MissPres News Roundup 1-10-2011

Happy New Year, MissPres, and happy snow day to most of the state!  Here’s the new stories that wrapped up 2010 and kicked off 2011.

A lot of news from around the Coast in the past few weeks.  As Malvaney noted when wrapping up the year, St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Pass Christian was demolished just before Christmas.  For more on the demolition, read this story in the Sun Herald.  I hope that the loss of this preservation battle does not discourage Pass Christian from continuing to try to save their historic structures.

Continuing on the theme of buildings we lost in 2010, the Hattiesburg American (and other papers, but they all read the same) reported that there is a reward being offered for  any information on the fire that destroyed the Beverly Drive-In.  I know that finding out what exactly happened will not bring back the theater, but there are plenty of people who want to know what caused it.

Moving on to some buildings that are being saved on the Coast:

First, in Biloxi, the City is spending $600,000 to buy the old Library Building on Lameuse St.  Their plans are to restore it and convert it into city office buildings.  Once completed, the library offices will replace those in the current City Hall Annex – which will be demolished once the renovations are complete on the library.  According to the story:

The Spanish colonial building was designed by Carl Matthes, an architect who came to Biloxi from Chicago, where he studied at the Chicago Art Institute. It was built in 1924-25 by Manuel and Wetzel Contractors and was last used as the Biloxi Library in 1976.

The Sun Herald also ran an editorial piece commending Biloxi on their library restoration project and the City of Gulfport for their work in purchasing the Carnegie Library building from the foundation that currently owns it.  The future use of this building is not as certain – sounds like there is hope that it will serve as a artistic center/headquarters of some kind.  The editoral ends by saying “Biloxi and Gulfport officials are to be highly commended for their efforts to preserve tangible aspects of their cities’ architectural heritage.”  What I think is best about this praise is that the editorial is that it “represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board.”  I think it says a lot about the efforts of local preservationists in these two communities that local officials – and the major local newspaper – are behind these efforts.

The local ABC station on the Coast ran a story about restoration work in Bay St. Louis.  The story really focuses on just one couple who took advantage of preservation grants after Katrina which were offered by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.  Nice to see good opinions of MDAH in the media.

A nice feature piece in the Hattiesburg American discussed development, “re-development” and doing it right.  The author highlights the changes she’s seen in downtown Hattiesburg during the past decade as more property owners have worked on their buildings.  As more property owners join in the revitalization efforts, she hopes that they will all be “doing it right” and follow good planning for their projects that follow appropriate guidelines.  A good lesson there that should be shared with other communities – such as Jackson and Meridian – that also have downtown revitalization efforts sparking up.

The Star-Herald reports that the long-awaited completion of electrical upgrades at the Mississippi Landmark Attala County Courthouse in Kosciusko is at hand. This project was funded with a Community Heritage Preservation Grant from MDAH.

The Clarion Ledger had a big feature yesterday highlighting our landmark New Capitol building, its 4570 light bulbs, and its tourism impact on Jackson.

The Rankin Ledger, a local subsidiary of the C-L, recognized the recent listing of the Downtown Brandon Historic District and Brandon Cemetery on the National Register and the placing of markers at the sites.

Finally, a story from the Clarion Ledger about the National Park Service’s announcement of 2011’s free entry days for all National Parks:

  • Jan. 15-17 — MLK weekend
  • April 16-24 — National Park Week
  • June 21 — first day of summer
  • Sept. 24 — Public Lands Day
  • Nov. 11-13 — Veterans Day weekend

Other fees – such as camping and tours – will still be in place, but any vehicle entrance fees at the parks will be waived.  Many have free entry year-round anyway, and most of the tours are affordable as well.  “The idea is to promote park attendance and increase awareness” according to the article.  Even visiting on a non-free entry weekend, most of the National Parks really are a low cost way to enjoy a vacation.  The NPS website can tell you more about all of the nearly 400 total National Park properties around the nation.  This link will tell you about the ones in Mississippi.



Categories: Bay St. Louis, Biloxi, Gautier, Gulfport, Hattiesburg, Historic Preservation, Jackson, MS Dept. of Archives and History, National Park Service, News Roundups, Pass Christian

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