More Architect/Builder Pics: Link and Barnes

I’m always on the hunt for pictures of the architects and builders who designed and built all these lovely buildings in our Magnolia State. Recently I came across not one but two in the same source, the Mississippi State House Commission Report, published at the opening of the New Capitol in 1903. There’s lots of information in this small booklet that I might cover in more detail in future posts, but I especially loved seeing nice portraits of New Capitol architect Theodore Link of St. Louis, and the Superintendent of Construction J.F. Barnes of Greenville/Jackson. I think we’ve noted before that Barnes was the builder responsible for the courthouse in Greenville.

Theodore Link, St. Louis archt. (1850-1923)

Theodore Link was born and raised in Germany and attended school in Germany, London, and Paris before moving to the U.S. and settling in St. Louis. Doesn’t he look very German with that wonderful mustache? Do you think people called him “Theodore” or “Ted”? By the looks of him, I think they may have just called him “Sir.”

Link was an important architect in St. Louis, designing Union Station, now a National Historic Landmark, along with numerous other buildings. You can read more about his St. Louis work and biography at the Landmarks Association of St. Louis site.

I think Link’s later Mississippi work is often overlooked, or worse yet, dismissed (for instance, the Dept. of Mental Health recently obtained a demolition permit for his 3-story Lakefront Cottage at what is now the Boswell Center (old State Sanitorium) from MDAH after allowing the building to sit vacant and unmaintained for over a decade). Link designed a number of buildings at MSU and Ole Miss in the period after World War I, and appears in the Jackson City Directory with a residence on N. State Street and an office on E. Capitol. He also designed several neoclassical residences in the state during the 1910s, including St. Peter’s Rectory in downtown Jackson and the Virden-Fagan House at 901 N. State next to the Municipal Art Gallery. So you can see he was very active in the architectural world of Mississippi well after his New Capitol design. Our own E.L. Malvaney trained in his Jackson office in the early 1920s, and I’ve often wondered if Malvaney’s decision to attend Washington University in St. Louis was influenced by Link.

Doesn’t John F. Barnes look like someone you could trust to build your house or your new state capitol? Utterly trustworthy, and in some way I can’t put my finger on, he looks like a Mississippian, unlike Link. I don’t know as much about Barnes’ biography as I do Link’s–I don’t even know his birth and death dates. I do know he was working in Greenville in the 1890s, as he built the 1891 Washington County Courthouse (and the 1889 Bolivar County courthouse at Rosedale–no longer standing). He seems to have moved to Jackson by the mid-1890s at least. I only know of three of his buildings that still stand, but they’re all good ones–the New Capitol, the Washington Co. CH, and the Temple Gimiluth Chassed in Port Gibson. He also built the old First Presbyterian Church (1892) and the old First Baptist Church (1895) in Jackson, along with the Carnegie library at Millsaps (1906)–all of these are long gone unfortunately. I’m sure as time goes by we’ll find out more buildings by this man, but even if we only know of those three, that’s a pretty good record.



Categories: Architectural Research, Greenville, Jackson, Preservation People/Events

17 replies

  1. From WLOX website: “The third church of The Nativity of The Blessed Virgin Mary built on the northwest corner of West Howard Avenue and Fayard Street was constructed in 1902, by J.F. Barnes and Company.” Biloxi.

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  2. Would you by any chance know the buildings Link designed at Ole Miss?

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  3. I’m not entirely sure, but the Fine Arts building on the Circle is a likely candidate.

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  4. Joseph, I know of at least 4 buildings at Ole Miss, all from 1920: George Hall, Odom Hall, Labauve Hall (now I think subsumed into the Trent Lott Center), and Dupree Hall. I think all of these were dorms, but I’ll let you Rebels out there correct me if I’m wrong.

    Is the Fine Arts Building also called Bryant Hall, Tom? If so, it’s definitely in that same neoclassical/Beaux Arts tradition that Link loved, but its architect was Harry N. Austin of Jackson–don’t know much about Mr. Austin either, but he did some nice classical buildings, including the Natchez City Hall and a couple of buildings at Millsaps.

    I should have also mentioned that Link has the distinction of working on both the New and the Old Capitols. He was responsible for taking the derelict hulk that was the Old Capitol by 1917 and turning it into the first state office building. Most of his changes were reversed in the 1959-60 restoration: most notably he ripped out the front stairs, installing instead a grand central staircase in the back apse, and he installed mezzanine floors in the House and Senate chambers.

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  5. I think the Fine Arts Building is now called Bryant Hall. It was always one of my favorite buildings on campus.

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  6. Very interesting. Neat to think all those buildings were designed in the same tradition as the New Capitol and St. Louis Union Station, both of which have some of the most stunning interiors I have ever seen.

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  7. Joseph, I’m glad you brought this one back up because I had meant to add a few links to Theodore Link information and had forgotten.

    Here’s one showing some of the Union Station interior: http://hereibe.homestead.com/TheodoreLink.html.

    A blog post announcing an exhibit at the Landmarks Association of St. Louis about Theodore Link and his works: http://ecoabsence.blogspot.com/2009/11/theodore-link-exhibit-runs-through.html.

    And the Landmark Association website with a bio of Link and information about the exhibit: http://www.landmarks-stl.org/news/images_from_the_work_of_theodore_link/ (Note: this link was working earlier but as of right now something seems to be wrong with it. Hopefully they’ll get it up again soon).

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  8. I have studied T.C.Link as we recently learned he was the architect for our house in Vicksburg, MS; also designed around the same time as the “New” capital and the one house on State Street attributed to Link …… 1902-1903. Along with his work at UM he designed a number of buildings at MSU as well as most of the older buildings at LSU. He is largely unknown in this area but had great influence.

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  9. J. F. Barnes at the 1903 World’s fair with construction of an exact reproduction of Beauvoir.

    https://www.newspapers.com/clip/31918313/j_f_barnes_mississippi_architect_to/

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  10. J. F. Barnes on Resurrection(sic) Costs of Old Capitol Bldg.
    https://www.newspapers.com/clip/31938858/

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  11. Photos of the derrick-Setting of stones of the New Mississippi Capitol building in progress. The General contractor for the construction was Wells & Wells of Chicago with the stone work by sub-contractor “Dugan.”
    Apparently the foundation excavation encountered “Marl” [Yazoo Clay/Bentonite] because the contractor was paid extra compensation.

    https://www.newspapers.com/clip/31996645/

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  12. J. F. Barnes was a prolific builder of public buildings, but never a certified architect. Is that correct?

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  13. George Castanza on architecture:

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