My apologies for not producing my usual in-depth News Roundup for this week; the normal News Roundup will return next week. Of course, I am on vacation and used some of my vacation time to create last week’s News Roundup, starting a long discussion which brought all the Oxonians out of the woodwork like so many termites (please write all your angry replies to this MSU student’s sarcastic statement in the comment box below). And here is the news.
The Vicksburg Post was a wealth of preservation-related news this week. The continuing saga of Ceres Plantation is playing out. According to the Post’s March 16 article, the Warren County Port Commission has tabled competing offers to demolish Ceres. The article mentions the proposal to preserve the plantation in situ and the fact that proposal had been dismissed. The Post reports that an offer has been made to purchase and relocate the house, to become the centerpiece of a new residential development. This plan, according to another source, would move Ceres to Madison County. From a preservation standpoint, this is the equivalent of a legislative compromise. Such an acclaimed wordsmith as Sir Mick Jagger stated succinctly, “You can’t always get what you want…”
The March 11 edition of The Vicksburg Post contained two stories of interest to MissPres readers. The first article on March 11 pertains to stimulus money and preservation. $1.7 million in stimulus funds are earmarked toward restoring the interior of the Shirley House, the only surviving antebellum structure in the Vicksburg National Military Park. While officials at the Military Park requested more funds, the funds received should allow them to perform a large amount of restoration.
$400,000 has been granted to Alcorn State University to restore Belles Lettres Hall, a designated Mississippi Landmark. This has already been reported in The Vicksburg Post and here at Preservation in Mississippi in October but it is good to refresh our memories about such projects.
The second article on March 11 states that the annual structural report on the U.S. 80 Bridge in Vicksburg has cleared the bridge for further service. Bridges are an important, if often ignored component of preservation. After eight decades of use, the fact that this bridge is structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing should encourage its preservation. Deferred maintenance is the enemy of bridges, in many cases; the money is not spent to maintain bridges. Then, the bridge becomes structurally deficient and must be replaced, at the cost of millions, or tens of millions, of dollars. Money that could have been saved by proper maintenance.