Well, there’s a thick stack of papers piled up waiting for me to get around to a news roundup post after two weeks of skipping it. So without further ado, here goes:
To me, the most exciting article of the last two weeks was the one in the Sun-Herald about the restoration of the stained-glass windows at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Biloxi. St. Michael’s, built in 1964 and designed by Jackson architect James Canizaro, consists of two round structures, both featuring “columns” of stained glass encircling the buildings and topped with concrete roofs shaped like an oyster shell, evoking the marine heritage of Biloxi. What I didn’t know until this article told me was that the Emil Frei company of St. Louis was responsible for the original windows and has now restored them after the bottom one-third of panels was washed out in Hurricane Katrina. The Frei company was founded back in the 1890s when Emil Frei moved from his native Munich, Germany to St. Louis to work on a large church commission there. Be sure to click on the slide show when you read the article–the windows are really wonderful, plus a new feature allows the lower sections to be raised so that maybe they’ll stop getting washed away. You can see lots of other colorful examples of the company’s work over the last 100 years on Flickr, which has unexpectedly become one of my favorite research tools.
Moving on . . .
The Clarion-Ledger had a long article a couple of weeks ago (“Walthall Reborn“) announcing the $12 million renovation that is almost complete at the Roberts Walthall Hotel (1927, N.W. Overstreet). I spent time in the hotel last week at the SESAH meeting and I can say that the staff was helpful and friendly, and the rooms have been nicely re-done. I did hear a few complaints about the control of the air conditioning, which of course has been completely replaced since it failed a couple of years ago, but otherwise, the comments from other conference participants were very positive about the hotel. It’s great to see this landmark coming back to life.
The Vicksburg Post reports (although I can’t find the article on their website and am therefore linking to the Hattiesburg American site) that the Vicksburg Municipal Airport, a 60-year-old facility, is still undergoing renovation, but work has been slow because it’s being done by city maintenance crews, who also manage 65 other buildings. I have to admit I’m not familiar with this terminal building, but the picture shown in the Clarion-Ledger article (not shown online either) looks like it might be a cool post-WWII airport terminal.
The Brookhaven Daily Leader published a sweet little article about a historic marker being planned for the site of the Fair Oaks School in rural Lincoln County. The alumni group got the idea at a reunion and almost immediately raised the funds to do it. I loved this quote:
It had a spirit about it and we loved it, and we’re happy we’re getting a historical marker, and it will forever be known there was a school there.
The old courthouse and jail in Sumrall (Lamar County) is getting some much-needed repairs after major roof damage inflicted by Hurricane Katrina, according to the Hattiesburg American. Much of the work is being done with funding from a special grant managed by the Mississippi Dept. of Archives and History for buildings damaged by Katrina.
And finally . . .
The Columbus Commercial Dispatch reports that a Victorian house in the historic district is looking for a new use and preferably a new owner after the current owner requested a demolition permit because she couldn’t afford repairs after storm damage. From the little picture in the article, it looks like it could be a really interesting house, but maybe the porch has been partially enclosed? Anyway, let’s hope that the situation can be resolved with the house repaired and shining again.
And that’s all the news that’s fit to blog–have a great weekend ya’ll!
Categories: Architectural Research, Biloxi, Churches, Columbus, Courthouses, Demolition/Abandonment, Hurricane Katrina, Jails, News Roundups, Schools, Vicksburg
I’m so glad that St. Michael’s is finally being restored. It’s really an unusual example of modern expressionism in Mississippi. the staineed glass is indeed a treasure.
So right in every respect–I think St. Michael’s and the Gryder House (both on the Coast, interestingly enough) are our two strongest examples of Expressionism in the state, at least that I’ve seen or noticed. I guess you could include the Frank Lloyd Wright house here in Jackson in the Expressionism category, although to me it’s in its own Wrightian category.