MissPres Blog Roundup 8-27-2010

Time for another look around at the blogosphere:

Imagine my surprise to see a post titled “Mississippi Gulf Coast Architecture” on the Preservation in Pink blog, which is normally focused more on North Carolina and now New England. The post is written by guest blogger Janice Medina, who has recently moved to Biloxi and teaches in USM’s Interior Design program. Welcome to the Magnolia State, Janice, and we look forward to seeing more about your perspective on our historic places!

Katrina commemorations have begun, as the 5th anniversary of that disaster is upon us. Check out some of the New Orleans events over on the PRC blog. For those of you not around the MissPres universe last year, read our own Katrina series, beginning with “Roll Call of Landmarks Lost to Katrina.

PBS will be airing another documentary about a great American architect, to complement its recent Benjamin Latrobe and Sam Mockbee documentaries. According to Cityscapes, a film about the life of Chicago architect Daniel Burnham will air on Labor Day, probably at 9:00 PM. Burnham also figures prominently in the 2003 spooky re-telling of Chicago’s great Columbia Exposition of 1893, Devil in the White City.

Urban Decay gives us an “Update on the Mississippi River Basin Model” and some new information about a possible future I hadn’t heard before.

Also on Urban Decay, take your very own photographic tour of Pearl Street in Vicksburg–including some buildings that have been torn down–courtesy of author/photographer kodachromeguy.

Frank Ezelle celebrates the Neshoba County Fair and its historic district (listed on the National Register in 1980) in his post from earlier this month. I’ve never been to the fair. I always say “maybe next year” but then the August heat turns me into a homebody.

As you may know, I’m interested in the Return of Modernism as a design principle in architecture after a couple of decades (at least) wandering in the wilderness of sheer boredom. The Urbanophile explores “The New International Style” as practiced by the globally celebrated “starchitects”:

Today’s starchitecture is different. While many of the buildings are outré in form, they are almost always simply gorgeous. They bring a smile to the face of the public. They are embraced and beloved by communities in a way modernist buildings were not.

Speaking of starchitecture, Tulane’s Architecture Research blog reports back on a field trip to Frank Gehry’s Ohr-O’Keefe Museum in Biloxi, now close to completion.

Also on The Urbanophile, read why it’s the ordinary places that make a great city, not just the starchitecture.

I’m trying to see how many times I can fit “starchitecture” into one post.

Mississippi has so many great courthouses, and many have been preserved and maintained, but we all have to agree that Texas has got an even more amazing collection. Mick Watson’s mission has been to photograph all of them, and he’s written about it in a four-part series for the National Trust blog. Wouldn’t that be a fun road trip? Maybe not in summer, but say, April or October?

Two posts on MDAH’s Sense of Place: Collections Blog show the recent major rehabilitation/reconstruction of the antebellum Coker House in Hinds County. About 150 years ago, the Coker House was right in the thick of the ongoing battle/skirmish between Grant’s invasion force and the Confederate army trying to defend Vicksburg and Jackson. The forces of time took more of a toll on the house, and a few years ago it was in a state of partial collapse. The house was taken down and rebuilt and is not complete on the exterior, with the interior still unfinished. Head out that way (I think it’s on the Raymond-Edwards Road) and take a look for yourself, or just check out the pictures of the exterior and the interior on the MDAH blog.

The Downtown Jackson Partners blog, Jackson Now!, feels pretty confident that the long-discussed Old Capitol Green project, encompassing many blocks south of the Old Capitol in Jackson, is just over the horizon. Read why at “The Big One Is About To Begin.”

And finally, “The Death of the ‘McMansion‘” from CNBC’s The Street: “They’ve been called McMansions, Starter Castles, Garage Mahals and Faux Chateaus but here’s the latest thing you can call them — History.” Hopefully they’re so poorly built we won’t ever actually have to call them “historic.”

Categories: Antebellum, Courthouses, Gulf Coast, Historic Preservation, Hurricane Katrina, Modernism, Renovation Projects, Vicksburg

3 replies

  1. Kudos to kodachromeguy for making us “see” what is so quickly disappearing – the vernacular structures that comprised the warp and weft of our communities! Alas that it is all too often seen posthumously, as in some of these photos. My dad’s Texaco office sat at the base of Fairground Street, and I have fantasized since childhood about how to stop the seemingly inevitable march of devolution and decay in this neighborhood. Cedar Grove has managed to gobble up a few little nearby houses into its sprawling peach-colored bed-and-breakfast configuration, but generally Vicksburg seems to be the victim of its own growth spurt with historic pockets spread too far apart at this point to generate much “neighborhood” restoration synergy.


  2. I admit I go back and forth between loving Vicksburg for the great buildings it still has and being frustrated with it for what it’s allowed to be torn down in the name of progress. (Speed Street School still rankles–grrrrr!) Problem is, even the “progress” is no vacant for the most part, so what was the point?

    On another note, Kathleen, the little paragraph dividers in this News Roundup are a special tribute to Melrose that you might recognize.


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