MissPres News Roundup 3-26-2010

Good Morning MissPres community, I am back in Mississippi. I will start off the post with some scheduling information. This will be the last News Roundup posted by me on a Friday. Due to my schedule (and when the MSU Library receives newspapers), I will now start posting News Roundups on Saturday morning. This week will see the first Saturday morning post; however, instead of unveiling this change to you through the absence of a Friday News Roundup, this week will see two News Roundups posted.

And here is the news.

The Columbian Progress printed a story in their Saturday, March 13 paper about the Columbia Presbyterian Church’s centennial. While some of the church history is focused on in the article, a large amount concerns the structures that have housed the Columbia Presbyterian Church through the century. The first permanent structure was constructed in 1915 with the financial support and leadership of future Mississippi Governor Hugh L. White, whose house has been mentioned on this site multiple times. That first Columbia Presbyterian Church was demolished by 1958 when the current sanctuary was constructed. The current Columbia Presbyterian Church is an interesting traditional style church, borrowing from the Tudor style and ignoring modern developments in church construction. The highlight of this church is the large, beautiful stained glass window designed by artist Karl Wolfe and his wife Mildred, an artist in her own right.

The Columbian Progress reported this week that a 105-year-old house at 345 Church St. in Columbia burned on Tuesday. While the house’s last use was as a salon, it was part of the historic downtown, the type of Queen Anne style cottage that fills so many historic neighborhoods. Unfortunately, I cannot provide an image of 345 Church St. as the Columbian Progress website shows another building on fire and Google does not have Street View for Columbia.

The Thursday, March 18 edition of the Deer Creek Pilot contains a small article about the Sharkey County Historic Preservation Commission’s (SCHPC) essay contest. Seventh and eighth grade students in Sharkey and Issaquena Counties are eligible and invited to write an essay about a structure that is at least fifty years old. This is a great program as the students who enter the contest must choose a structure, research its history, and interview a resident with knowledge of the structure’s past. Perhaps these essays, and the fact that the community is involved with the contest, will spur interest in preserving the historic structures of Sharkey County.

I found a McComb Enterprise-Journal article from March 8 about the Poole House in Homochitto, near Gloster in Amite County. The Poole House holds significance as a structure constructed in the 1800s (the article is frustratingly vague about a date for the house’s construction, as most newspaper articles are) but also as the site where four NFL players, Ray, Buster, and Barney Poole and Paige Cothren, grew up. Unfortunately the house is in terrible condition, with no plans to repair it. Compounding the abandonment, floorboards and other salvageable pieces of wood have been largely stolen from the Poole House. Of other interest is the comments posted at the bottom of the article, most of which veer from ignorance to derangement. Quality reading though.

Meridian City Hall, designed by P. J. Krouse, constructed in 1915

As reported in the long, often confusing threads of comments for Name This Place 4.3, the Meridian City Hall is being restored to its original glory. The Meridian Star printed an in-depth article about City Hall’s restoration on March 21. I will let you be the judge but the article makes the City of Meridian seem inept in their handling of this structure. The City of Meridian is truly creating a “modern relic” and not cutting corners on the project. However, any entity that would blame cost overruns on the MDAH’s guidelines for restoring historic structures is blowing smoke up the public’s…you get my point. The MDAH is not a shadowy organization with mysterious agents of historical accuracy roaming the state to enforce obtuse guidelines. Nevertheless, I still applaud the City of Meridian for restoring their City Hall in an exemplary manner that future generations (and the current ones) should appreciate.

That’s it for the news, another News Roundup will be posted tomorrow.

Categories: Churches, Columbia, Demolition/Abandonment, Historic Preservation, Meridian, News Roundups, Renovation Projects

5 replies

  1. At least a few good things are happening in Meridian! Now if they could just get the Threefoot project off the ground…


  2. Unfortunately, the word on the street is that the mayor wants to “get the Threefoot off the ground” in a different way than I assume you’re talking about, Tom.

    That Meridian Star article is based on ignorance, and it doesn’t even appear that the writer attempted to contact MDAH for a comment about the allegations about reusing screws and such.

    First of all, it’s a terra cotta facade, which means that whether or not MDAH required it, any pieces that needed replacing had to be replaced with exact replicas because otherwise they wouldn’t fit. Terra cotta was and is an exact science. Would you rather the pieces be replaced with plywood or Dryvet?

    Articles like this really tick me off because they make preservation seem silly and irresponsible instead of focusing on what a great resource Meridian has in the City Hall, and–since the cost seems to be such an issue–delving into the particulars of why the project has gone so far over budget, which I guarantee has very little to do with re-using screws or replacing windows (the last allegation by the Star). The City official touched on the other two issues that drove up the cost: unexpected deterioration in the steel supports (expensive, especially with steel in such demand during the building boom, and labor-intensive), and Hurricane Katrina, which as we all know drove labor costs way up and could not have been predicted at the start of this project. But then those two things get dropped in the rest of the article, where we read that the screws had to be re-used. I’d like to see some documentation of that and an explanation because I can’t for the life of me figure out under what circumstances MDAH or any other preservation organization would require the re-use of screws.

    The terra cotta, as I understand it, was an unknown before they started the project, and they had to replace more than they expected, but that’s not really anybody’s fault, and the only other options would have been to strip the whole building and replace the exterior with something else. If that’s what they really wanted to do, and MDAH stopped them, then they should just come out and say it instead of making these silly comments about screws and being “required” to make new pieces that fit. Ridiculous!


  3. http://www.mswildlife.org/events/LowerDelta.html

    Since you mentioned the SCHPC’s essay contest, there is also a Photo Contest in the area as well. It’s co-sponsored by the Lower Delta Partnership and the Mississippi Wildlife Federation. Hopefully, some photographers will take pictures of some of the historic buildings in the area for entry in the “communities/towns” category.


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