Several posts in the last few months have focused on the terrible shape and continuing decline of the incredible little campus of the Mississippi Industrial College in Holly Springs. Hopefully, we’ll be hearing more about the true condition of the buildings from Ben Ledbetter who recently visited the campus, 25 years after serving as architect on a project at the college. And as W. White noted in his News Roundup earlier this week, there is a sliver of movement recently, as Rust College, the newish owner of MIC, is seeking an $800,000 for assessment and planning (and hopefully some serious shoring *hint hint*) to get the campus rehab going.
But let’s go back in time a little bit when the college was in its prime as one of very few places where African Americans could gain a quality higher education in the state of Mississippi. I found this postcard recently and decided I must get it because it shows the Carnegie Building at the beginning, when its auditorium seats held a thousand or more college students and speakers held forth on scholarly and maybe not so scholarly topics, plays brought in the crowds, the library held books for the perusing soul. This was before the building was abandoned and stood vacant, before the windows were broken out, before the roof got holes in it, before its sister buildings began to sink into the ground.
The postcard is a little unusual because it appears to be based on an architectural rendering rather than a photograph–it’s very two-dimensional with a stylized background. As we know, the Carnegie Building was designed by one of the first African American architectural firms, McKissack & McKissack of Nashville and built in 1923.
Maybe this little blast from better times will send good vibes up Holly Springs way and help lead in a small way to a better future and a new life for this once beautiful and always historic building.