The official song for this week’s News Roundup is . . . “Cocacabana.” Begin humming as we whirl around the state of MS:
The Summer 2009 issue of “The Wellspring” (scroll to page 5) gives a nice update on the progress at the Drew Rosenwald school up in Sunflower County. Although called “Lil Red” this school building is really huge, with the core Rosenwald section built in 1929, and then two or maybe three later additions stretching out from there. The William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation has been helping the owners, Holly Grove Missionary Baptist Church, prepare grants and plan for the future of this important building, one of only about 20 Rosenwald schools left in Mississippi. Here’s a little clip from the article about the renovations:
Phase one of the project was completed in 2004, which stabilized the exterior by rebuilding deteriorated floor, wall and roof framing; replacing the roofing, replacing exterior elements such as wood doors and trim, and restoring the masonry. The current phase of work will restore the interior of the facility. This second phase of renovations includes plans to renovate the bathrooms and several classrooms.
August 16: An article in the Vicksburg Post about the recent completion of the Coker House reconstruction on the Champion Hill Battlefield near Edwards. “Restoring History: Coker house construction has allowed Kay Windham Turner to reconstruct her childhood” is by Gordon Cotton, long-time director of the Old Courthouse Museum in Vicksburg.
August 16: An editorial “Depot: Vicksburg will gain if agencies relocate” in the Vicksburg Post following up on last week’s story about a City Council discussion to possibly delay the relocation of several organizations into the old Levee Street depot. Loved this part:
Invoked was “not enough money,” a rubric used far and wide by governments of all sizes and shapes and at all levels. Be clear about this basic truth: There’s always money for projects politicians want to accomplish. There’s never enough to fund projects that politicians don’t favor for one reason or another, including projects that weren’t their ideas.
August 18: A report in the NE MS Daily Journal “Spain House issue draws large crowd” about the public meeting with the Tupelo City Council to discuss the Spain House (see previous Roundup entries on July 24 and June 19). The historic preservation commission recently recommended the house should be landmarked, thus setting up a 6-month moratorium on demolition until the City Council could consider the issue.
and later in the week, August 20: A follow-up editorial in the NE MS Daily Journal about the City Council’s decision to table the matter of the Spain House. Editors believe the house should be moved, and there’s even a poll asking if the house should be 1) demolished, 2) moved and restored as a residence, or 3) moved to the Fish Hatchery and used as a public meeting space. No option to just keep it in place and restore it, which means I was disenfranchised. Being disenfranchised makes me so sad.
August 18: My goodness, the Post is printing the articles hot and heavy this week! Here’s one (“National designation sought for neighborhood“) about the possible nomination of the Glenwood-Vicklan neighborhood to the National Register as a historic district. The nomination will be considered at the upcoming National Register Review Board meeting in Jackson on September 17, which you will find conveniently placed on the MissPres calendar.
August 19: An article in the Sun-Herald “New courtroom pleases the eyes, not the ears: More work needed to correct sound problem” that kind of makes you go “Yikes!” until you stop and think that this is really the fault of the architect not the building. Seems the Hancock County Courthouse courtroom, newly repaired and restored after major damage from Katrina and lots of covered original surfaces from the 1970s, is getting complaints for poor acoustics. I certainly don’t dismiss this problem (those who have been in the House of Representatives chamber in the Old Capitol know how serious bad acoustics can be), but I don’t believe it’s the fault of the building or of restoring the historic surfaces. Obviously, the courtroom (and the House chamber) functioned quite well for many decades with wood floors and full-height ceilings, so to me, the explanation lies elsewhere–could even be something as small as using polyurethane on the floors rather than softer wax, or the replacement of plaster with sheetrock, or myriad other “little” changes that have been made in the materials. Bottom line, the architect should have been thinking about this problem from the beginning and had an acoustic consultant on board to make sure the finished courtroom worked for its intended purpose.
August 20: The Mississippi Press announced the premier showing of the documentary film “Building Blocks” at the old Ocean Springs High School (Mary C. O’Keefe Center) last night. The film, as defined by the filmmaker Ed Ellington, “tell[s] the stories of the structures that are important to the coast by telling the stories of the people within those structures.” In case you weren’t in the cool crowd that attended the special screening, you can see this really inspiring film in the comfort of your own living room next Tuesday, the 25th at 9 PM, on MPB.
Well, that’s all the bloggish news for this week.
Still humming Cocacabana? Excellent!
Categories: African American History, Civil War, Demolition/Abandonment, Historic Preservation, National Register, News Roundups, Preservation Law/Local Commissions, Renovation Projects, Schools, Tupelo, Vicksburg