To Ole Miss and Back

I spent a little time up Oxford way last week and enjoyed it immensely, mainly because the weather and the sunlight were so amazing that I would have had a major case of Spring Fever if I had been sitting inside. There was all kinds of maintenance and construction work going on at Ole Miss–I was amazed by the fact that they had all this planned to get done in the one week of Spring Break–lots of work goes on behind the scenes while all the kids are off playing at the beach. I’ll talk about a couple of the buildings I really liked in the coming days, but today I thought I’d just show you a few views that caught my eye in and around Oxford.

First Presbyterian Church, Oxford. Built 1881 and I'm embarrassed to say I don't know the architect. The raking bright light just seemed to call to me to take a shot, and luckily I'm nerdy enough to have had my tripod handy.

First Presbyterian Church, Oxford. Built 1881 and I’m embarrassed to say I don’t know the architect. The raking bright light just seemed to call to me to take a shot, and luckily I’m nerdy enough to have had my tripod handy.

Tucked away behind the coliseum and somewhat forgotten I feel is the Confederate Cemetery, where according to the granite marker, about 700 soldiers are buried.

Tucked away behind the coliseum and somewhat forgotten I feel is the Confederate Cemetery, where according to the simple granite marker, about 700 soldiers are buried.

Bondurant Hall, now used by the English and Modern Languages folks, began its life in 1928 as the Graduate School building. It’s really large, with three wings connected by wonderful arcaded walkways. It was designed by Jackson architect Frank P. Gates and built by Jackson contractors Garber & Dickson. The exterior is wonderful, especially on such a bright day as this one, but the interior really shines too, with elegant iron balustrades and an airy little auditorium upstairs.

Bondurant arcade Bondurant stairs

Since it’s Ole Miss, I can’t forget a couple of pictures of the Lyceum, icon of the university since its construction in 1848. This building was designed by William Nichols, the architect responsible for the Old Capitol and Governor’s Mansion in Jackson, and the Old Capitols of both Alabama and North Carolina. Nichols was the State Architect from the 1830s through his death in 1853. He’s buried in Lexington, Miss. where he died apparently while working on a commission there. Does that make one degree of separation, or two, from Oxford to Lexington?

lyceumportico Lyceum entablature

And never fear, you Modernists out there, I found some great Modern buildings at Ole Miss! Unfortunately, Ole Miss seems to have begun systematically attaching fake Greek porticoes to even its most modern buildings (more on this later in the week), and I hear that they plan to tear down the law school. I admit on first glance the law school seems out of place, but once you start looking at it, it really has some nice architecture to it and it’s solid as a rock.

Built 1977, designed by Jernigan, Hawkins, and Harrison of Jackson

Built 1977, designed by Jernigan, Hawkins, and Harrison of Jackson

Other little Modern gems were the few remaining family apartments on the opposite side of campus from the law school. Most of them have been torn down to make way for a huge new law school, which the rendering shows will have an appropriate number of porticoes and large columns. The earliest family apartments were built in the late 1940s and the latest that I saw were from 1961.

Family Apartments, c.1950 Door detail, family apartments

Family Apartments, 1961  Family Apartments, 1961, door and light fixture



Categories: "To . . . and Back", Historic Preservation, Universities/Colleges

1 reply

  1. Of course, as the first Ole Miss degree holder in a family that can trace its roots back to 1842 in Jones County, I am ever-proud and ever-watchful of anything related to THE University of MS. As I type this at the end of 2012, the new Law building is finished (and gargantuan) and the Lamar building (old law) is undergoing an extensive renovation. You had some great pictures from your “day” trip and it has inspired my wife and I (we live in Petal) to kick off the new year doing just the same about twice a month and we decided to chose our destination each time from the 101 places list. You have done a fabulous job with this site, sir, and I thank you for the enjoyment of it and look forward to many more years of reading and seeing all the great things highlighted on this great site. Our state truly has a lot to offer, especially to history and architecture nerds such as myself.

    Like

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