Mississippi Architect, Nov. 1963: LaRue Residence, Jackson

Today’s post from the November 1963 issue of the Mississippi Architect introduces us to a house I’ve never seen and don’t even know where it is to look for it. The information presented locates it on a “private lake north of Jackson” which could be a lot of places. I do know that Robert Overstreet designed a “Roy Champion Lodge” on a lake north of Jackson in the late 1950s, and I wonder if it’s the same lake. If so, I’ve been to where I think that lake is, but never saw Overstreet’s lodge and became discouraged. I’ll have to go back up there–it’s off Highland Colony Parkway–and see if I see anything that resembles the LaRue house.


This residence is one of three constructed on a private lake immediately north of Jackson. The land surrounding the lake is being developed as a park-like setting with the three residences dispersed along the shore line.

The family is large and busy. Both parents and the five children engage in many activities and it was this personality of the household that governed its design. The organization of the plan is essentially that of a cross with each of the four major wings accommodating the living area, the service section, the master bedroom suite and the children’s wing respectively. The concept was one of informality with the aim that the building be unobtrusive in the landscape.

The owners do a great deal of entertaining and this consideration governed the arrangement of the living room, play room. and the two intervening courts all linked by a covered way. On occasion of large groups these four areas may be used together to form a useful succession of spaces.

This article is reprinted from the November 1963 issue of the Mississippi Architect, with permission from the Mississippi Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. View the full November 1963 issue of Mississippi Architect in a digitized format, or for other articles in this ongoing series, including the pdf version of each full issue, click on the MSArcht tab at the top of this page.

Categories: Architectural Research, Jackson

26 replies

  1. Could this be the house on Old Canton Rd. just north of Fondren? I think it’s owned by the Striblings now. It’s on the left as you go north and the yard has a white fence surrounding it. “Just north of Jackson” could still be in the city limits but just north of the urban area. Back in the 50’s and 60’s, most of that land was still very undeveloped.


  2. Was/is this house on one of the Eastover lakes?

    I imagine this is the same Fred LaRue as the one who worked for the Nixon campaign: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A00EFDB103DF93AA15754C0A9629C8B63


  3. Well, isn’t that an interesting twist! It does say they had five children and I count five children in the obituary. I’m going to have to follow this story a little farther I see.

    I’ll drive by that house on Old Canton, but the story says it was a “private lake” with three houses total on it. I don’t know of any place in Fondren that matches that description. Eastover is another matter, and it very well could be over on that side. I’m going to make a run to the library to look at the city directories and see what I find (should have done that first).


  4. He is the very same person as the one they called “Nixon’s bagman.” His son, Ike III, was the previous tenant of the house in which I now dwell.


  5. According to the 1964 city directory, Fred LaRue’s residence was at 3600 Old Canton Rd. You have a good eye, crpiii.


    • Well knock me over with a feather, I’ll have to drive down there this afternoon and look at it with new eyes!

      Thanks, Carunzel, you retain the title of “Crack Researcher.” “Crack” in a good way, not in a drug way, of course. :-)


  6. Who knew that the homes of racist Fascists looked just like the homes of normal people? Normal, rich people, that is. The life of a totalitatian Republican can be hard; what with all the punishments for subverting American Democracy, like badminton on volleyball courts.

    At least the Robber Barons had good taste, not like Nixon Fascists.


  7. I don’t know for sure where this house is, but I know where Lake LaRue was. You can find it on a city map circa 1960. It was north of Beasley Road, east of the Woodhaven subdivision that is across the street from Callaway High School. It was a favorite motorboating spot for my father after he bought his first boat in 1957. I grew up in Woodhaven in the 1970’s. We explored the woods where Dad said the lake used to be. I understood the lake had been drained for development, like Cook’s Lake off of Westhaven Blvd. (a totally failed project to this day.) Anyone have info on that one? But there was a nice Country Club-type clubhouse with a large pool still in operation as late as 1978 or so. I betcha this is the lake, and perhaps one of the homes ended up being this clubhouse I refer to.
    I will definitely check this out for this board – it will give me a chance to get back “home.”


    • Yes! I used to sneak in and fish Lake Larue as a 12 yr old, back in 1970. It looks like they’ve changed the name of Lake Larue to “Coastal Lake” now.


  8. I don’t know the number, but it was sleepy hollow drive off eastover drive. The house is still there.


  9. Alright, I have settled this once and for all. I found the Fred LaRue house from the Mississippi Architect last weekend. Actually, I found two of them, and posted pics on my Flikr page. The house we’ve been talking about is indeed just north of Beasley Road. The Wesley Biblical Seminary uses the property now. More impressive, I think, is another house owned by the LaRue family just down the road. It is now a retreat for a Muslim community. As you enter the driveway, you notice a concrete boat-house that leads to nothing but forest now as the lake was drained years ago. The house is almost Wright or Van der Rohe inspired. The flat stonework at the entry and around the back is in need of attention but more or less intact. The front facades have been updated with muslim motifs. Fascinating that a Nixon-Republican’s home is now very different!


    • You are correct. I lived in the LaRue clubhouse between 1976-1977, which is now the Muslim-owned Masjid Muhammad property on 616 Lake LaRue Blvd (which is now 6100 Floral Drive). From what I remember, the clubhouse had been sitting vacant for a while in the early 1970’s and my parents rented it for those two years. The house was absolutely beautiful, with teak wood walls in the “bedrooms,” (which were probably the pro shop and bar in the front) and also in the hallways. I also remember giant windows (many sliding glass), a cedar exterior and flagstone walls & walkways outside. The back of the clubhouse had locker rooms, a huge “galley” and all sorts of areas to play in, which, for a 6 year-old kid was fantastic to explore! At the time, the lake surrounded 2/3 of the property and you had to cross a small wooden bridge at the beginning of the driveway. To boot, there used to be an abandoned boathouse that was surrounded by pussy willows and infested with water moccasins…

      I visited the house back on a Saturday morning back in October, 2000 and a Muslim gentleman who, I presume, owned the place let me take a look around (with shoes off, of course) and outside. Brought back many fond memories.


  10. So you’re saying it’s on Old Canton, just north of Beasley? Could you post your Flickr link?


  11. Oh, never mind, I see you’ve posted it in the MissPres group that shows up on the sidebar here. Looking at your map on Flickr, I’m glad I didn’t spend too much time trying to track this down–I would have never found it! Thanks for finding and sharing!

    That addition definitely doesn’t do the building any favors, but otherwise, it looks pretty intact.


  12. I added links to your Flickr pics within your comment, just for future reference.


  13. wow, what a curious twist of fate for those structures. Great job tracking them down!


  14. This property became the campus of Wesley Biblical Seminary, and when they moved to the Old Broadmoor Baptist Church in 2000, it became the dormitory. The women students lived in the LaRue House shown in the pictures. It was really a very interesting building because it always looked like it had a story and was definitely unique and custom made. The lake was drained sometime in the 80’s and a thick wooded area now covers the area where the lake used to be.


  15. This is at 5980 Floral Drive in North Jackson. Wesley Biblical Seminary property. The Lake has since been drained.


  16. Question so far as the properties around the floral dr or beasely rd area is there a standing land contract that you do not owner the property just the home?


  17. These were owned by relatives and I spent a lot of time there growing up. There were 4 houses – Fred LaRue, Ike LaRue, their mother Ruth LaRue – a small house, and their sister Ruthie LaRue Owen. The Owen’s was very southwestern with a courtyard and an upstairs wing for the kids. All 3 families had 5 children each. The other two were long and stretched out with windows. There was a small nursery on the property open to the public across the lake and also a stable with their horses.
    The families lived on Old Canton north of Fondren prior to building at the lake. They all moved to one of the nearby neighborhoods (Woodhaven, I believe) when they sold the homes for a few years, then moved to back into Jackson. They sold to a developer who planned for the area to be made into a community, but that didn’t happen. The “clubhouse” was one of the homes (Ike’s, I believe) that was used after they sold the property for parties and events. I went to a casino night in the mid 80s there and it was still the same layout basically at that time.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. In late 1979 the seminary bought the whole property from a Memphis bank and moved from a big house with outbuildings it rented at 1515 N. State Street. A fellow student and I lived in the “clubhouse” for several months before moving to “servants’ quarters” beside the big Spanish house. We finally moved into the cabana by the “clubhouse” pool with some other students. According to the accompanying 1963 magazine article Fred LaRue himself lived in the classy “clubhouse.”


  19. Keep me posted on this and other preservation interests. I think the seminary’s previous home at 1515 N. State Street is on an historical register.


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