You heard it here first (or second if you attended MHT’s Unveiling Party last night at Jackson’s Duling School, right in the heart of my funky Fondren neighborhood). As usual, I did not win any of the artwork I bid on, but I was responsible for bidding up the price on at least one, which fulfilled my responsibilities to MHT, I believe.
According to the nice booklet we received at the door:
The 10 places listed represent important historic resources around the state that are in jeopardy of being lost if something is not done to save them. Mississippians are realizing the value and importance of historic structures and are using the list to help raise awareness about the most critical places in need of saving.
The 10 Most list is compiled from nominations submitted by the public to MHT. Selections are based on the significance of the site to the community, state or nation, as well as the nature and immediacy of the threat to the property, such as development pressure or neglect. A jury of Mississippians carefully reviewed the submitted materials and collectively reached a consensus regarding the endangered places for 2011.
And here is the long-awaited list:
Amzie Moore Home (1941), Cleveland, Bolivar County: “The house, which is important to the Civil Rights movement, is threatened by deferred maintenance, water damage, and the ill-effects of vandalism.”
- Austin House (c.1855), Ocean Springs, Jackson County: “Built by prominent New Orleans physician Dr. William Glover Austin, the house is among the oldest in Ocean Springs. It has been vacant and for sale since being damaged in Katrina, and so far, all offers for purchase of the property have been made with requests to demolish the house, which the Ocean Springs Historic Preservation Commission has denied.”
- Ceres Plantation (c.1860), Flowers, Warren County: “A rare surviving example of a 19th and early 20th century plantation complex in Warren County, Ceres is endangered by plans for demolition by owner Warren County Port Commission, which manages the industrial park that now surrounds the house and barns.”
Chickasaw Old Town (Chokkilissa’) (c.1650-1837), Tupelo vicinity, Lee County: “Containing the archaeological remains of the villages that comprised the political and cultural capital of the Chickasaw people during most of the 1700s, the Old Town site faces continuing threats from many type of encroachment associated with economic development.”
- Fielder and Brooks Drug Store (1879), Meridian, Lauderdale County: “The headquarters of the Civil Rights organization COFO, this building was the center of Civil Rights activity in east-central Mississippi. Activists Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman left there offices in this building on their ill-fated trip to Neshoba County in June 1964, where they were killed while investigating a church burning.”
- Holtzclaw Mansion (c.1915), Utica, Hinds County: “The last remnant of the Utica Normal and Industrial Institute for Colored Women and Men founded in 1903 by William Holtzclaw, the former president’s house now sits unoccupied and in an extreme state of deterioration.”
Lewis House (Oldfields) (c.1845), Gautier, Jackson County: “A finely detailed Greek Revival house, Oldfields was also the home of Walter Anderson during the 1940s, a time when he completed some of his most important works.”
- Markham Hotel (1926), Gulfport, Harrison County: “Designed by Chicago architects Marshall & Fox, the Markham was a central figure in a bustling and thriving downtown. Transformed into an office building in the 1970s, the old hotel has not been repaired since being damaged in Katrina.”
- Mount Holly (1858), Washington County: “One of the largest early landholdings in the Delta, Mount Holly was the home of the prominent Foote family. Today, unoccupied and suffering from the damages of neglect by an absentee owner, this important antebellum house sits deteriorating.”
Prospect Hill (c.1854), Jefferson County: “Standing in the midst of deep forest in Jefferson County, the house and cemetery at Prospect Hill today seem serene, only hinting at a past both violent and paradoxically hopeful.”
Before the unveiling of the above list, MHT also hosted a special surprise announcement by interim MDOT Director Melinda McGrath about the longest-running public feud in the state, the widening of Port Gibson’s Church Street. Now that the new Highway Commissioner is on board, MDOT is backing away from its stated intention to take the new Highway 61 down Church Street and is looking again at options to the west (I think she said “west”–it was kind of noisy due to the usual rude people in the back who wouldn’t stop talking long enough for the rest of us to listen.) This is great news and reason for lots of cheering, which was duly commenced. Let’s hope this decision sticks!
Categories: Historic Preservation