Wow – can’t believe it’s June already. Despite the heat, there are some things on the MissPres Calendar to check out – including a two day “Historic Preservation Boot Camp” held by our friends at MDAH.
Been a while since we did our last full roundup – and there are a lot of stories to get to:
We’ll start down in Natchez with a follow up to the Forks of the Road development issue (we had the first story here and a link to an editorial here). Archeologists from the National Park Service will be on site to recover any artifacts that are unearthed in the process. It’s not an ideal situation – but at least it’s some type of protection for the artifacts. Hopefully, most of the artifacts will be deep enough not to be disturbed by the surface construction – meaning that they will still be there for future research and study.
Also down in Natchez, one of my favorite places – Longwood - has had some work done. The Democrat had a nice write up about some of the history of the famous unfinished building – and about the roof repair and repainting that was finished recently. From the story, it sounds like it was an interesting and tricky job for the contractors as they had to figure out ways to get access to the dome. Some was done from the inside (they climbed up the six stories of unfinished stairs) and a lot of the exterior work was done from a crane.
If you’ve not seen Longwood at all (or lately at least), sounds like this would be a good time to see it now that it’s had its “facelift”.
One more from down in the Natchez area – but this one is actually from closer to Fayette where the story was that Prospect Hill was open for tours on Saturday. Visitors were able to come and go – and no “formal” tours were given, so it was a nice leisurely way to spend a Saturday. I hope they do more of these because the encouragement of visitors bringing picnic baskets and enjoying the day on the grounds is appealing . . . although I have to admit that doing it in a couple of months as the “fall” weather is approaching sounds ideal.
Not so great news up in Tupelo. Bids to move the Spain House were opened recently and the cost to move the house was about 62% more than what had been estimated. The big worry for me reading the story (which I saw both here and here) is that it sounds like the grant from MDAH to move the house is in jeopardy – which means that the fate of the property is back to being precarious again.
Still in Tupelo, the Baptist Church will demolish a house known as Whitfield, but will not be demolishing the Rogers home according to the local press. This story first popped up on the radar back in January. From what I can tell reading the new story, there may have been some discussion and comprise involved in getting to where we are now. The story was from late last week, and indicated that Whitfield would be demolished that day. Maybe some of our friends in Tupelo can confirm that for us.
Another “bad news” story out of Grenada where one of the city’s Antebellum homes suffered from a fire a couple of weeks ago. Lightning from severe weather has been determined as the culprit. Here’s hoping that the owners are able to restore the property. I would hate to see it sit vacant and deteriorating (like Arlington down in Natchez) and would hate even more to see it be demolished right away.
Moving down to the coast – in Biloxi the news was that the city extended time for owners of the Casino Magic Tower and White House Hotel to repair damage to their blighted properties, but warned them that time is running short. Most of the focus of the article is on the casino. The part that is about the historic White House Hotel, however, does say that the owner wants the building preserved – he just can’t afford to do what needs to be done. He is working to find someone who can and will. Keeping my fingers crossed on this one.
A potential National Register district up in Greenville is in the news. The headline I saw said “MDAH’s delay may be a good thing for downtown Greenville.” Unfortunately, I could not read the full story without having a paid subscription to the local paper. The snippet under the headline indicated that the nomination was tabled. Knowing how the process works, I’m guessing this would have been done by the state’s Review Board, who vote to recommend National Register nominations to the Park Service. I am curious to know if there are issues with the nomination or if there are property owners who are upset about the nomination. Of course, if it’s tabled, that means that there is still hope that we will have a new district in Greenville later in the year.
Columbus is also having some district issues – but theirs was a potential local district for Southside that is now off the table. The story reported that the reason was a lack of funding for a survey of the potential district to help define the boundaries. A plan to apply for a CLG grant had been in the works, but it sounds like the local match was an issue and they did not apply. I hope that the city and the Preservation Commission keep planning on a survey and put some money aside in the budget to match a grant next year to get it done.
Finally, in Hattiesburg, the latest “Then and Now” is up – it’s the former library, which is now the Cultural Center.
Categories: 101 MissPres Places, Biloxi, Columbus, Cool Old Places, Demolition/Abandonment, Greenville, Grenada, Hattiesburg, Mississippi Landmarks, MS Dept. of Archives and History, Natchez, National Park Service, National Register, News Roundups, Preservation Education, Preservation Law/Local Commissions, Preservation People/Events