After last week, I thought I might have to change my name and hide for a while with all the bad news to report, but found this week to be better, so I decided it was safe to do the roundup.
Been trying to watch for stories on the Corinth Machinery Building, which was part of all the bad news I had to share last week. There was a short teaser on the Daily Corinthian website, but the full story is online subscription access only. At least part of is was picked up by an Indiana paper – and it confirmed our fears. “Co-owner Terry Albright said it appears that a single beam is holding the building’s front wall in place, while a large metal spiral staircase and its concrete support appear to be preventing the collapse of another area of the building.” I think we’re very close to this building being demolished.
Some schools are in the news this week – starting with Smithville. A WTVA.com story early last week said that officials for Monroe County Schools were still waiting to hear from both FEMA and MDAH on what could be done with the tornado damaged buildings. The story also mentioned that FEMA was seeking public opinion on the “potential project.” I thought MDAH also had the school complex on their agenda for their last Board of Trustees meeting, but did not see any reference to it in the press release (or any where else). We’ll keep watching though.
Speaking of that last MDAH Board of Trustees Meeting, they approved Mississippi Landmark designation for three sites: Alexander Hall at Jackson State University, the Natchez Toll Plaza and Mendenhall Public School. We’ve been talking about Mendenhall Public School for a while – it was in a roundup last summer and in a post about two years ago. The release from MDAH doesn’t mention it, but some preservationists I know give a lot of credit to the locals who rallied support for the school building and its Landmark designation. Hopefully, they can use this designation to come up with a solution for this building that fits both the school and the community. It’s always nice when we can add another success story to our portfolio.
At that same meeting, MDAH was able to award grants to Annunciation Church in Columbus, Old Byhalia High School Auditorium, McElroy-Hoye House in Newton and the Noxubee County Courthouse. The Dispatch up in Columbus picked up the story (as did a few other papers around the state, but all the ones I saw seemed to be the same). MDAH also added a new Board Member – Nancy Carpenter from Columbus. She’s the director of the Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau and Miss Pres readers who attend events such as the Statewide Preservation Conference have likely seen her there as well.
In last Friday’s Clarion-Ledger, there was an article about the Mississippi Coliseum titled “Despite challenges, venue finds niche.” Since we had a post a long time back about the original circus-tent look of the Coliseum, I thought it would be nice to mention that this article has a more positive outlook on the coliseum than some in recent years. Although it notes that large-venue concerts are bypassing the coliseum because it “only” has 10,000 seats, it also contains this quote, which makes a preservationist’s heart skip a beat:
Fair Commission Executive Director Billy Orr said since his return in 2009 several major interior upgrades have been made, including new flooring, renovation of restrooms, a new central heating system and a new electrical system.
“It’s a well-made building,” Orr said.
In case you missed that last part, here it is again:
“It’s a well-made building,” Orr said.
Okay, so remember back in October when the Ghost Hunter types were at Magnolia Hall with all their fancy gadgets? Well, they’ve not been the only ones using technology to suss out some of the building’s secrets. According to the Democrat, a conservator from North Carolina has used his skills to do a paint analysis on Magnolia Hall to determine its original color scheme. I’m not going to spoil it for you (in other words, I’m going to make you go read the article), but I will tell you that there wasn’t any news on what the Natchez Garden Club will do with this information.
Final note – according to a story in the Dispatch, a “major motion picture” will start filming in Oxford sometime in February. The film is set on the campus – so I would expect we’ll see some of those iconic, historic buildings we all know as the backdrop. Maybe they’ll even shoot around town too. Nice to see Hollywood is continuing to take an interest in filming in Mississippi.
Categories: Columbus, Cool Old Places, Corinth, Grants, Historic Preservation, Jackson, Mendenhall, MS Dept. of Archives and History, Natchez, News Roundups, Newton, Oxford, Preservation People/Events
We like the good news; but we have to be aware of the bad news. As gains and losses are being tallied, do we have any new information on the state of the fire-damaged Penn Krouse school in Laurel (Stewart Jones). Is it closer to being restored?
Again, when will the 101 Places be listed? Thank you!!
Corinth Machinery Company was my father’s, Ben Ledbetter Sr.’s, business. He, with Robert Anderson and Hoyt Wilder, were that company’s last owners until it closed in the 1980s. The only solace that can be found in the main building’s fall to the horrific and unrelenting winds of change, uncaring and neglect is that these three men, along with most of the women and men who called this workplace home for nearly 150 years, were not there to see its end.
We somehow imagine that architecture is permanent and will outlive us. In our complacency we easily deny that building-beings, like the humans who formed them, must eventually go the way of all flesh. We see our denial poorly, through our tears.
Ben Ledbetter Jr.
New Haven, Connecticut
not to add more bad news but thievery like this is becoming way to common.