Architectural Twins: One Happy, One Glowering

Tuesday’s post about the Trailways station and the former Petroleum building across that street that’s been transformed into what some have called a Darth Vader Building reminded me of a similar but smaller scale transformation to a building here in Jackson. For most of my 15 years in Jackson, these two Fabric Care Cleaners, one on Fortification Street in Belhaven, the other on Old Canton Road up around the Willie Morris Library, were twins (or maybe siblings, since the Old Canton building was wider than the one on Fortification). Unassuming little Modernist steel and glass and brick veneer structures, they still had a bit of flare with their bright red panels below the plate-glass windows and their broad flat awnings cantilevered out to shelter customers.

Fabric Care Cleaners, Fortification Street

One day last year, I noticed that the building on Old Canton was being renovated into a laundrymat, and then later on that week, I saw that the red panels were now painted out in black. Furthermore, the aluminum strips that hold the storefront together are also black and the fascia on the awning is black.

Laundry Plus, Old Canton Road

It gives the building a very different look for sure, and I’m not sure I like the transformation. I had always thought of the red as a happy, friendly color, but I guess happy and friendly is not in style in our new techno world, even for laundrymats. Now the previously happy twins have been separated into different worlds, one cool in a glowering way, the other the guy who makes everyone laugh but is a little nerdy.

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Categories: Architectural Research, Jackson, Modernism

3 replies

  1. Color is often necessary to bring certain buildings to life. I think this was better off without the b/w transformation.


  2. I believe that the Fortification location will be tranformed into Pizza Shack in the next few weeks. Not sure of the plans but glad to see this local business remain in the Belhaven area. I’ve always envisioned Fortification as a walkable strip of local businesses that ties Belhaven and Blehaven Heights together. If done right, this may be exactly what Fortification needs to spur development since the street will resurfaced and wide sidewalks added in the next twenty-four months.


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