MissPres News Roundup 10-10-2011

For the second week in a row, we have a lot of news to share from around the state – so I’m going to get right into it:

First, a story we’ve been following out of Columbus for a couple of months has come up again.  According to the Dispatch, the ongoing efforts to create the Southside Historic District “have hit a snag.”  Since August (the last time the district was in the news), the local Historic Preservation Commission has decided that before a new local district can be created, that the area needs to be resurveyed.  The paper says that after the survey, the area would “have to be re-certified as a historic district” – which I assume means that the National Register District would be updated (but the paper does not explain this very well).  To help with the cost of the project, the Commission is asking the city to help with matching funds for a grant from MDAH.  The story specifically says that the grant they are seeking is a 50-50 match grant, so it sounds like they are going to apply for a Certified Local Government (CLG) Grant.

If you’re looking for something to do this coming weekend, Columbus has their Fall Tour of Homes starting on Friday.  According to the story, “[t]he following homes will be open for tours: Rosedale, Ole Magnolia, the Stephen D. Lee Home and Museum, Rosewood Manor and gardens, Temple Heights, Whitehall, the Jackie O’ House, Summertime Cottage, White Arches, the T.O. Burris Home (Painted Lady), and Waverley Mansion.”  The story also notes that this is the first year for Ole Magnolia to be on the tour.  See the story for more information on tickets and times.

Seems like grant applications are still news around the state (after the one last week from Natchez).  Besides the CLG grant project idea from Columbus, Oxford and Tupelo both had stories regarding potential grant projects show up last week.

According to a paper in Columbus, Indiana (don’t ask me why they picked it up – but it was where I found it), the City of Oxford is applying for “a $261,000 grant from the state that could complete the restoration of the Burns Belfry Church.”  The short article says that the city has a federal grant of $500,000 for work on the church as well.  It also refers to the city having to match 20% of the project cost from the MDAH grant they are applying for – so it sounds like they are trying for a Community Heritage Preservation Grant (which were due last week if memory serves).

The local Tupelo paper ran a story on the Spain House.  According to the report, the city agreed to seek Mississippi Landmark designation for the house and they are applying for a Community Heritage grant to move the house.  This is being done so that the house can be saved before ownership reverts back to Calvary Baptist Church who had owned the house and sought permission to demolish it.  They struck a deal with the city that transferred ownership of the house – but not the lot – to the city, who is responsible for moving it so the church can use the lot.  Seems like the 18-month transfer of ownership might be expiring soon – so I wonder if the Church will extend that transfer pending MDAH’s decisions.

If you ever wondered how the monuments at Vicksburg National Military Park are maintained / restored, check out this piece from the Northeast Mississippi Journal.  The focus is on the Iowa memorial, and the efforts of an Iowa elected official to get his state to give money to the Friends of VNMP so that work can be done on the structure.  Technically, the National Park Service is responsible for maintaining and repairing the monuments in the park, but some states have worked with NPS to fund restorations.  Pretty cool.


After last week, you have to be thinking that there can’t possibly be any additional news out of Natchez for a while, but you’d be wrong.  Monday’s Democrat (and Tuesday’s Clarion Ledger) reported on the $1 million restoration project taking place at Melrose – which is slated to be completed next summer.  It began as a “simple paint job” but the more NPS looked at the building, the more work they discovered needed to be done because there was water and structural damage that needed correcting before the painting could be done.  I know MissPreser Kathleen Jenkins will be happy to see us all at Melrose when the work is done!

Another restoration project making the news this week was the Lamar County Courthouse in Purvis.  According to the Hattiesburg American, the initial prep work on the building is done – and the project is moving forward.  Final plans and specs should be ready to go out for bid by early November – which means that the contract for the work could be awarded around Christmas or New Year’s.  Actual work on the building is expected to take about 18 months.

Staying in that part of the state, news out of the Hub City is that the American Planning Association has named the Hattiesburg Historic Neighborhood as one of their 10 Great Neighborhoods of 2011.  “According to officials, the Hattiesburg Historic Neighborhood was recognized for its ‘sensitivity to and emphasis of the natural environment’ and its collection of Victorian-era homes.”  I don’t know if all the neighborhoods APA honored were historic districts, but I’m glad that one of Mississippi’s historic neighborhoods was honored.

When I posted the story about Magnolia Hall and the paranormal group last week, I didn’t know that this week we would have another.  In Ellisville (Jones County), the Deason House will be open for “haunted” house tours.  What makes this one interesting to me is that these tours are part of a fundraiser towards the building’s restoration.  Pretty creative idea – and timely for all those looking to do something fun and spooky for Halloween.

Categories: Churches, Columbus, Cool Old Places, Courthouses, Ellisville, Grants, Hattiesburg, Heritage Tourism, Historic Preservation, Mississippi Landmarks, MS Dept. of Archives and History, Natchez, National Park Service, News Roundups, Preservation Law/Local Commissions, Preservation People/Events, Purvis, Renovation Projects, Tupelo, Vicksburg

3 replies

  1. I’ll be sure to let you all know when the big “coming out” party will be planned for Melrose after all she’s been through the past couple of years! We are about to contract for the last structural repairs: correcting a leaning chimney, repair/replacing deteriorated structural beams over the rear gallery, repair/replacing crumbling column capitals. Then hopefully in the spring we will finally get to that fabulous faux painting on the exterior stucco!


    • I’m with you Malvaney – *mostly* because Melrose will be looking it’s best again, but I have to admit that part of it because I know folks in Natchez throw some excellent parties!


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