Saturday Morning, I promised another News Roundup and there is enough news to create another News Roundup.
And here is the news.
I reported in the 3-12-2010 News Roundup that a group of citizens in Calhoun City has spearheaded a move to clean-up the Calhoun City Square. Unfortunately, clean-up to these citizens equates to demolishing dilapidated structures around the square. While at that time, the February 25 edition of The Calhoun County Journal reported that this was only an idea, the March 11 paper reports that the demolitions have begun on the square. It is usually never a good article from a preservation standpoint when the title is, “One Building Down, More To Come From Square PEG.” The former Davis Insurance building, what appeared to be a former gas station/garage from the 1940s at the southeast intersection of Main St. and the Square, is the first structure that has been demolished on the square. The single story, beige masonry structure at the northwest corner of Main St. and Taylor Ave. is another building due to be demolished. The Mart Theater (which I presume is this structure), a garage on Main St. behind the Davis Insurance building, and the former pool hall on the northeast corner of the square are all to be demolished as well. None of these structures are architecturally significant but together they form the landscape around the square that gives Calhoun City that je ne sais quoi, distinguishing it from other Mississippi towns. I also cannot see anything of the same quality or street scale being constructed in their places, probably metal pre-fab structures set back from the street. One note, please inform me if the Google Street View links are not working properly, it is sometimes difficult to link to the exact spot in Street View.
In some older news, the Hattiesburg American ran a story on March 1 about the renovation of a former boarding house at the corner of Buschman St. and River Ave. near the Hattiesburg Depot. Volunteers from AmeriCorps are working on the house for the Recover, Rebuild, Restore Southeast Mississippi (R3SM) organization, repairing the 301 Buschman St. building under the supervision of architect Larry Albert. Once finished, the 10,000 ft2 house will hold sleeping quarters for sixty volunteers, office space, and kitchen and dining areas. According to this old WDAM story, the boarding house was constructed nearly 100 years ago. A good cause and a great use for this former boarding house, a story to file in the “good news” category.
The Meteor, published in Crystal Springs, Copiah County, is a typical newspaper for a smaller Mississippi town in that it is sans website. That does not mean it has no news, merely that I have to write more about the news it has and that you cannot see the great pictures The Meteor has printed. A case in point is the Wednesday, March 10, paper containing the front-page article, “Mississippi Estate Services dates Hinson house on Lee Avenue to 1800’s [sic].” I would transcribe this article for you, [sic]s and all, but due to possible copyright issues, an abridged version will have to suffice. The Hinson House has been recently sold to a person who is planning to restore it. Mississippi Estate Services was contracted to auction the contents of the house off. Ken Welch of Mississippi Estate Services dated the house to the Civil War era due to the presence of square nails in the structure, as well as rough-cut timbers, lack of closets, and sandy mortar for the chimneys. Architecturally, I doubt that “Civil War era” is an accurate description for the house’s age, unless “Civil War era” is a larger span of time than I realized or Mr. Welch has knowledge from hands-on examination that the pictures The Meteor provided do not show. The historic photograph printed in The Meteor leads me to believe that the house was constructed circa 1880. The Hinson House has a five-bay, symmetrical façade, with transoms around the front door, a trait seen in many Antebellum houses. However, it is the historic photograph that shows details found on later structures. The front façade contains two gables, instead of dormers. The siding for these gables is fish scale siding above, with a diamond pattern below. The front porch also contained gingerbread and turned posts, Victorian features which have been removed over time. I would ask you to look for yourself; however, there are no pictures of the Hinson House online and Google Street View, while extant for Crystal Springs, is utterly worthless as the house is too far from the road and the address numbering on Google is wrong.
Categories: Calhoun City, Crystal Springs, Demolition/Abandonment, Hattiesburg, News Roundups
Regarding Calhoun City and its demolition plans, I keep thinking about W.S. Hull’s statement in his Report on the Governor’s Mansion: “The scheme of destruction is devoid of all practical ideas and belongs to the philosophy of him who consumes his substance day by day. Inconstant, frivolous, opportune.” I know the Calhoun City square isn’t filled with ornate buildings, but the buildings define the square, and I’m not hearing plans for new buildings to take their place.
So far, the Google Street view links seem to work well. The first view that comes up is the map, and then if you wait a couple of seconds, the street view pops up.