Newspaper Clippings: Jackson’s Art Deco Icon at the Beginning

Today’s newspaper clipping comes from the Jackson (Miss.) Daily News, Feb. 7, 1929, plastered right on the front page. While the building didn’t yet have a name, the editors unwittingly gave it its name in their headline, the Tower Building, better known today as the Standard Life Building. Anybody know whether that beacon ever lived up to its billing?

Towering New Jackson Office Building

Enochs Structure To Be 22 Stories, Cost Over Million

Chambers Interests Joins Enochs-Flowers in Project; Plans Revealed

Details of revised plans for a million dollar 22-story office building, towering more than 100 feet above any structure in Jackson, and to be built by the Enochs and Flowers interests and the Paul Chambers and associated interests, were announced last night.

The structure will be at Pearl and Roach street, facing both streets, just off Capitol street, and in the heart of the rapidly growing west-end section of the business district.

Ultra-conservative business men who declared that “no one would build a 20-story building in Jackson,” were stunned by the announcement that in its revised plans, the building will go up 22 stories, including the tower in which will be located a 50-mile searchlight.

The building will be 260 feet from sidewalk to top, 105 feet higher than the Edwards hotel, one of the tallest cement buildings in the United States, if not in the world. It will have more than 50,000 square feet of office space, exclusive of the store space on the first floor; will cost between a million and a million and quarter dollars and will be ready for first occupants this fall, the backers announced.

At the same time it was announced that the Paul Chambers interests, which had planned a 17-story office building, have combined with the Enochs-Flowers interests and associates for the building at Pearl and Roach and abandoned plans for the proposed 17 story unit.

Work of demolishing the three buildings which now occupy a part of the site of the huge structure will begin at once and construction of the building will be stated immediately thereafter. Day and night shifts of workmen will be employed to rush the job to completion.

Lindsley Drew Plans

All plans for the building were drawn by C.H. Lindsley, Jackson architect, and call for an office building of the most modern type, even to the step-back effect of the upper floors predominate in the newest big structures of New York, Chicago and other metropolitan centers. It will be one of the most modern office buildings ever erected in the South and by far the largest of its kind in the state, the backers announced.

Applications for leases in the building have been received and many leases signed, the owners announced, and 75 per cent of the tenants now in the Edwards Hotel building have reserved space in the new building.

New Interests Inquire

Interests outside of Mississippi and not now doing business in the state are inquiring about space in the building, it is announced, while many interests now in the state but not now doing business in Jackson have likewise made inquiries with a view to establishing offices in the new building.

Some of the largest and strongest financial interests in Jackson have combined with Enochs and Flowers interests and the Paul Chambers interests to finance the building, which they feel sure will dispel any doubts about adequate financing of the plant.

To Be 90 by 109 Feet

The building, which has not yet been named, will face 90 feet on Roach street, with a large entrance from Roach street, and front 109 feet on Pearl street, having also a large entrance on this street.

On the ground floor there will be four large store spaces in addition to the spacious lobby, which will be much larger than the lobby of the usual office building of this type. It will, in fact, be more of an arcade, according to the plans of Mr. Lindsley, and the stores will have entrances from the lobby as well as from the street.

The lobbies merge, the Roach street entrance running into the large Pearl street entrances at the elevator stop, where three high-speed elevators of the latest safety type will be located.

The first two floors of the building will cover the full lot 90 by 109 feet.

Towering Shaft

From the third to the 18th floors there will be only office space, the building being a large shaft 47 by 108 feet in size, set back from the lower floors as are the newest metropolitan office structures.

Another step-back is scheduled for the 19th and 20th floors, which will be taken up with large store-rooms and elevator machinery. Water supply tanks will occupy the 21st floor and on the top of all will be the tower in which is located the beacon and searchlight.

The building will be of reinforced concrete construction throughout with a faced brick exterior, trimmed either in terra cotta or stone.

—————————————

Skyscraper Light Will Flash Beam for Fifty Miles

May Illuminate Vicksburg Bridge; Airport Beacon, Tunnel, Other Features

A strong beacon light pointing to the municipal airfield as a guide to the ever-increasing air travel of the state, and a revolving searchlight whose rays will carry 50 miles, will be placed atop the 22-story office building to go up at the corner of Pearl and Roach Streets, it was revealed last night by C.H. Lindsley, architect.

Since Jackson is 100 feet higher than Vicksburg, and the building will go up 260 feet, it is believed that the light will top any natural rises between Jackson and the river and light up the new Vicksburg bridge over the Mississippi.

Another innovation in the building will be an underground passageway connecting the office building and the Edwards hotel, which is owned by the Enochs and Flowers interests.

Jackson Daily News, February 17, 1929,  p. 1



Categories: Jackson, Cool Old Places, Architectural Research

9 replies

  1. How interesting. I have heard the claim that the Standard Life Building was the tallest reinforced concrete structure of its time but this is the first period document I’ve seen make the claim.

  2. Thanks for the clipping! One of my favorite buildings in the state. I like that it illustrates the paperback cover of Henry Miller’s Air Conditioned Nightmare, too. Good memory of climbing to the very top of the building in my student days in Jackson in the mid-80′s.

  3. Was there an attempt to create a tunnel from the Standard Life to the Edwards Hotel? If so, that would have been cool!

    • I hadn’t ever heard of that until this article, and I’ll bet it got cut before construction began. What an interesting concept though, and could have been the site of all sorts of interesting stories!

    • They could use the Town Creek Channel which passes just east of the Tower Building and now is covered up by concrete slabs and even has some buildings over it….hmm, wait…it doesn’t go toward the King Edward. Nevermind. HA!

  4. “Ultra-conservative business men who declared that “no one would build …”” wow! the more things change.

  5. The Plaza Building at the corner of Congress and Amite Streets was the Standard Life Building before Standard Life moved to the Tower Building and hung their company sign on the top.

  6. Did they ever put the light on top? Lighting up the Vicksburg Bridge from Jackson would have been quite a feat. I find it interesting how the Enochs show up throughout this period.

    • I had never heard of this light until this article and I suspect it never was even tried. I can’t believe it would have lit the bridge, but who knows?

      Yes, the Enochs name is everywhere back in that period and before–the Enochs Lumber Company was big in the late 19th century I believe.

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