As you may recall, Cathrine Hall, one of the several historic buildings left on the amazing but vacant Mississippi Industrial College in Holly Springs, suffered a partial collapse last June (2009). That news came to me word-of-mouth, and I’ve never seen anything about it in the papers (admittedly I don’t read the South Reporter every day), which is strange. But MissPreser Susan Allen (whose own Suzassippi blog wins Best Title, hands-down) has been up round those parts recently and took some pictures that compared with pictures she snapped last summer show the damage has continued and accelerated. What began as a relatively small section of wall collapsing has now spread to a large portion of the rear elevation and is moving toward the front of the building. This is a common story in the decline of a building–if repairs or even basic shoring aren’t done in a timely manner, the level of structural damage grows exponentially.
The campus, sitting on a prominent location on the west side of Hwy 7 across the road from Rust College, was listed on the Mississippi Heritage Trust’s 10 Most Endangered List in 2001. I at least had some hope when the alumni group, unable to raise funds to save the buildings, sold the campus to Rust College. There’s no question the buildings were in bad shape from years of abandonment and neglect, but I haven’t seen Rust doing much to shore up those that can still be saved either. Dr. David Beckley, Rust’s president, commented on the previous post that funding for the campus stabilization had been denied at both the state and federal level, which is surprising if accurate because the MIC is one of the most architecturally prominent African American campus in the state, rivaled perhaps only by Tougaloo.
Susan posted her own thoughts about the damage on her blog, and she is sharing her photos with the MissPres world in hopes of getting some attention to these Mississippi landmarks, so in need of our help. Any ideas out there? This building (and the rest of the campus) won’t wait around for us to get our act together.