Can you believe that it’s the last week of January already? Pretty soon, we’ll be talking about Spring Pilgrimages around the state. We’ve had a ton of news since our last round up – so away we go.
We’re going to start with a couple of updates on recent fires. First, the Webster County Courthouse. Our friends at MDAH visited the site and the Technical Preservation Services staff posted an image on their facebook page. They say that while the building is badly damaged, it can be saved. This is likely to be an ongoing story that we’ll keep an eye on.
Second recent fire is the one affecting the Threefoot Building in Meridian. No known cause still, but there was a story saying that officials are still looking into the cause. Evidence was gathered and sent for analysis – which will help determine if it was arson or some other cause. We’ll watch this one too.
The Arlington oil well story in Natchez continues to linger. The State Oil & Gas Board approved the well operation at a meeting on January 16. The Natchez HPC had denied the Certificate of Appropriateness for the project the week before (which we reported in our last roundup) and a concerned citizen appeared before the Oil & Gas Board to request another continuance because of the lack of information the public had received on the project. The City was not represented at the Oil & Gas Board meeting. The project also has to go before the City’s Planning Commission – which was supposed to happen last week but a lack of quorum is delaying it until February.
Bad news out of Pascagoula where crews began tearing down the Brumfield’s Building in downtown. This story was not only in the Sun Herald, but it showed up in the MS Business Journal too. Neither noted any plans for future development on the lot. We knew it was coming from a story in a previous roundup, but it’s still sad to have it actually happen.
Moving to Starkville, the Historic Preservation Commission there is beginning the process of designating historic districts in their community. According to the local paper, some local residents were not happy to hear about these developments and the community was set up for a big “to do” over the issue. Reading the write up in the Dispatch, however, it actually sounds like it was a good first discussion with the typical early concerns preservationists see in all communities.
Good news regarding Mendenhall Elementary School. The school board there had been in discussions with MDAH after they requested permission to demolish the historic building. Their request arrived last year and the MDAH Board of Trustees requested that the school board get a structural report on the building. After reviewing that report, MDAH decided at their most recent meeting to deny the permit request for demolition of the Auditorium Building – but noted that a plan that allowed newer sections of the building to be demolished as part of the school board’s plan would be considered.
News in Houston is that the downtown / courthouse square area is headed for the National Register. The story was published here and here. The process still includes a meeting in Houston to talk about the district with citizens and the nomination has to be approved by the State Review Board before heading off to the National Park Service, but it sounds like everything is moving smoothly towards having the district listed.
in Jackson, there was a nice piece on the Manship House foundation work, including some “treasures” that have been unearthed that could help tell researchers more about the long history of the family. The house, which is run as a museum by MDAH, has been closed for a while because of work needed to deal with the affects of central Mississippi’s infamous Yazoo clay.
Back to Natchez, where the Board of Aldermen approved allocating funds to a renovation project for the former depot on Broadway Street. The funds would be used as a match for a grant from MDOT to renovate the property – but nothing in the story mentioned what the renovated structure might be used for.
Another rehab project update – this time down in Pascagoula where the story is that Round Island Lighthouse project will need more money to be completed. There are enough funds to handle all the exterior work needed and the additional money would be for plans on finishing the interior.
Finally, in Natchez one more time where the Historic Natchez Foundation held their annual meeting and gave awards to local property owners for their work. Also at the meeting (and at their offices in general) people can get a preview of the newest “Trails” panels that will be going up in the St. Catherine’s Street area.
Categories: Cool Old Places, Demolition/Abandonment, Grants, Gulf Coast, Historic Preservation, Houston, Jackson, Mendenhall, Meridian, Mississippi Landmarks, MS Dept. of Archives and History, Natchez, National Register, News Roundups, Pascagoula, Preservation Law/Local Commissions, Renovation Projects, Starkville