MissPres News Roundup 7-16-2010

Ok, I admit that I accidentally allowed my Clarion-Ledger subscription to lapse–that happened with my home insurance recently too, and it’s getting annoying–so I probably haven’t been keeping up with the news like I usually do, other than my Wall Street Journal. I just can’t get into reading the news online–I like the convenience of sending links to people and posting them here, but for actually reading the newspaper, nothing beats sitting with my Cheerios and milk in my kitchen or on my porch and actually reading all the news. I guess I’d better go find that bill and pay it.

At any rate, it’s also possible that it’s just too doggone hot to be making any news, because I haven’t heard too much going on out there, except this:


Hinds County Courthouse, Raymond (1857-59). Built and probably designed by the Weldon brothers of Vicksburg, who also built the old Warren County Courthouse

Just before I lost my subscription, when I was still innocent of what was coming, the Clarion-Ledger ran an article called “Historic Makeover” front-page of the Metro section, noting that “courthouse work in Raymond may be done by September.” This renovation of the old Raymond courthouse, one of the few antebellum courthouses in the state, has been ongoing for several years, starting with the exterior and now finishing up on the interior. I was in this building a few years ago and noted the wiring going all over the place, just strung up on the walls and such, so I can vouch that this revamp of the mechanical and electrical systems is much-needed.

According to the C-L

The Board of Supervisors awarded the $1.5 million construction contract to Paul Jackson & Son Inc. in September 2009, and work began in January. The county will pay for the work using bond money and a federal grant.The two-story structure near downtown Raymond houses offices for the tax collector, circuit clerk and Circuit Judge Malcolm Harrison, all of whom temporarily relocated.
The main repairs include replacing water-damaged ceilings, replastering walls and upgrading the courthouse to current safety and building codes.
. . . .
Workers also found six fireplaces in the upstairs courtroom that had been filled in and plastered over. The architects plan to install mantles over them and leave them exposed to restore the space’s original design.

According to the Greenwood Commonwealth, a historic marker will be dedicated at the Greenwood Underpass, listed on the National Register a couple of years ago.

I heard through other sources that Carrollton, mired in controversy over its historic preservation ordinance after a town alderman got upset about not being able to do whatever he darn well pleased on his property in the middle of town, recently upheld the ordinance on a very slim margin 3-2 after said alderman proposed to rescind it. The only article I can find on the subject is in the Greenwood Commonwealth from before the vote and it’s titled “Alderman Should Abstain on Ordinance.” Presumably, the Board of Aldermen is composed of five members, so I’m guessing Mr. Bankston failed to take the Commonwealth’s advice?

When I first moved to Mississippi, way back in the 1990s–back when we didn’t have cell phones or the internet, kids!–the median of Highway 49 south of Jackson toward Hattiesburg and then to the Coast, featured beautiful stands of trees. That long otherwise boring stretch was a pleasure to drive because of the shade and the way the light played through the trees. Until MDOT began demolishing all of them, that is. Well, not all of them–there’s still a little stretch south of Hattiesburg, and then a lovely stretch of live oak trees down around where you start to feel like you might be getting close to the Coast. Yeah, you know those live oaks? Well, seems MDOT has killed them too–accidentally they want us all to know, according to the Sun-Herald–doggone workers sprayed the wrong chemical to kill the weeds, and now that dignified stand of live oaks is dying and can’t be saved. Accident? Or just the latest victim in MDOT’s war on beauty in this world? All I know is, if any of y’all in Port Gibson notice workers spraying around on Church Street, go tackle them.

Not in Mississippi, but a fascinating story that really could happen and often has in Mississippi. According to the Wall Street Journal’s “Texas Investigators Join Alamo Fray,”the Daughters of the Texas Revolution are at war with one another and the state over the maintenance of the Alamo. I kind of feel sorry for them though–the state is investigating even though they don’t pay a dime for the maintenance or upkeep, and the Wall Street Journal of all papers is calling for a government takeover. Has the world turned upside down?

Speaking of trees, here’s an article in the Bolivar Commercial about Memorial Drive in Cleveland, planted by the Daughters of the American Revolution as a living memorial to the county’s World War I veterans. It reminds me of the Magnolia Memorial at Ole Miss, planted to remember the 177 Ole Miss students killed in World War II. I wonder how many other living war memorials there are out there around the state?

Also in the news of late is the new Hindu Temple that has been under construction for a few years over in Rankin County–is it Flowood or Brandon? Anyway, my curiosity got the better of me, and last Sunday afternoon, a friend and I wandered over there to take some pictures. We were fortunate to get there when several members were still there, and they welcomed us to look inside, although we were only allowed to take pictures of the floor and ceiling inside. More than enough, as you can see there’s details everywhere, intricate patterns, images of elephants, monkeys, buxom women, etc. The temple is built of concrete, with the carvings in cast concrete patterns. Workmen from India came over to build the building and create the castings. The floor inside is of highly polished black granite, with geometric designs representing the cosmos.

The members explained the imagery, where each deity temple inside is represented by a dome outside, so the very large dome in the back is over the major deity, and then the smaller domes are over the lessers. I’m sure I’m not explaining that correctly–I’m a Presbyterian, what can I say?

We were told that this is the only Hindu temple between Atlanta and Dallas, and represents about 600 Hindu families, which is a pretty amazing thought for Mississippi.

Anyway, enjoy these pictures, and if you’re in the area around the Dogwood Festival Market, head up Old Fannin Road toward the reservoir, turn left onto a little side road next to the new doctors’ offices, and prepare to be amazed. It’s rare that I think a new building will be worthy of preservation in the future, but this one is something!

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Categories: Carrollton, Cool Old Places, Courthouses, Environment/Green, Greenwood, Mississippi Landmarks, News Roundups, Raymond, Recent Past

6 replies

  1. Between MDOT and Entergy, there is a growing blight on our city and rural landscapes due to their aggressive use of chemical sprays to control vegetation (“weeds” and trees) along roadside right-of-ways and medians and under power lines. Does anyone know what they are spraying, or in what concentrations, or what the environmental effect is? Do they have to follow any permitting system? In Natchez they sprayed last year and again this year under high-power lines right along Homochitto Street across from the front of Dunleith (a National Historic Landmark), and they killed some ancient cedars that bounded the Routh cemetery in that area.


    • Wow, that’s shocking and so sad about the cedars. Since landscaping or natural environments came to be seen as more of a maintenance issue than a thing of beauty integral to our lives, we’ve been racing each other to see how little we can spend to keep them up. And “keeping them up” has come to mean “no obvious weeds” which leads to aggressive mowing in cemeteries and now spraying and leaving the dead brown remains as if those are better than weeds.


  2. Boo, MDOT! I had never thought about such things; now I, too, am wondering those things that Kathleen mentioned.

    Thanks for the pictures of the temple! I don’t think that’s quite true about being the only one, but maybe their criteria is very narrow. There is a Hari Krishna temple near Carriere, though it’s very plain and perhaps they don’t consider Hari Krishnas to be Hindu? Do you know if they are going to gild and/or paint it or will it stay white? Very neat, I had no idea about it!


  3. The pictures of the Hindu temple are fascinating1 I also wonder if they might gild or otherwise color the exterior.


  4. I don’t think gilding is in the plans–I’m pretty sure the white is the finished building. Plus there is gilding on the spires of the big front “dome.”

    As for who is and who is not considered Hindu, I’m afraid I am unable to make these doctrinal distinctions–just going by what I’m told by the members of this temple.


  5. Oh, you’re right! I didn’t notice the gold before.


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