I’ve had a busy week, and just as I sat down to write this News Roundup, my neighbor came over and sat with me chatting on my front porch for two hours straight, which was great fun, but I apologize in advance that this one might be a little shorter than normal. If’ I’ve missed something that you think is important, I hope you’ll jump in and let us know in the comment section.
The Aberdeen Depot rehab project has begun Phase 3 of its projected four phases, courtesy of a grant from MDAH. This phase will finish off the exterior with window repairs and painting. The final phase, projected for next year, will complete the interior so that Save Aberdeen’s Landmarks, the local preservation group can make the building its new headquarters. The old Mobile & Ohio Railroad depot, the oldest depot in the state, was listed on the Mississippi Heritage Trust’s 10 Most Endangered Properties list in 2007, inspiring the locals to move to stabilize the building and then keep going to finish the job. According to the MHT website:
Completed around 1869, the Mobile and Ohio Railroad Depot, a vernacular Italianate structure of frame construction, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 8, 1983, and designated a Mississippi Landmark on May 20, 1986. The depot is significant as the oldest known extant railroad depot in Mississippi, as well as for its symbolic role in connecting Aberdeen to the rest of the South, thus insuring the city’s agricultural, commercial and industrial growth.
In Neshoba County, according to the Meridian Star, this year will be the 46th annual remembrance of the three civil rights workers who were murdered in June 1964 on their way back from Philadelphia to Meridian where they were based. The services will take place at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, the last place they had stopped, investigating the arson fire of the church, before heading into Philadelphia and being arrested. The Downtown Philadelphia Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its role in this event and for the two civil rights marches led through the town by Martin Luther King, Jr. seeking justice for the murders, in 1964 and 1966.
Steamboat enthusiasts will see another nail in the coffin of overnight steamboat travel in the New Orleans Times-Picayune’s announcement that the “Mississippi Queen paddlewheel steamboat ends its days in a scrapyard.” Granted that it was only built in the 1970s, it joins the historic Delta Queen, which was taken off the river last year because of fire regulations and docked in Chattanooga to be used as a hotel. The only other steamboat offering overnight cruises was the American Queen, the largest of the fleet, but it is now docked too and awaiting an uncertain fate.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation has named a new president, Stephanie Meeks, replacing longtime leader Richard Moe, according to the National Trust blog:
Stephanie currently serves as president and CEO of Counterpart International, a $110 million development organization operating in 25 countries. She earlier spent 18 years at The Nature Conservancy, one of the largest and most influential conservation organizations in the world where she held a number of leadership positions including chief operating officer and, for nearly a year, acting president and CEO. Among other things, she led the three largest capital campaigns in the history of the conservation movement, one of them raising $1.6 billion. Her complete bio can be found here, but you should know that the references and recommendations we received on her were absolutely stellar. Her academic background includes a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado and an M.B.A. from George Washington University.
Stephanie, 45, lives with her husband and three children in Falls Church, Virginia but hails from Colorado. I want to share with you a statement that she issued earlier today. “It is with great enthusiasm and respect,” she said, “that I look forward to joining the National Trust for Historic Preservation next month. It is an important organization with an important mission, and I enthusiastically embrace the opportunity to build on the remarkable foundation laid by Richard Moe over the past seventeen years. Holding true to the values of preserving the nation’s heritage, I hope to expand upon his work to broaden the reach of the Trust to encompass the protection of consequential places at the heart of all of our communities. At this time in our history, we have an opportunity – and a need – to embrace what makes our individual communities unique and authentic and celebrate and preserve those qualities.”
The Clarion-Ledger ran another article this week about the upcoming vacancy of the Eastland Federal Building in downtown Jackson, discussing the various possible uses for it and buyers who might be interested in it. As you’ll recall from the May 17 roundup, local developer David Watkins announced a month or so ago that he would like to see it developed into a “Julliard of the South,” a fine arts college to keep local talent in the state. The Eastland building, built in 1934, is one of the finest Art Deco buildings in the state.
Another Clarion-Ledger article caught my eye a couple weeks ago but I forgot to mention it. Referring to a large planned development to the northwest of the Jackson Medical Mall, it discusses the old Hood Furniture Company building, which has been vacant for several years now. The building itself, which I haven’t researched much at all, looks to me to date to the mid-1950s–it’s more interesting on the outside than from what I could see inside. But these concrete pavilions arranged along the side and front are really interesting. I don’t suppose the plans for this development include preserving these, but they create really wonderful little spaces (if you overlook the graffiti and overgrowth).