Here’s a little light fare for Friday.
I can’t claim any credit for today’s post, as I came across images of these two buildings while reading David H. Sachs’ 1986 Ph.D. dissertation, The Work of Overstreet and Town: The Coming of Modern Architecture to Mississippi. Unfortunately the dissertation has never been published, but nowadays with the internet providing access to previously unattainable resources, scholars and just interested folks alike can find these little gems with just a few clicks. This dissertation really opened my eyes to the inner workings of the architectural community in the 1920s and 1930s, a period when the Mississippi chapter of the AIA was finally formed, and when Overstreet and his fellow architects (let’s not forget them) were transforming the cities and towns of Mississippi.
The two churches pictured in the dissertation are not that far apart geographically, but I had never noticed the similarities. The Bolton church is mislabeled “Edwards Church” in the caption, whether from a mistake in the original rendering or just a mistake in the caption, I don’t know. I knew that there was no such church building was in Edwards, so I assumed that the rendering never got built, but then one day I was driving through Bolton, passed the Methodist church and thought, “hmmm, that looks familiar.” I would have guessed that Jackson’s Central Presbyterian was built first and then scaled down a bit for the small-town Bolton, but apparently it’s the other way around. I would have also guessed that the two church buildings were built for the same denomination, but that’s also not the case. Guess I should stop guessing and just let the facts hit me as they will.
Both buildings display that combination of classicism and Prairie/Arts and Crafts styles that Overstreet really perfected in the 1910s and 1920s. I’m not sure if it’s the dark brick or what, but even though Central Presbyterian has big ol’ columns lining the facade, it seems more Prairie/Craftsman-ish than the Bolton church. Maybe it’s that cast-concrete cornice that provides such a heavy horizontal emphasis on the Presbyterian church but is missing on the Bolton building. Both buildings are still occupied, although the Capitol Street building is now occupied by Stewpot Services, and as you may recall from a news roundup earlier this year, they are in the process of renovating the sanctuary.
Alright, now that you’ve learned something new today, it’s time to get out there and finish your Christmas shopping! Or maybe start your Christmas shopping. Or start thinking about starting your Christmas shopping. Whatever you do, have a great weekend-before-Christmas!