Pictures of Gulf Park College campus

As you may recall from a few News Roundups back in December and January, the University of Southern Mississippi, which now owns the beautiful old Gulf Park College campus in Long Beach, wants to use its FEMA money to demolish the old administration building, one of the three remaining historic buildings on the campus. When I posted those, I didn’t have any pictures of the administration building to show you, but Mark Davis, who lives nearby and is involved with the Pearl River County Historical Society, volunteered to share some photos with the rest of us, and here they are.

Administration Building (1921), designed by New Orleans architect Rathbone Debuys, housed classrooms, labs, and offices at Gulf Park. The administration building and Hardy Hall are the two original college buildings left on campus (courtesy Mark Clinton Davis)

Hardy Hall (1921), designed by New Orleans architect Rathbone Debuys, Hardy Hall served as the dormitory, auditorium, and dining hall for the college (courtesy Mark Clinton Davis)

Lloyd Hall

Lloyd Hall (1926), designed by Jackson architect N.W. Overstreet. Lloyd Hall joined Hardy as the two dormitories on campus (courtesy Mark Clinton Davis)

As I mentioned in one of those two previous news roundups, the administration building sits behind the two front dormitories, forming the apex of a triangle and terminating the sightline from the beach road. I have seen all three buildings since Katrina, and to assert–as USM is–that the administration building is more badly damaged than Hardy and Lloyd simply defies logic and rational explanation. All were washed through by the surge, but the force of the surge was much more devastating on the two front buildings–washing out their entire first floors–than it was on the administration building.

Gulf Park College was also one of the first junior colleges in the state, organized in 1919 and opened in 1921, thus pre-dating the public junior college system, which was the first public junior college system in the nation.

Categories: Cool Old Places, Demolition/Abandonment, Historic Preservation, Preservation Law/Local Commissions, Universities/Colleges

39 replies

  1. Luv this sandy austere design…remarkable historical distinction too.

  2. Great buildings, surely some sort of appropriate use could be identified. And I agree that 106 review can be pretty flimsy protection against demolition, even in the best of circumstances.

  3. boy it sure looks like the lloyd hall was to match the hardy hall eventually. that sure might have framed the admin building better eh?

  4. It didn’t pop out at me until I saw the Sanborn map showing the footprints of the buildings–I think you’re right, they were planning for future growth that didn’t quite happen. Well, there are other ways to skin the cat–some more defined landscaping would frame the admin building better than it is now.

  5. Not that I am in any way, shape, or form advocating skinning cats (although apparently that wouldn’t be a felony in Mississippi :-)

  6. What happened to Elizabeth dormitory

  7. I live in Lufkin, Texas. My mother attended Gulf Park in the early 50s and loved it. I would hate to see it gone… I then attended a women’s college in Virginia and the Alumni would never allow it to be razed….why would the historians let them? I have a child at Ole Miss now so I know its not Mississippi. Good luck…

    • I agree -Gulf Park College should not be destroyed. It is a very beautiful campus and there are so many memories for those of us who attended Gulf Park. It was truly a very wonderful experience that none of us have forgotten.

  8. Hi Pat, When did you go to Gulf Park? I graduated from the high school in 1963. Your name sounds familiar to me.
    When I tell people how we had etiquette lectures and had to have so many dresses and three lengths of gloves for various occasions, they are incredulous. Still, it was a wonderful place to go to school. I have very fond memories of my classmates and teachers there, and the lovely dining room in Hardy Hall from which you could see the Gulf. hope this group is successful in preserving these lovely buildings; they are a wonderful treasure of the Old South.

  9. Hope they will change their mind about tearing down the middle building. All three buildings should be saved since the money is there for their preservation. I’m truly not satisfated with just pictures to represent the Adminstration building historically. Let’s see, remove the Ad. Building and the Y-Hut and we have a wide expanse of land to build what we want.
    Doesn’t seem right since the money has been alotted to save the Ad. Building.

  10. I am a current student here at USM the former Gulf Park College. I am also a Geographer major and the history this place has to tell is wonderful. I can see the beautiful buildings as they were once and wouldlove to see the compleation of the restoration. as of now Lloyd Hall and Hardy Hall are operational. Elizibeth Hall is mostly completed. the Admin. Building still untouched. I suspect USM will start it next. they have plenty of land to build other buildings on with out tearing this one down.

    • It’s never too late to save a building that’s still standing and in the decent shape the Admin building is in. My understanding was that the administration in charge 5-6 years ago was determined for it to be demolished, but maybe the new administration could be convinced by rational arguments.

  11. The federal government encourages the preservation and restoration of historic buildings in towns across America through the Main Street Program. The same high regard should be shown to buildings on the beautiful old campuses of colleges as well. As a graduate of Gulf Park in 1963, I appreciate the work that has been done on Hardy Hall and I hope that USM will reconsider the destruction of the old Administration Building. There are many ways to reconfigure the interior; but, it is so important that the history and architectural integrity of the Gulf Park College campus be protected.

  12. After having seen so much vibrant, vital restoration in NOLA after Katrina, I am convinced that our Admin building can be restored if there’s the will to do so. As a graduate of Gulf Park College in 1964, I fervently hope, with Sherrie Johnson Miller, that the history and the architectural integrity of our beautiful campus can be restored and preserved. GPC was a unique feature of the Gulf Coast–as Friendship Oak attests–and especially post- Katrina, extraordinary efforts to preserve beautiful elements of the Coast’s past should be undertaken.

    • If alumni have an opinion, now is the time to express it, and directly to USM. USM’s new admin has persisted in the strange insistence on demolishing this building. As you say, where there’s a will, there’s a way, but in this case, the will of the admin is to demolish, and they are on a mission to do it. Perhaps public and alumni outcry might give them pause to reconsider.

      • I am a graduate of Gulf Park College ’63 and remember the wonderful memories that were spent in Hardy Hall and the admin building. Please do not destroy by demolishing this building! We need to keep it as the historical building we all remember.

      • As an alumni(’63) of Gulf Park College, I recently visited the campus for my 50th class reunion. The restoration of Hardy Hall was well done and I believe the Administration Building could be restored as well and am asking the administration of USM to strongly reconsider
        their decision to demolish it. I am a resident of Mississippi and believe as citizens we should work to maintain structures such as this one to keep alive our connections to our past history and to the
        history of Gulf Park College which played an important role in the
        education of young women for so very many years.

      • As a 1963 graduation of Gulf Park College, I visited the campus in April. The restoration is architecturally pleasing since Katrina. My question is, “Why not restore the Administration Building as well?” Destroying it seems not in keeping with the other restoration efforts. I believe more thought should be given to preserving this building rather than tearing it down and starting over.

        • If you all want to pool your efforts, I would be happy to send out a list of your emails to those of you who have expressed a desire to save the building. That way you might be able to organize without the middleman. Although come to think of it, if you just got together for a reunion, you might already have all that contact info. Just let me know what you think. Perhaps a strong unified voice by interested alumni would hold some sway with the USM administration.

          • We will be there in large numbers beginning July 24th for our annual reunion. I am most certain that the admin building will be in our discussions. We want it saved and renovated to match Hardy as it should.
            Jake GPC ’68

            • No, No, No. Please don’t even consider removing Hardy Hall!! It has been renovated and is part of the history of the campus. Renovating the administration building would also add to the historical value of the campus. Friendship Oak needs to be surrounded by some of the original buildings!!
              I, too, am a Gulf Park College alum who visited the campus in April. I was impressed with the Heritage Room that was established in the new library and believe that this interest in the history of the campus should definitely be given to two of the original buildings, as well.

  13. Ginny Raths,
    No one has mentioned removing Hardy Hall. We are all talking about the Admin Building being saved and renovated LIKE Hardy Hall has been. :-)
    Love my Gulf Park sistas <3

    • I am also an alum of GPC, HS 61 & C ’63! The Admin Building
      Should NOT be demolished……IT should be renovated the same
      As Hardy Hall and Lloyd Hall! That beautiful Campus of GPC
      Has a long history of educating young girls that would be lost if the
      Ad Building……where classes were held…..was lost to demolition.
      Please! Reconsider and SAVE that GRAND building.
      Jane Engel Purcel

      • I am trying to find Paige Elrod. She would have been a freshman in 1961. She attended high school in Newport News, Va. Her father was in the military.

  14. I am also a graduate of Gulf park College 1966.It would seem, that the administration building woulld be part of the package, in restoring the campus.If,it could be saved,it should be saved.

  15. i went to high school at Gulf Park (1955 – 1956). It is sad that very few high school girls come back to reunions, but the few who do have a strong feeling for the school. I hope the administration building can be saved – we all have so many good memories of our classes and teachers there and it would be such a shame to see it demolished. It is such an important part of the campus.

    Sybil Watkins Sartain


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