MissPres News Roundup 3-7-2011

Time to take a break from pondering which Northeast MS buildings to vote for and catch up on the news.  I think it’s interesting that the Northeast is the focus of our current poll – especially since I was sent a link to a new website for the Tupelo Historic Preservation Commission.  It’s just getting going, but I’m sure that all of you will want to add them to your internet bookmarks.

Up in Canton, the Clarion Ledger reported a fire in one of the buildings on Courthouse Square.  The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but the reports are that the building only suffered heavy smoke, soot and water damage.  Apparently, the facade did not suffer any damage and the interior damage was contained by a firewall.  I hope this means that the building will be repaired and keep contributing to the feel of the square.

Caught a glimpse of a story in the Greenwood Commonwealth that the Viking Range Corp. will be renovating and restoring the Elks Lodge in Greenwood.  I don’t have the access to the Commonwealth to read the whole story, but it’s great that a corporation is investing in an historic building.

A while back, Malvaney posted about the Hattiesburg Post Office – and it’s been in recent news as well.  The Hattiesburg American ran a story about another person who loves the Art Deco Building.  In fact, the story said that the USM Alumni was going to be part of an NPR program talking about her memories of the Hattiesburg Post Office.  Audio of the NPR story is available here.  NPR was doing the story because of the talk from Washington that 2,000 Post Office around the nation – mostly in small towns – might be closing.

Speaking of post offices, the Sun Herald reports that the historic Gulfport Post Office has a buyer.  There aren’t a lot of details yet – just that it’s basically a done deal and the buyer is from Houston.  They want to relocate their company to Gulfport.  We’ll have to keep watching news on this one to see what the next use of the 1910 building will be.

The Clarion Ledger ran a nice piece on Dr. Alferdteen Harrison, retired JSU Professor.  Dr. Harrison is involved in preservation and serves on MDAH’s Review Board – the committee that recommends National Register nominations to the National Park Service.  She has also been active in writing grants for different history projects and still researches information on the historic Farish Street District in downtown Jackson.  The article includes a great quote from Dr. Harrison: “Old buildings are like old people. You have to take care of them and prop them up.”  I’m glad that the Clarion Ledger ran such a great story on one of preservation’s supporters.

The first of the Spring events started this weekend in Newton where they had their “Loose Caboose” festival.  According to the Meridian Star, this event draws at least 10,000 people to Newton each year.  Hopefully, the rain this weekend didn’t wash out the festival and keep the visitors away.  Since the Loose Caboose is typically so early in the year, it tends to be the “kick off” for all other Spring festivals and events around the state.  I looked at just the rest of the March calendar here on MissPres, and I believe it. Get out there and see some cool old places!  If you do, I know I’d like to see pictures and read about your travels and I’m sure other MissPresers would too.

Spring is also grant time for many organizations, and stories about communities plans for preservation projects are starting to pop up.  The Jackson Free Press, for example, ran a story about the City of Jackson‘s plans to apply for grant funds to resurvey the Belhaven Historic District and to get it listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Such a district would be huge – about 1,000 structures.  The JFP article doesn’t mention which grant the City is applying for or when they will receive word on if they get it or not.  It does talk a good bit about the benefits of the National Register listing for the neighborhood – specifically the Tax Credits.

Oh, and I know that many might be under the impression that Belhaven is already listed on the National Register – but it’s not.  The smaller, Belhaven Heights Historic District (south of Fortification Street) is listed, but the larger Belahven Historic District is only locally designated by the City of Jackson and not yet on the Register.  This one’s pretty big and I hope that it continues to get coverage.

Last, in case you missed the comment by Mound Bayou’s mayor, Kennedy Johnson, last week:

We are having a fundraising Banquet on March 26, 2011 at the Mound Bayou Facility Building at 7:00pm to raise funds to offset assessments, minor preservation and to secure an architect to develop a plan for the renovation of the Taborian Hospital and other historical properties in Mound Bayou. Please assist by asking your friends, your church, and others to support this effect by donating to Saving Our Legacy Empowers (SOLE). For more information email mayorjohnson2001@yahoo.com or call the Mound Bayou City Hall at 662-741-2194.

Some of you may remember the post we did on the Taborian Hospital a while back–maybe some of us can help save it. Hopefully we’ll be hearing more about this effort in coming weeks.

Categories: Canton, Greenwood, Gulfport, Hattiesburg, Historic Preservation, Jackson, Natchez, News Roundups, Renovation Projects

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