Just 2 Years After Merle Haggard’s Death, This I


He’s an American country music icon described as the working man’s poet. And less than two years since his death, two new tributes pay homage to Merle Haggard. And each honors something of him that his fans loved most.

Merle Haggard
Merle Haggard (photo from cnn.com)

Merle Haggard Memorial Overpass

California is a state of highways, byways, and freeways. And Haggard was a man who sang songs of the road. So it’s fitting that a stretch of road there be named after him.

Notably, it’s also the state in which he lived, and in which he passed away.

Rolling Stone reported on the new stretch of highway. Located in Redding, California, the Interstate 5 and Highway 44 interchange is now the Merle Haggard Memorial Overpass. The Overpass is about 10 miles from Haggard’s home in Palo Cedro. This is where Haggard passed away on his 79th birthday.

Local residents came together for the effort and raised money for the two new signs. On October 25, Haggard’s widow, Theresa, and his youngest daughter, Janessa, dedicated the memorial.

But that’s not the only Haggard tribute in the works.

image from the newyorker.com

Merle Haggard Museum and Merle’s Meat + Three Saloon

On the other side of the country is another homage to Haggard. Opening in Nashville is the Merle Haggard Museum and Merle’s Meat + Three Saloon. A mouthful, to say the least, the museum and restaurant will each feature different tributes to the late artist.

According to the Tennessean, Bill and Shannon Millers are opening the museum and saloon. This is not unfamiliar territory to the couple; they also opened the Johnny Cash Museum. Slated to open in summer 2018, the museum will feature “feature instruments, clothing, memorabilia, awards and other artifacts that belonged to Haggard.”

Theresa Haggard, Merle’s widow, endorsed the idea. She told the Tennessean, “I think this venture will be a wonderful way to preserve Merle’s legacy and just keep his music going on and on.”

David Swett will run Merle’s Meat + Three Saloon. Owner of Swett’s Restaurant, David now claims more than 60 years on the Nashville restaurant scene. He describes the food at the new saloon as “good Southern comfort food with a twist of soul.”

Come next summer, you can celebrate Merle coast to coast with good Southern food and a great road trip!