I think it’s evidence of a long hot summer when 62 degrees feels like winter, but that’s where I am right now.
On to the news . . .
According to the Clarion-Ledger’s story “Capitol survives upgrade, gripes“:
A $5.5 million renovation of the state Capitol that began four years ago is expected to be completed by 2013, but some lawmakers are concerned about how long the project is taking and the care going into the work.
The project involves all sorts of basic repairs but also major work on the roof and domes to address long-standing leaks that have damaged interior plasterwork. The article relates that not only is the length of time a concern, but also what some people see as inadequate protection of the building’s historic character. This, of course, is a concern that we would all share here on MissPres, but unfortunately the article only gives one anecdotal instance to demonstrate this allegation and then never follows up to tell us if it’s a fair accusation or not.
Original glass from the lower domes had been discarded on the Capitol grounds when it was being replaced. Several who work inside the Capitol said they were able to take pieces, and Hewes said he was concerned about the integrity of the building.
What exactly this glass was or why it was discarded is never explained. While the article does mention that the building is a Mississippi Landmark, it never quotes anyone from MDAH, which reviews all work on Landmark buildings, and the writer never apparently asked the architectural historian of the Capitol, whose desk is right inside the lobby. It’s a frustrating lack of information and not good reporting.
“Lee Hall prepares for renovations,” according to MSU’s student newspaper The Reflector. Built in 1909, Lee Hall is an iconic landmark on the MSU campus, so much so that one donor funded a replica built at the other end of the drill field a few years back. Lee Hall was designed by Chattanooga architecture firm R.H. Hunt & Co. and built by Columbus, Mississippi construction firm Lindamood & Puckett. R.H. Hunt’s firm designed over a hundred major buildings in Mississippi–college buildings on most of the public and private campuses in the state, churches, commercial buildings, masonic temples, you name it–and many more across the Southeast from the 1890s through the 1920s.
The renovation project will not only ensure the building’s structural soundness for another generation of students, but will also replace the building’s large number of offices with classroom spaces again, to meet the campus master plan’s goal of having classes back surrounding the drill field again.
“It’s a multi-million dollar project and will encompass a total renovation of the tower portion of the building,” Muzzi [the university architect] said.
The project is benefiting the building and campus in many ways, and nearly every aspect of the building, excluding the auditorium, will be affected by the renovations, he said.
“The exterior of the building will be renovated and tuck-pointed (the removing of the mortar and the brick and then replacing the mortar part), water migration will be stopped, historical windows will be renovated and there will be a roof and new electrical system,” Muzzi said.
This will be an exciting project to watch, and hopefully W. White will keep us updated.
The old First Christian Church of Amory, which I think was originally Christian Freewill Baptist Church, but is now called The Windows in honor of its stained-glass windows, will be purchased and saved by a group of interested citizens, according to the Monroe Journal:
This story “Officials optimistic about Sears building” in the Meridian Star caught my eye, because with an address on 22nd Avenue, I assumed the building must be located in the downtown historic district, so as I drove through Meridian last week, I decided to go find the building and take a picture for you, dear readers. As it turns out, the building sits between the downtown and the interstate, and so is not in the historic district. It’s still an interesting Modernist building though, and the sun was shining just right to get some pictures that show off its best qualities of light and shadow.
Anyway, the story in the Star has this to say about the possibilities for this building:
The city administration has plans to transform the 46 year-old building, which has been abandoned for decades, into a public safety facility that will house the Meridian Police Department, and at least part of the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department. There has also been talk of locating the Lauderdale County Youth Court and Drug Court and the Lauderdale County Juvenile Detention Facility in the building.
Barry plans to use police department seized funds to pay for the building, which is currently owned by Rush Health Systems. If the project is carried out, Barry said the city will purchase the property for $2 million. The property, which includes 7.5 acres of land, has been appraised by the Lauderdale County Tax Assessor’s office at $675,830.
I’m really shocked to read that the building has been abandoned that long. It doesn’t look in half-bad shape.
It occurs to me, looking at that interesting masonry screen/brise soleil along the front porch, that it is the same shape that we discussed in “Friday Just For Fun” a couple of weeks ago.
Tupelo’s Historic Preservation Commission faces another crisis because of a property owner in the Mill Village Historic District who decided to do a major renovation of his house with neither a building permit nor approval from the preservation commission. The Daily Journal reports:
A Tupelo man faces fines and license revocation after ripping out sections of a historic home without a city permit or permission from the Historic Preservation Commission.City inspectors stopped a crew pulling the facade off a house at 480 South Green St. after learning that the owner, Tim Hester, had begun major alterations there. An addition behind the house already had been entirely removed, as had the front porch.
“Pulling the facade off a house.” The phrase makes me wince.
Last but not least, this tiny little item in the Clarion-Ledger about the recently bestowed Mississippi Medal of Service to seven individuals around the state:
Elbert Hilliard: The fifth director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Hilliard joined the department July 1, 1965. He became director in July 1973 and retired on Dec. 31, 2004.
This is a well-deserved honor for a man who helped lead the preservation movement in Mississippi for decades and laid a solid foundation on which we need to be building. Congratulations to Mr. Hilliard!
Categories: Amory, Churches, Cool Old Places, Demolition/Abandonment, Jackson, Meridian, Mississippi Landmarks, Modernism, MS Dept. of Archives and History, News Roundups, Preservation Law/Local Commissions, Preservation People/Events, Recent Past, Renovation Projects, Starkville, Tupelo, Universities/Colleges