As you know, National Register listings can be either individual places, as shown in yesterday’s post, or larger groupings of buildings known as historic districts. Historic districts can be as small as a handful of houses in a rural community or as large as a dense urban neighborhood (as dense and as urban as Mississippi can get at least). This year’s list of historic districts even includes a rare rural historic district. You might think rural historic districts would be common in Mississippi’s agricultural landscape, but in fact there are only a few, probably the most well known being the Church Hill district in Jefferson County.
One of the great things about the new MDAH Historic Resources database is that you can tell whether a certain address is individually listed or located within a historic district. Up until now, using the National Register website, you could only tell if an address was individually listed, since they don’t have the historic districts broken out by address in their database.
As with yesterday’s post, today’s post is brought to you by Bill Gatlin, MDAH’s National Register coordinator. All photos are courtesy of MDAH.
Monticello vicinity, Lawrence County
River Road is 5.5 mile stretch of the route of a road between Ford’s Ferry and Monticello that was built between 1812 and 1814. The original River Road ran parallel to the Pearl River and was an early north/south transportation corridor in south Mississippi. Although much of the old River Road has been lost to modern highway construction, this 5.5 mile stretch retains the rural character that marked the historic route. Portions of the road run through open farmland while in others the roadbed is sunken with earthen banks where trees close to the road create a canopy effect. The road crosses White Sand Creek on a historic bridge built in 1913. Although the road surface has been paved, the nature of the surrounding landscape and the relation of the road to the natural topography are largely unchanged since territorial times. Kay Allen, President of the Lawrence County Historical Society, and Bo Bourne wrote the nomination. River Road was listed on March 21, 2011.
Baldwyn Historic District
Baldwyn, Lee/Prentiss County
The Baldwyn Historic District comprises 36 acres in the town of Baldwyn, which is bisected by the Lee/Prentiss County line. Baldwyn was chartered in 1861 on the recently completed Mobile and Ohio Railroad line. The principal industry was cotton, which was ginned in Baldwyn and shipped on the railroad. Main Street became the primary commercial center with typical small town businesses: banks, drug stores, general stores, dry goods retailers and hardware stores. The businesses were housed in one and two story brick buildings with party walls. The dense concentration remains today. One gin building survives along with some warehouses related to the agricultural trade. Residential streets radiate from the commercial core. Three churches are located in the district. With 165 contributing resources, the Baldwyn Historic District represents a unique pattern of development for a small community in northeast Mississippi. David Preziosi, Executive Director of the Mississippi Heritage Trust, wrote the nomination. The Baldwyn Historic District was listed on July 20, 2011.
Eupora Historic District
Eupora, Webster County
The Eupora Historic District is significant for association with Commerce, Community Planning and Development and Architecture. The 39 acre district has 187 contributing resources composed of commercial, residential, and institutional buildings. When surveyors for the Georgia Pacific railroad were laying out the line, they discovered the small settlement of Early Grove on the high ground near the Big Black River. They determined the site would make a good place for a town and Eupora was established. The passenger depot, built in 1885, is the oldest surviving building in the town. Commercial development was along streets perpendicular to the railroad, while residential streets radiated from the commercial core. Architectural styles popular in the late 19th and early 20th century are well represented in the district. David Preziosi, Executive Director of the Mississippi Heritage Trust, wrote the nomination. The Eupora Historic District was listed on July 20, 2011.
Downtown Louisville Historic District
Louisville, Winston County
The Downtown Louisville Historic District covers six acres in the commercial core of Louisville. The town was established in 1833 following the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit. It was favorably situated on the Robinson Road, an early transportation corridor. The town grew rapidly before the Civil War and was largely spared from the destruction many Mississippi communities suffered. Economic expansion in the post war era was only briefly slowed following a major fire in 1892. By 1897, much of the commercial core was rebuilt and further growth was spurred by the arrival of the Mobile, Jackson and Kansas City Railroad in 1905. The fifty-five contributing resources are significant for association with Commerce and Community Planning and Development. Nancy Bell, preservation consultant, wrote the nomination. The Downtown Louisville Historic District was listed on July 20, 2011.
Gulfport Harbor Square Commercial Historic District
Gulfport, Harrison County
The Gulfport Harbor Square Commercial Historic District encompasses 37 acres and contains 58 contributing resources. The district includes the commercial core of the city as well as important government and religious institutions. Many resources in the old Harbor Square Historic District were demolished or damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Efforts were made to restore and rehabilitate surviving properties. Based on these changes MDAH conducted a new survey of downtown Gulfport, reassessed the status of existing resources and expanded the boundaries to create a new historic district. The Gulfport Harbor Square Historic District is significant for association with Commerce, Community Planning and Development and Architecture. David Preziosi, Executive Director of the Mississippi Heritage Trust, wrote the nomination. The Gulfport Harbor Square Historic District was listed on October 25, 2011.
International Ship Building Company Employee Housing Historic District
Pascagoula, Jackson County
The International Ship Building Company Employee Housing Historic District is a rare surviving example of a residential neighborhood constructed by a corporation for employee housing in Mississippi. In about 1918 the International Ship Building Company built about 285 residences in five different styles. The houses were rented to shipyard employees. In 1917 the company leased some houses to the United States Government for a vocational training school for disabled veterans. After the vocational school closed in 1925, local business men purchased many of the buildings and over time a distinctive residential neighborhood developed. There are 91 contributing resources and is the largest and most- intact enclave of early 20th century industrial housing. Richard Cawthon, FEMA architectural historian and Aileen de la Torre, MDAH architectural historian, wrote the nomination. The International Ship Building Company Employee Housing Historic District was listed on November 30, 2011.