Workers have been spotted at the Naval Reserve Center behind the Old Capitol in Jackson over the last week removing windows, interior debris, and sections of the rear wings in preparation for the demolition of most of the rear wings of this National Register-listed building.
As we’ve noted before, this project will yield a records center for the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, housed in a new metal warehouse that will be located where the rear wings are currently and will be elevated because the site is in a flood plain that flooded in the famous Easter Flood of 1979. The wisdom of building a state records center (that houses, um, important state records) in a flood plain at great expense when other non-flood-plain sites stand empty all around Jackson; or even more importantly to MissPres, the wisdom of the state’s historic preservation agency tearing off large sections of a building that has been listed on the National Register and further designated as one of Mississippi’s Most Endangered Places–neither of these important issues have been publicly discussed as this project rolls merrily on.
While the project has been spun as a “restoration” of the front “boat” section, sources within MDAH have verified that staff offices will not occupy this space, and that there are no plans for any occupancy of this much-beloved landmark in the foreseeable future. Instead, offices will be housed in the rear Marine building, leaving the front to look pretty (if you can overlook the metal building hovering over it) for a few years until it begins to show its lack of maintenance, the state being particularly guilty of not maintaining its occupied property much less its unoccupied property.
In short, this is a sham preservation project. Sham is a form of shame, and I guess that answers my question about whether this project and everyone on this sign belongs on the MissPres Wall of Shame.
For previous diatribes on this apparently unstoppable project, see:
- “What’s Going on at the Naval Reserve Center” (June 24, 2010)
- “MissPres News Roundup 6-4-2010” (June 4, 2010)
- “MissPres News Roundup 10-2-2009” (October 2, 2009)
and the first, innocent and naive notice of the project . . .
- “MissPres News Roundup 8-7-2009” (August 7, 2009)
Just as a little non-angry note, this is the first time I’ve seen the windows open–I had assumed they were standard double-sash windows but instead they’re cool awning types. Not sure if they crank out or what.