model was decommissioned in 1993 when it was replaced by computer software for flood control modeling and simulation.
In 1993, the model was deeded to the City of Jackson. A city park was built around the model, which is now unused and mostly hidden from view by the dense undergrowth that the German POWs worked so hard to remove almost 60 years ago. Despite its unfortunate deteriorated condition, the Basin Model stands as a monument to man’s desire to understand and control the mighty Mississippi River.
2015 Update – No Progress
Since its closing, new-growth forest has emerged from manicured fields, roots dislodge the concrete riverbed, and bushes squeeze through fissures appearing at junction points of sections in the model. The Clarion Ledger wrote an extensive article in June 2015 about the site, including its important history and interviews with former employees. While the Model is a Mississippi Landmark, the City of Jackson has not attempted restoration.