New Deal in Mississippi: Winona Community House

Winona Community HouseLike the community houses in Eupora, Pontotoc, and Grenada, the one in Winona is in the Tudor style, with stone facade.  It was built in 1937-1938 by the Work Progress Administration (WPA), while the Pontotoc house was built by the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) (Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Historic Resources Inventory database).  Located in the Winona Historic District, the facility is situated back from the street, behind a parking lot, at 113 Sterling Avenue.  Gatlin described the house in the 2008 nomination form for the National Register of Historic Places:

…one-story, wood-frame, stone-clad building with a U-shape footprint.  Two primary wings intersect in an L-configuration.  Both have smaller wings that complete the U-shape.

I think that sentence may take the award for the most hyphenated words in a single paragraph.  Gatlin added:

…corners of the main pavilion are decorated by red brick quoins…building is well-maintained and retains a high degree of integrity.

There are several fireplaces. The nomination form described floors as tongue-and-groove pine and the walls are vertically placed wood planks that are 7-9 inches wide.  There is a “tray ceiling” formed by angling boards in the main room, and a slightly raised (6 inches) stage in the main room.  Repairs were made in 2005, 2006, and 2008, indicating that the community values this building and desires to preserve it.  You can see additional photographs of the exterior, interior and details at the MDAH link to the property.

Winona Community House detailAlthough there are no records of construction for the Winona house, Gatlin speculated it may have been built by Braxton Irby, builder of the Grenada Community House.  He referred to it as the “sole example of a Tudor Revival style public building” in Winona.  The first event held at the completion in 1936 was a “celebration of WPA Project Day” and a WPA circulating library display.  The building was used to house the public library at one point.  Apparently, the Winona building facade can also claim to be constructed of local stone,

…rare for a Mississippi public building due to the lack of high quality building stone in the state. (Gatlin, 2008)



Categories: Historic Preservation, New Deal, Winona

5 replies

  1. This is so pretty! Too bad we don’t see public buildings being built like this any more.

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  2. I was surprised by how nice the kitchen cabinets were. The diagonal door fronts were a nice touch. Wonder if they were original or a 1950s/1960s rework. If so, they match the range with the double oven.

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    • While I am not entirely sure, I would guess that the kitchen cabinets are original, though the sink is an obvious replacement. The cabinets have no toe kick, which only became common on post-World War II kitchen cabinets. Whether or not a cabinet has a toe kick is a good general way to date cabinets.

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  3. Saw this page in the 1952 Mirror yearbook of Itawamba Community College formerly known as Itawamba Junior College. Agriculture building looks similar to the Community House buildings.

    http://ia601904.us.archive.org/BookReader/BookReaderImages.php?zip=/15/items/mirroryearbook1952unse/mirroryearbook1952unse_jp2.zip&file=mirroryearbook1952unse_jp2/mirroryearbook1952unse_0016.jp2&scale=4&rotate=0

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