To Leakesville and Back

Leakesville? Leakesville, you say? What’s in Leakesville and why would you go there? Well, for one thing, Leakesville boasts a fine courthouse and a nice school complex. Plus, there’s interesting stuff on the way there from Jackson, and it’s on my way to see family and friend in the Florida Panhandle, so why not?

On the way, I check in on one of my favorite Art Deco gymnasiums in the state at the rural crossroads of Runnelstown, which you almost pass on the highway before screeching to a halt and turning off the road.

The campus has at least two older buildings, including a 1929 classroom building with a plaque giving credit to T.D. Mixon as architect–I have never heard of T.D. Mixon before–and L.E. and W.E. Breland as contractors. The Brelands also built the Lamar County Courthouse in Purvis–poor abused building that it is. As for the gymnasium, which is designated as a Mississippi Landmark, there’s no plaque, at least on the outside to tell us about its architect. Probably it was designed by one of the Hattiesburg architects in the late 1930s.

Continuing east on Highway 42 through the lovely Piney Woods region, you come to Richton, a little former railroad town, now perhaps having seen better days. But the little downtown strip (Hwy 15) has a few interesting buildings, including a former 50-car garage built in the 1920s (why? who knows?) and a sweet red Modern storefront that shows you can be sophisticated in a low key way in small town Mississippi.

Moving along into Greene County, one of my favorite counties for really old country schools (see the Indian Hill School, Bexley School, etc.), we come to Leakesville, which boasts a nice 1920s and 30s school campus of its own, along with an Art Moderne courthouse designed by the Hattiesburg/Biloxi firm of Landry & Matthes in 1939 and built under the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works. As I was taking a picture of the plaques at the front entrance, a man came out the door and said “Taking pictures?” and I said, “Oh, yes, what a great building!” and he looked at me funny as he walked away. I get that alot, don’t you?

 



Categories: "To . . . and Back", Architectural Research, Cool Old Places, Courthouses, Leakesville, Richton, Schools

4 replies

  1. How great is that building is right! I do have to love the one green shutter, too. Hmmm….my house has a window with one green shutter–it came that way and I have never gotten around to taking it down. I didn’t know it was the fashion here.

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    • Oh yes, Mississippi houses, no matter what style must certainly have a shutter or two attached, even if they don’t match the size of the window and could never be mistaken for working shutters–so you’re in style and didn’t know it! :-)

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  2. That poor courthouse- abused is right! Any plans for its restoration?

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    • I’ve heard tell that the Lamar County Courthouse, used and abused by various circuit judges over the years, is in the planning stages for a major renovation that will try to repair many of the indignities that have been visited on it. Not sure whether there’s money to actually carry it out, but at least the planning is a step in the right direction–that building was very similar to the grand Marion County Courthouse, so it has potential for sure.

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