Progress of a sort in Hattiesburg

I drove through Hattiesburg again last weekend and decided to check on Eaton School, poor roofless creature that it was last I saw it. The good news is that the building now has a roof structure; the not-so-good-news is that the roof project still isn’t finished three months into it–looks like a moisture barrier of some kind at least gives the building protection, but still no shingles or other permanent roofing. This project is very weird.

Click on the photos below for a larger image, and sorry about the glare–what can I do with a plastic white roofing material on a sunny day?

While in town, I also swung by the volunteer project that W. White mentioned in last Saturday’s News Roundup and snapped a few shots. Last time I saw the building, about a month ago, work hadn’t begun. This time, the big old boarding house had been painted a cheery blue and interior work was also ongoing. I admit I was slightly distressed to see wood lath thrown to the curb, but overall it looks like this will be a good project, rehabilitating the building–which was formerly vacant I believe–and also giving a boost to the neighborhood. The interior that I saw through the front door still has a nice beadboard wainscot, original trim, etc.

I also checked in with an old friend, the Beverly Theater, on the outskirts of town: still there, still waiting for someone with vision and money to return it to its former mid-century glory.

And down the street from Eaton, I found a new-to-me very cool African American church, East Jerusalem Baptist Church, built (or re-built as the cornerstone states) in 1947, and combining rusticated concrete blocks with red brick and white concrete accents. And the sunlight was at a perfect angle to highlight the surface patterns and colors. That along with the towers, buttresses, Gothic-arched windows, and the nice proportions overall made me screech to a halt and swerve into a nearby parking lot to snap a few shots.



Categories: African American History, Architectural Research, Churches, Cool Old Places, Demolition/Abandonment, For Sale, Hattiesburg, Schools, Theaters

10 replies

  1. I’m also excited that renovations have begun on the big white house behind the boarding house, the one on the way to Petal that states trespassers will be shot… yeah, that one. It’s too beautiful to just sit there. :)

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  2. Yes, that’s a great house–what’s the deal with the sign? Looting problems? I assume it’s been vacant for a while?

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  3. I suppose that’s the problem. It’s quite frightening though, haha. Well I’ve been living in Hattiesburg for 4 years and it’s been like that the entire time, my guess is longer.

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  4. It really is a pretty over the top sign–seems to draw more attention than you would want to in a vacant property. So you’re saying that the house has been under “renovation” for 4 years or more, or that it’s been vacant for that long and now they’ve finally started doing something with it?

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  5. That’s exactly what I’ve thought as well! Especially in the area it’s in. Outskirts of not the best neighborhood.

    I think it’s only been this year that they’ve started renovating it or very end of last year at the latest, but it’s been vacant for at least 4 years. I believe more.

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  6. Well, I can’t be judgmental about long renovation projects, since my own of a fire-damaged house next door to me, is now drawing to a close, finally, after 4 years of working on it :-)

    Hopefully their renovation won’t take as long as mine and they will take that sign down soon.

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  7. There are about 3 dozen or so block and brick combination structures all around Hattiesburg. Mostly in the Black community and dating to the late forties and early fifties. Ive assumed they can be traced back to the same general contractor but don’t know any more information than what’s on the corner stones of some of the larger buildings.

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  8. Very interesting, Jeff–sounds like a guest post from you with pictures is in order? Soon your dream of becoming the acknowledged expert in concrete blocks and rocklath will come true and you’ll be the envy of the preservation world!

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  9. Sounds great! I would love to. I tried counting the structures in my photo collection of concrete block, but its getting a little large! I don’t think there is any block construction safe from my shutter from Hattiesburg south. My Sheetrock and Rocklath photo collection is a little smaller. Like you said owners don’t like you tearing out their wall just to take a photo!

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  10. The home addressed earlier in the comments is the Polk house. The signs were a result of a long and drawn out legal dispute regarding the heirs of the property. The home has since been sold and is being renovated for use as a residence. A happy ending to an historic home.

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