Schools are structures that are often duplicated from one set of plans, as seen in some of Malvaney’s early Architectural Twins posts (January 14, 2010 & July 14, 2010). The school board of Hattiesburg was no different when they hired architect Robert E. Lee to design a school for them on Court Street about 1902. The layout was so successful that the identical design was use to build a school less than a mile away in the Third Ward about 1905.
Just like people, when schools grow up and older they tend to get bigger. And just like people, some schools age gracefully and others just cannot seem to stay out of trouble. If Walthall (aka Court Street) School is the former, then poor Eaton (aka Third Ward) School is the latter. Below you can see how the two schools have grown, according to the MDAH HRI database.
Walthall/Court Street School
- Original Building (Red), c. 1902 Architect: Robert E. Lee
- Enlargement/remodeling (Blue), 1928 Architect: N.W. Overstreet & R.W. Naef
- Additions (Yellow), 1941 Architects: Landry & Matthes
- Rear Addition (Green), 1957 Architects: Associated School Architects
Eaton/Third Ward School
- Original Building (Red), c. 1905 Architect: Robert E. Lee
- Classroom, Cafeteria Addition (Yellow), 1948 Architects: Hearon & McCleskey
- Auditorium Addition (Green), 1957 Architects: Associated School Architects
Walthall/Court Street School seemed to grow up and in its early Twenties, do some traveling, becoming exposed to some culture (hence the 1928 Mission Revival remodeling), grew some additions to accommodate more children. It retired from teaching in 1987 and became a condo several years later (the building was covered into condominium apartments within the past 10 years).
Poor Eaton/Third Ward School grew up also, bless its heart. It stayed around home, got plastered (the building received a sloppy “stucco” coat over its handsome brick at some point), did some growing to accommodate the kids, but a few years ago acted up as folks who need attention sometimes do and lost its head, bad enough the Attorney General had to come to town. It’s pretty bad but there’s always time to turn one’s life around. The City can correct the damage previously done and show folks that they are a place of forward thinking, where things that may seem impossible are not. The City should care about Eaton School like I know the residents of Hattiesburg do, so it’s time to stage an intervention for the building. It’s time to get Eaton School the help it needs so it can enjoy the same successes as its twin.