Cool Mid-Century Modern for sale in Funky Fondren

Check out this very cool architect-designed house in my neighborhood, built in 1953 and now offered for sale. If I didn’t already have a house, I’d be buying it before letting anyone else know about it.

http://731gardner.blogspot.com/

I should mention that if you are addicted to, say, porticoes and classical details, you shouldn’t buy this house. I’ve seen too many very nice Modern buildings whose simple geometry and casual spaces are destroyed when new owners tack on all sorts of junk moldings from Home Depot and put on tall hipped roofs in the French Chateau style. Nothing against classical details, but they have a place, and this house isn’t that place.

The house was designed by its original owner, architect William Gill (1912-1982). I don’t know much about Gill’s other designs, probably because he spent the first part of his career in New Orleans and the later part in the offices of R.W. Naef, who of course we all know and love. Naef’s office designed the oldest shopping center in the state, now called the Woodland Hills Shopping Center, in 1946, and he also is responsible for many of the buildings at Ole Miss from the 1930s through the 1950s. Other Jackson buildings of the Naef office during Gill’s tenure are Chastain Middle School, the Board of Health Building, and the original University Hospital (along with N.W. Overstreet and E.L. Malvaney).

Here’s what I’ve managed to pull together about William Gill’s bio from various sources:

Born in Magnolia, MS, he attended Delgado Central Trades School in New Orleans at night for two years, and another two years of night school at Tulane University.  He moved to New York City and attended the Brooklyn Division of C.C.N.Y (?) from 1930-1931.  His whereabouts during the Depression are currently unknown, but he worked for the Corps of Engineers as an engineer’s aide on airport construction from 1940-1942 before entering the U.S. Coast Guard.  He served in the Coast Guard as a draftsman in the 6th Naval District from 1942-1945.  Released from military service, he returned to architectural work in the office of Favrot & Reed in New Orleans, before moving to Jackson, MS, in 1947 to become a draftsman and designer for R.W. Naef and continued in that capacity until at least 1960. He joined AIA in 1960.  Office listed in 1962 at 731 Gardner Street, Jackson.

Was that too much information? I can’t tell if anyone else is interested in Mississippi architects. Oh well, I am and I’m the blogger.



Categories: Architectural Research, Cool Old Places, For Sale

7 replies

  1. Do you know if this house is still available?

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    • Unfortunately, I’ve just left town for a few days–otherwise I could go by and check to see if the sign is still up. I do know it was still up in early June when I drove past, but I haven’t been by in a while. The owners’ blog has a telephone number you could call.

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    • I drove past the house this afternoon and there’s no sign up, and I do seem to recall seeing a sign, so presumably it’s been sold?

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  2. The Brooklyn Division of C.C.N.Y is probably Brooklyn College. Which started out as a branch of the City College of New York. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brooklyn_College

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  3. Mr. Gill was married to my Godmother Katie Goetz Gill, a pathologist. I spent many a day in this wonderful house when my daddy, a fellow pathologist, attended MSMA meetings. I have some of Uncle Bill’s wood block printed Christmas cards. They feature native plants, many of which grew in his and Aunt Katie’s yard.

    Thank you for posting.

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  4. My kinsman William Lampton “Bill” Gill (his mother one of the eight daughters of my great great Uncle Iddo Lampton) was an extraordinary architect, artist, and historian. I remember visits to his house as a child with my parents, Bob and Sara Lampton. It truly is a special house, filled with brilliant, if subtle, touches and vision. He was keenly interested in historic renovations and led the architectural restoration of the Manship House as well as several other historic renovations in Natchez. He also served as President of the Mississippi Historical Society in the late 1970s. He encouraged my first subscription to the Journal of Mississippi History at that time, which I have subscribed to ever since. I have a audio interview with him from the 1970s. Dr. Thomas Brooks told me he played a critical role in designing the University Hospital and medical school in the early 1950s, interacting closely with the medical school professors. I know he also designed the modern brick Magnolia Methodist Church in the mid 1940s, which still stands and is noteworthy. One of his watercolors of Oxford, which reveals his broad range of artistic talent, hangs in the Rowland Medical Library at UMMC. The Archives Library has an extensive subject file on him, which includes an impressive curriculum vitae. He certainly deserves to be remembered as one of the more talented architects Mississippi has produced.

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  5. Your information was very interesting. We are looking to move from NC to MS to be near our family in Madison. Love this home.

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