MissPres News Roundup 7-31-2009

Can you believe it’s almost August? After our horrible hot dry June, July has flown by with beautiful rain, coolish nights, and not-very-hot days. This is my kind of summer!

This week has been very eventful, and in a good way. You may need to sit down for this, but I think we are demolition-free this week–am I in heaven? To celebrate, today’s theme song is “I’ve Got Sunshine on a Cloudy Day.”

July 13, 2009:Historic Mound Bayou Hospital to get face lift” as reported by WREG:

Plans are in the works for rehabilitating Mound Bayou’s Taborian Hospital.

The hospital, which opened in 1942, was one of the first hospitals with an all-black staff in the nation. It was built by the International Order of Twelve Knights and Daughters of Tabor, a black fraternal organization, using dues.

Well, I’m behind the times on this one–someone sent me the link to the Bolivar Commercial article, which had a nice write-up and photo, but I forgot to post it last week and now the Commercial’s website tells me that after 14 days you have to pay to see their articles, which is very annoying. Most newspapers at least give you 30 days.

Anyway, this is a very exciting development and I hope it comes to fruition–the Taborian Hospital, like Yazoo City’s Afro-American Sons and Daughters Hospital, was one of the very few hospitals that not only treated black patients but also allowed black doctors a place to practice medicine. The building itself is also has a very cool Art Deco entrance but, unfortunately, has been abandoned for a number of years–check out a few pictures here. The Taborian Hospital was listed on the National Register in 1996 and was designated a Mississippi Landmark in 2001. The building was also placed on the Mississippi Heritage Trust’s 10 Most Endangered List in 2001, and this is what they had to say about it then:

Like its host city, the Taborian Hospital in Mound Bayou is unique and remarkable. Built by the McKissick Construction Company of Nashville, Tennessee in the modern style, the hospital was dedicated in 1942. At a time when medical facilities for African-Americans were almost non-existent, it offered a 42-bed facility through the auspices of the Taborians and Meharry Medical School. The Taborians were a forward-thinking African-American fraternal organization that originally offered burial insurance to their members. When it became clear that this group’s needs were not being addressed by any existing caregivers, the Taborians expanded their services to include medical care. Staffed by medical personnel from Meharry Medical School in Nashville, the hospital operated until the middle 1960’s. At this time, Medicare finally forced the integration of formerly segregated hospitals, and the small scale of Taborian could no longer economically compete with the larger Delta hospitals.

July 25, 2009: If you’ve driven down Hardy Street in Hattiesburg between USM and downtown, you’ve passed Hattiesburg’s newest local historic district, the Parkhaven neighborhood. Read all about it in the Hattiesburg American: “Parkhaven named historic district.” You can also read a good article from Mississippi Magazine’s May 2002 issue by clicking here and you can see photos of some of the eclectic early-20th-century architecture in the neighborhood here. Parkhaven was listed on the National Register in 2002 (which after yesterday’s post we all agree is not “merely honorary” but also doesn’t actually keep anyone from demolishing a listed property), but now it has some protection under local ordinance, which means alterations and demolitions have to go through a review process with the local historic preservation commission. Three cheers for Parkhaven!

July 25, 2009:Family items return to Manship House” reports the Jackson Clarion-Ledger about a sizeable donation of Manship family furniture and other pieces returned to the house after the death of Charles Manship’s great-grandson J. Ralph Wilson, who lived in Texas. For those of you who don’t like house museums, the Manship House will change your mind–go see it! And for those who love house museums, go see this place, it’s a great house museum. Charles Manship was a master grainer, and his work graced the finest houses of antebellum Jackson as well as the Old Capitol and Governor’s Mansion. He was also the mayor of Jackson when Grant and Sherman and their evil gang showed up and forced the city to surrender. We’ve talked before about museums that over-restore and lose their character–the Manship House has finessed that fine line very well. Check it out!

July 26, 2009: WLOX in Biloxi reports on nascent efforts to preserve East Biloxi, an area hard hit by Katrina and before that by general neglect and crime. As noted in the article, this is also the neighborhood of Dr. Gilbert Mason (1928-2006), leader of the “Wade-In” that began the fight to desegregate Mississippi’s beaches in 1959. Mason was also a passionate historian and served on the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History for many years.

July 28, 2009: According to the Sun-Herald:

OCEAN SPRINGS — The city is accepting applications for appointments to a variety of boards and commissions. Individuals should submit a completed candidate profile by Aug. 7 to City Hall.

Openings: Building Board of Adjustments and Appeals, Election Commission, Historic Preservation Commission, Library Board, Museum Commission, Park Advisory Board, Planning Commission, Tree Committee and the Zoning and Adjustment Board.

Forms can be downloaded at www.oceansprings-ms.gov.

Canton Courthouse Square
Canton Courthouse Square

July 29, 2009: The Madison County Herald reports “Canton among cities gaining national Main Street accreditation.”

July 30, 2009: The Clarion-Ledger reports on a $50,000 gift from the Mary Belle Douglass Trust to the City of Jackson to fund repairs to the Mississippi Landmark Municipal Art Gallery, also known as the Ligon-Gale House, “Gift will help fund Jackson gallery repairs.” The article also notes that the City plans to apply for MDAH’s Community Heritage Preservation grant that was recently announced.

Brandon Hall, uploaded by WendiRobinson (Flickr)

Brandon Hall, uploaded by WendiRobinson (Flickr)

July 30, 2009: Good news out of Natchez, which has been through some difficult times of late in the preservation arena. Yesterday, the Natchez Democrat announced that Brandon Hall, an antebellum plantation up the road from Natchez (see photos by clicking here) has been donated to the Historic Natchez Foundation. According to the article “Brandon Hall donation largest in state“:

The donation became official on July 15. Built in 1856 by Girard and Charlotte Brandon, the Greek Revival house is the grandest in scale of the plantation mansions built in rural Adams County before the Civil War.

The house, which was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, is located off the Natchez Trace Parkway about 10 miles from downtown Natchez.

. . . .

“The Historic Natchez Foundation will enjoy Brandon Hall while we own it,” said Miller, “but we will be marketing it to potential new owners. Historic preservation in Natchez will benefit more from the proceeds of the sale than from the ownership of the property. The funds derived will support the Foundation’s mission to preserve, restore, and promote the historic resources of Natchez.”

Proceeds of the sale will be used to build the foundation’s endowment and allow it to expand its activities to include museum development. The foundation will introduce the public to the museum potential of its headquarters with a Smithsonian travelling exhibit, Journey Stories, from Sept. 5 through Nov. 20. The exhibit, which is produced in cooperation with the Mississippi Humanities Council, is co-sponsored by the Historic Natchez Foundation and Goldring/Woldenberg Institute for Southern Jewish Life.

I have nothing left to say. Congratulations to all and let’s hope next week goes as well for Preservation in Mississippi.

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Categories: Cool Old Places, Gulf Coast, Hattiesburg, Historic Preservation, Hurricane Katrina, Jackson, Mississippi Landmarks, Museums, Natchez, National Register, News Roundups, Ocean Springs

2 replies

  1. Congratulations to all Main Street designees, especially my own Greenville.

    I am also so happy to see the infornation about the Taborian Hospital in Mound Bayou I vividly recall visifing my Dad there after his surgery as a child. We had to drive there from Greenville. Although Greenville had its own “colored” hospital with a surgery room that defies descritption, the Taborian Hospital was clean, safe, and Black-owned and operated. I remember being so proud of that fact.


  2. Thanks for sharing that memory of the Taborian Hospital–those are the stories that bring these places alive and show us why they should be saved.

    Thanks also for bringing Greenville’s Main Street designation to our attention! I obviously missed that in my trolling around the internet. Congratulations to Greenville–I know this designation represents a lot of hard work, and hope that Main Street can do for your downtown what it has done for many communities around the state.


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