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.
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.
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?
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.
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.