MissPres News Roundup 10-7-2013

A quick news roundup this week–I admit I haven’t done my homework, so this is not comprehensive.

The Sun-Herald ran a nice story “Historic Ocean Springs house makes a comeback; agencies ponder future” about the Charnley House restoration, which MHT’s Lolly Barnes wrote about here back in August.

It was a giant jigsaw puzzle with pieces too big to pick up and fit together. But that’s what the contractor did, Miller explained.

In the driveway were piles of rubble from the house. They had photographs to go by, but mainly he had to see what fit with what, Miller said. The first phase was to loosely stitch it together. Then take windows, doors and trim from piles and see how those fit in.

Also in the Sun-Herald, “Moss Point Central Fire Station considered for Heritage Trust’s Endangered List.” As you know, the old 1926 fire station and water works building in Moss Point is under threat of demolition by the city. And you also remember that MHT’s 10 Most Endangered List will be announced November 14–be there or be square!

Jackson’s Eastland Federal Building, unfortunately abandoned by the feds for their new steroidal Boring-esque building on the south edge of downtown, may see new life with apartments upstairs and restaurant and retail space on the first floor (formerly mostly occupied by the post office, before it moved into the Medgar Evers P.O.) According to the Jackson Free Pressthe lead developers are Jason Goree and Jason Watkins, and the architects for the renovation are Duvall-Decker of Jackson.

The $20 million project is ambitious on a couple of fronts. First, the building needs new heat and air-conditioning units, and each residential space needs its own temperature control. It also needs a stairwell, as the only point of egress is a flight of stairs on one side of the U-shaped building.

The second challenge, and the one that Decker is the most excited about, is the balance he must strike between updating the building and preserving its past. The Mississippi Department of Archives and History placed the building on the National Registry of protected buildings in 1976 as part of the Smith Park Architectural District, so Decker must consider some of the building’s oldest and most distinct features.

There are a lot of things we must preserve while at the same time bringing the building into the modern era where people will want to live,” Decker said. “You’ll be able to look at the building and see its charm, but you’ll see where we’ve made some renovations and 
updated it. You’ll be able to see the layers of history.”

Just a note: the proper name is “National Register of Historic Places.”

Beck House, Vicksburg (1875). Photo by Nancy Bell, VIcksburg Historic Foundation, 2007. Downloaded from MDAH Historic Resources Database.

Beck House, Vicksburg (1875). Photo by Nancy Bell, Vicksburg Historic Foundation, 2007. Downloaded from MDAH Historic Resources Database.

The owner of Vicksburg’s lovely Beck House is challenging the city’s order to fix the house, built in 1875 by a mayor of Vicksburg who was also a brick mason and contractor.

Gray-Lewis first condemned the house in November 2012, and Rosenthall got a building permit to begin repairs. Gray-Lewis, however, later pulled the permit because no repairs were being made. The permit was later reinstated.

Rosenthall stopped work in March after his application to install a metal roof on the house and put stucco over deteriorating sections of the building’s brick walls was denied by the city.

According to the MDAH Historic Resources Database, the two-story brick L-front house is Vicksburg’s “most important residential example of the High Victorian Italianate style.”

Finally, Farish Street’s state-funded renewal has been delayed so long that the Jackson Redevelopment Authority has cancelled its contract with developer David Watkins. This is the second developer who has struck out on this project, and as far as I can tell, no construction work has been done on the street in about five years, although I’m told much design work was complete. The Clarion-Ledger notes:

The district has been under development sporadically since 2002, and discussions date back even earlier. The real estate arm of Memphis-based Performa Entertainment was discussing property acquisitions with the Jackson City Council as early as 1996 as plans to revitalize the area were first taking shape.



Categories: African American History, Courthouses, Demolition/Abandonment, Gulf Coast, Hurricane Katrina, Jackson, Mississippi Heritage Trust, Moss Point, Ocean Springs, Vicksburg

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