03/08/2012 12:12 pm ET Updated Mar 08, 2012

How Four Women Revived a Derelict Mississippi Town

OVER lunch at the B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery here one day last month - pear zucchini soup and cornbread madeleines - the women of Water Valley were talking demolition.

Coulter Fussell, 34, an artist and an owner of Yalo Studio, a gallery a couple of doors down the block on the town's Main Street, favors a crowbar. Megan Patton, also 34, an artist, waitress and Ms. Fussell's gallery partner, likes to use a hammer and a screwdriver. Erin Austen Abbott, 36, a photographer, gift shop owner, pop-up gallery impresario and travel nanny, doesn't care what tool she uses, as long as she has company.

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