J.R. Flint House by Hays Town in South Jackson

from Builders of Mississippi, published 1951

A while back, regular commenter Carunzel (although come to think of it, where is Carunzel lately?) pointed out a little publication hidden away in the state archives that turned out to be a gem. Titled Builders of Mississippi and published in 1951, it showcases the great new buildings of various Mississippi contractors, providing beautiful pictures of mid-twentieth century buildings while also noting the architects for most of the projects. Thumbing through, I noticed that the Flint Brothers Construction Company was well represented, and a sweet little Colonial Revival house simply labeled “Local Residence, Jackson, Mississippi” caught my eye, especially since Hays Town–better known in Mississippi for his modernist schools (like Bailey Jr. High) and public buildings–was credited as the architect.

Of course, we all know that Town later moved back to his native Louisiana and turned his back on Modernism in favor of residential projects in a style all his own that harkens back to a French or Creole past. I was interested though to see that this house, dating to the 1940s, was built after Town returned to Louisiana because I seem to recall hearing that there was some sort of agreement between Overstreet and Town when they parted ways to not work in the other’s state. Maybe since Town knew the Flints before and this was a relatively small project, it was ok with Overstreet for Town to be back working in Mississippi.

The house in the book looked familiar, and I thought it might be up on Ridgewood Road, but when I went over there and looked more closely, that house didn’t match this picture.

Fast forward to last month, when I noticed a Facebook Group called Remembering South Jackson where an album of photos posted by Jimmy Flint caught my eye. Mostly Jackson buildings like St. Dominics Hospital, the old Meadowbrook McRaes with its original butterfly awning, and the Westland Plaza Shoneys, they depict buildings constructed by the Flint Brothers Construction Company in the 1940s and 1950s. Some of the pictures, including the house above, come from the Builders of Mississippi book, but many are photos I’ve never seen before, taken during and just after construction as documentation of the firm’s work. You can check out the album for yourself and see some of our state’s landmarks just after they were completed.

The album also has some wonderful people photos–so rare in the architecture or construction worlds! Check out this meeting of the 1946 Annual Meeting of the Mississippi Associated General Contractors, held here in Jackson at the old Rotisserie restaurant near what is now the Jackson Medical Mall. If it were in color, I bet those men’s ties would pop right off the screen. And that light fixture? Wish I could have found one like it for my recent house project.

Anyway, the photo album also solved the mystery of this house I had thought I recognized. In fact, the house, built around 1947, is located on Terry Road and was the residence of Mr. and Mrs. J.R. Flint, Jimmy Flint’s grandparents. At the intersection with McDowell Road, it was the anchor of two subdivisions, Pine Hills and Arbor Hills, in South Jackson that J.R Flint developed in the early 1950s. J.R Flint was one of the founders of the Flint Brothers Construction Co.

Here’s what Jimmy Flint had to say about his grandfather and the work he did:

Earlier my father’s parents lived over off of West Capitol Street near the zoo; at the time that was the place to live (like Eastover, Meadowbrook, and now Madison is). My father went to central while my mother went to St Joe.  If you check records you will see that JR Flint also had a hand in building both schools and other building off of West Capitol.

My grand parents attended Capital Street Methodist Church – they did not build the original church but did build at a later date the chapel and also the education wing of the church – also several of the stain glass windows were purchased by the family
– these are now located at Christ United Methodist (Small Chapel Room) and also Parkway Methodist on Highland Colony – Madison

My grandfather sought out some land in south Jackson and wanted to be closer to the farm in Bryam over the swinging bridge.  Mr Lester at the time had several acres of land that my grandfather bought on the corner of Terry & McDowell Road.

He brought in a well known architect whom he had met while building several places in Natchez that area.  He brought him to Jackson and they designed the plans for both houses.  During the same time he had the city lay out the streets and water for
the current Pine Hills Subdivison and the Arbor Hills which is across the street off Terry Road.  A total of 25 homes were built over a 3 year period… My parents built their house at 233 Shady Pine Land around 1957 and was one of the last to be built.

As anyone from Jackson knows, South Jackson is in a bit of a low phase, and has been for at least a decade. I went to take a few photos of the Flint house on Terry Road and found that it is occupied (I think it’s been vacant off and on for a while), but not in good repair. In fact, it doesn’t show up in these pictures, but the brick on the McDowell Road side has a pretty long and large crack running diagonally down the wall–possibly the work of Yazoo clay.

But notice the nice details still evident that show Hays Town knew how to handle proportion and classical ornament–the nice leaded-glass sidelights and transom, the columns not too chunky but not too thin, the porch at the right depth, the lunette in the stuccoed pediment.

Thanks to Jimmy Flint for sharing these pictures and his memories of his grandfather, who built many landmarks large and small around the state. Hopefully we can learn more about the Flints and their work, and the work of the other men around that table at the AGC meeting. Sometimes we get so caught up in the architects of our historic structures that we forget about the men who took the plans and turned them into a real live buildings.

J.R. Flint House, Jackson, May 2010



Categories: Architectural Research, Cool Old Places, Jackson

10 replies

  1. Fine, call me out!

    Every time I go to south Jackson lately I notice the condition of this house and the one next door– it’s identical, isn’t it? It’s been particularly bothering me that the sidelights are boarded up; I wonder what that’s about?

    These houses are some of the real gems of our city that happen to be located in south Jackson. It is unfortunate that they and the older houses farther down Terry Rd. along with those of Alta Woods and some of the neat little mid-century clinics, etc. that dot the area have just been left to rot by those fine, upstanding now-residents of Byram and Madison and Rankin Counties. I remember the conversations my mother was forced to have with our neighbors when, after my father died, she had to sell the house in which I grew up. Let’s just say these people were not happy, willing participants of the civil rights movement and that anyone who thinks our society doesn’t have far to go on the matter of race relations should observe, as EL points out, that this has happened within the last decade.

    So, I was in south Jackson just this past Monday, “stalking dead architects” as I put it to another friend. My daughter took some pictures with her phone, but they didn’t turn out very well so sorry I don’t have any documentation. Anyway, for anyone interested, there were many fine architects who made their homes and businesses in south Jackson, including the men of Godfrey, Bassett, and Pitts (best building, hands down, is the South Hills Branch Library, now Richard Wright Library, which I think we’ll be hearing more about here soon!); Cooke-Douglas & Farr (Bob Farr is primarily responsible for developing Alta Woods and for building All Saints Episcopal Church; his former office is a neat little building off Raymond Rd. with an interesting foundation); and my own father, Robert M. “Bobby” Hallman who was a draftsman for Robert Parker Adams and, later, an architect in that firm.

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  2. Wow, thanks for digging that one out, Carunzel! Didn’t see that on my first run through the album. I recognized that picture of Bill Henry right off though. What serendipity!

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    • That’s funny! Actually, I befriended her right away and pointed her to the memoriam for her dad and the follow-up and she changed her profile picture to that one you got from the yearbook! She says, “Thanks Jennifer…I am processing all of this info…” I invited her to comment if she’d like.

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  3. The house reminds me of Windy Hill Manor in Natchez for some reason. I hope it isn’t headed in the same direction…

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  4. i grew up in that house lived in it from 6th grade til i married. the two houses were lovely. and it is so sad to see them now. my mother and dad died. and my aunts lived next door til they all died. also. sad. r

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  5. Thanks for the hat tip to Remembering South Jackson on Facebook. I’d like to use the top photo you posted of the Flint House for the page.

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Trackbacks

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