MissPres Architectural Word of the Week: Grounds

Time for another MissPres Architectural Word of the Week. As we move right along through the alphabet, you can check out our past words here. Have you been keeping an eye out for these elements like I have?  This week we feature an element that might be a little more difficult to see on a regular basis.  But anyone who has ever seen a building in a state of disrepair or undergoing repair might have seen this element before.  Our example building this week is the recently talked about Lamar County Courthouse.  Today’s post includes interior images that Hattiesburg blogger “Ramblings of The Diva” has pined away for.  As always our images come from the MDAH HRI database.

This week’s word is brought to you by the letter G for “Grounds” as defined by William J. Hornung’s Architectural Drafting

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Grounds: (ˈgrau̇nds) Strips of wood of plaster thickness nailed to the framing.  They aid the Plasterer and later act as nailing strips for the baseboard.

I have seen Grounds in many different buildings and locations but I have to admit I never knew the proper name for this element.  I think it’s safe to say that Grounds are not limited to nailing strips just for baseboards but can be any inset nailing strip for elements applied over plaster, such as chair rail or picture mold.  Keep your eyes out for a Gound or Grounds this week, or during your next project.  Y’all stay tuned for the next MissPres Architectural Word of the Week!


And a note for our regular readers: Next week will be a Name This Place contest, so get out your eagle eyes, sharpen your swords, and get ready to rumble!

Categories: Books, Courthouses, Historic Preservation, Purvis, Renovation Projects

6 replies

  1. This is indeed a new word for me, or at least a new definition of a word that I associate more with landscaping. Thanks for discovering it for us!


    • The fact that it is a homonym and a homophone, and a noun and verb, that could be used to discuss somewhat similar topics in the same sentence (“There are many grounds through out the grounds” or “Ground the ground to the ground down ground ground.”) I can see why it never entered general lexicon. But then again its a word that relates to something that is never meant to be seen.


  2. I love this series and it has been so helpful to a novice trying to learn more about buildings than just admiring them. Thanks for all the work you guys put into this!


    • Thanks I’m glad you like it and are finding the post informative! I know its helped me learn about buildings. I think the posts will also help us keep tabs on different buildings across the state, while promoting the incredibly useful MDAH HRI database.


  3. I’m foaming at the mouth over here. Life-long Lamar County resident and have been in the courthouse off and on since birth but have never seen the top floor. Now I see the supposedly “hand carved moldings” they were talking about in the Hattiesburg American article years ago when the renovation started. This coming Monday, this Diva will have interior photos for y’all on my blog of the ongoing renovation. Can’t wait!!


    • It is really neat to see the building in a state of undress. With major work done in 1908, 1934, 1956, 1980’s its interesting to see the layers pulled back and inspect each one. I look forward to seeing your photographs! Your excitement is contagious.


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