Ok, I promised to post a few pictures from SESAH’s Saturday bus tour of Jackson, called “Beyond Greek Revival.” The weather did a wonderful about-face overnight from the rainy dreariness of Friday to a brilliant sunshiny Saturday, and it was a great day for touring.
True to promise, we saw only non-Greek Revival buildings, except for the Greek Revival interior at the Manship House. The theme was primarily Jackson’s 20th century history, showing that the city experienced its greatest growth in the last 100 years and its antebellum history, while of great value, is only a small part of the story.
We started up North State Street at 8:40 (a little late) and drove all the way up to Tougaloo College, where architect Wayne Timmer was waiting at the Woodworth Chapel to show the beautiful renovation that finished up there a few years ago under his direction. After that, participants had a little time to wander the historic campus and stop in at the library, where former curator Susan McClamroch had laid out the 1970s master plan for the campus that resulted in the Coleman Library and two highly Modern dormitories and would have meant the demolition of all other buildings on campus if there had been enough money to do it.
We headed out to the Medgar Evers House, where you could have heard a pin drop as the curator told the story of Medgar Evers and his assassination in the carport of the house. I’ve been in hundreds of historic houses, and the Evers House is one of the most evocative, you can almost feel the events it’s all so tangible.
Back into town to check out the always impressive and every-changing Manship House, then into Fondren for lunch, a quick trip through Woodland Hills and a stop at the Wiener House–now owned and graciously opened to us by the Busbeas–an understated International style house in the middle of the sometimes overstated revival styles around it. We moved from the 1950s to the 1960s when we drove up the road to St. Richard’s Catholic Church, which although quite severe on the exterior is remarkably serene and humane inside.
Coming back to Belhaven, we stepped into Eudora Welty’s world, spending an hour or so learning about her remarkable life and work. We finished off the day, appropriately for Halloween, by squeezing our bus into Greenwood Cemetery and gathering around a wonderful spread of warm cider, pumpkin butterscotch muffins, and cookies. It was a nice way to end the meeting, washed in warm late-afternoon sunlight, relaxing with friends, and saying one last hello to Eudora.
Since my informal poll indicated that the Wiener House was the favorite stop of the day, and since I don’t think many of us are familiar with it, I include not one but three extra pictures of it, free of charge.
Now that you’ve lived the bus tour vicariously, make sure to check out the on-going discussion about the keynote lecture at yesterday’s post.