Nutbush Gin Company: Cotton is King | Tennessee Travel Photographer

“A church house, gin house

A schoolhouse, outhouse

On Highway Number Nineteen

The people keep the city clean

They call it Nutbush

Oh, Nutbush

Call it Nutbush city limits…”

Tina Turner, “Nutbush City Limits” lyrics

Tina Turner may be a long way from the place that she once called home, Nutbush Tennessee, but the place still holds residence in her song lyrics.

On the old rural Highway 19 in Haywood County, just over an hour northeast of Memphis, sits the tiny town of Nutbush.   

If you blink, you’ll literally miss this tiny lil’ rural town of about 259 people as of 2000.  This small town, that no longer has an operating post office and shares a zip code with neighboring Ripley, shows signs of what was and maybe still is though much too hard to tell.

Nutbush Gin Company’s aging sign is a testament to what used to be. The heyday of Cotton, a major cash crop of the south and one that has a way of aging everything it touches, leaves a lasting legacy here like a “tattoo” on this town.

The Nutbush Gin Co is still operating as a one process cotton gin. In fact, Nutbush Gin Co. is one of five active gins in Haywood County, Tennessee according to the Cotton Board. The 2019 cotton gin production as reported in May 2020, there were just over 180,000 bales of cotton produced by those 5 gins total in that county (USDA Cotton Production Report May 2020)