I know our fearless leader is going on vacation, so there will be some guest posts this week and everyone should get ready for the next Name This Place Contest to start next week.
With that, here’s the news:
First, we’ll start on the Coast where the Biloxi Sun Herald reports that two state historic markers were unveiled in Gulfport on June 29 to honor Dr. Felix Dunn. One marker was placed at the site of the Gulfport “Wade-In,” which Dr. Dunn led to help integrate beaches. The second marker was placed at building that served as Dunn’s medical clinic and family home. According to Dunn’s daughter, the clinic was twice bombed by the Ku Klux Klan because of Dunn’s work towards civil rights. When you’re looking for something to do on your summer beach vacation besides lay on the sand, swing by these markers in Gulfport and the new Blues Trail marker in Bay St. Louis.
Historic cemeteries have made news recently as well. Again on the Coast, Long Beach has benefited from the work of USM Gulf Coast geography students who have, under the direction of their professor, been researching the city’s cemetery to try to recreate data lost when Katrina destroyed the records once held in City Hall. The group “used a variety of methods to investigate and document the cemetery’s occupied and unoccupied graves. In addition to an aerial image of the cemetery, the researchers used a map, photography and a newly developed coding system to document each plot’s location within the cemetery. Information from remaining city records and the cemetery’s headstones were also documented for the researchers’ data.”
Down in Natchez, Watkins Cemetery needs some maintenance assistance, which the County hoped to be able to do using inmate labor. Unfortunately, the cemetery is inside the City limits, so the County cannot supply workers to clean up the historic cemetery. The story in the Democrat does not say what other options are available to take care of the cemetery, but I hope that the story gets someone to organize a group to get some of the initial work done.
Mississippi University for Women up in Columbus was the focus of a story in the Dispatch this week. The report began with an update on renovations to Poindexter Hall. “The first floor of the building will include a grand piano studio, reception and seminar area and student lounge “green room.” The foyer, which contains the original heart pine floors, will lead guests into the historic auditorium that seats 250 and will be used for music performances and other campus and community events.” All of this work – which is about 50% done and scheduled for completion in 2012 – will also address ADA issues in the building. The article also talks about some other work being done on campus, but Poindexter is the big one.
Hattiesburg lawyer and preservationist Web Heidelberg has been confirmed to be the newest member of the MDAH Board of Trustees, according to the Hattiesburg American. In addition to his MDAH role, Mr. Heidelberg is president of the Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association and a board member of the Mississippi Historical Society.
“Historic preservation is really important for creating a sense of place as opposed to cities feeling like ‘Anyplace USA,’” he said. “I appreciate the confidence that the board has placed in me and the Senate that confirmed me. I just look forward to doing the work of the department and being involved in policy decisions they have to make.”
The Leader-Call in Laurel ran a story about the downtown walking tour brochure the city will be working on for the next year. Although the article does not mention the Certified Local Government program, the way it mentions MDAH makes it sound like this is their CLG Grant (which we announced here).
Down in Ocean Springs, news is that the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources has been awarded a $1 million grant to purchase and restore the Charnley-Norwood property. This is a property that has a backstory here on MissPres. The article this week did not mention a lot about the history of the property – which allegedly has ties to both Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright – nor did it mention that MDAH is (and has been) involved in efforts to secure the property. Since the site is a Mississippi Landmark, MDAH will further be involved during the renovations by reviewing and issuing the permit(s) for the work to be done.
Finally, Byhalia made the news this week announcing that they received a $100,000 grant to renovate the old high school auditorium. The story says the grant is from MDAH, but I know the CLG Grants aren’t that big and I can’t think of any other grants the department have awarded recently. If anyone knows more than is in the story, please share.
Categories: African American History, Columbus, Cool Old Places, Grants, Gulf Coast, Gulfport, Laurel, Long Beach, Mississippi Landmarks, MS Dept. of Archives and History, Natchez, News Roundups, Ocean Springs, Universities/Colleges