In response to a reader’s request after last week’s School for the Blind post, it seemed only fitting that I follow up that first-ever in the “Abandoned Mississippi” series with a first-ever “Lost Mississippi” post about the institution that preceded the School for the Blind.
As I mentioned last week, the Institute for the Blind was located at the northwest corner of Fortification and N. State Streets, and at the time it opened at this spot in 1881, it would have still been on the outskirts of Jackson. Over the years, it shared this “outer space” with other large charitable institutions such as the State Charity Hospital (just next door on N. State), the Deaf and Dumb Institute (to the south a few blocks on N. State), the Baptist and Methodist Orphanages (up a ways on what is now Woodrow Wilson Ave.) and the Insane Asylum (about a mile north on N. State St. where UMC is now located).
I don’t know anything really about the workings of the Institute–the state archives is the place to go for that kind of detailed information–but I did find a few photos of the campus that I’ll share here. The main building with the beautiful mansard tower, designed by our old peripatetic friend Alfred Zucker, was apparently torn down soon after the campus moved to the new location on Eastover Drive in 1948. The two other buildings survived for several decades, subsumed into the growing Baptist Medical Center’s campus until their eventual demolition. I’m also including a clip from a Sanborn map showing how the campus was laid out in 1946, right before it was abandoned.