Jackson’s Mill Street, Pearl River Glass, and Other Assorted Randomness

This post is kind of a stream of consciousness post, although probably not qualifying as Faulkneresque.

Back in May, I happened to catch most of the Mississippi Arts Hour on MPB (which I prefer to call by its old name, PRM since it specifies “radio” as opposed to “television”). This episode was dedicated to the arts community in Jackson’s Mid-Town area, concentrated along Millsaps Avenue and anchored by our own stained glass studio, Pearl River Glass. If you missed the discussion, you can catch it on MPB’s website: http://mpbonline.org/mississippiartshour/_05_20_12_midtown_partners/.

Pearl River Glass is located near Mill Street, which stretches along the railroad tracks all the way from downtown up to Fondren. Since the very early days of the city, Mill Street has been at the heart of Jackson’s economy, with all sorts of interesting manufacturing businesses, including cotton oil mills, located next to the railroad.

Anyway, hearing Andrew Young talk about Pearl River Glass’ history and the industrial history of Jackson along Mill Street reminded me that I had spent a Sunday afternoon last fall along Mill Street taking pictures in some pretty amazing late-afternoon light. They need to be shared, in my opinion, so here they are.

The Mississippi School Supply is still in business, and their upper window display was one of my favorite things about the walk down the tracks, almost getting hit by a couple of cars driving too fast when I wandered out into Mill Street without paying attention.

Andrew Young and one of the Ventress panels. Photo 2-17-2011 by Jennifer Baughn, MDAH. Retrieved from MDAH Historic Resources Database 6-17-2012.

Continuing along on my stream of consciousness, the show reminded me of a few really great images I came across on the MDAH database showing the stained glass windows from Ole Miss’ Ventress Hall under restoration in the studios of Pearl River Glass. These are the windows honoring the University Greys, a unit of Ole Miss students–in fact, most of the student body–who distinguished themselves as part of the Army of Northern Virginia. The windows were created in 1890 by the famous Louis Comfort Tiffany company and exhibit the Tiffany style of layered and opalescent glass rather than the traditional painted glass of earlier stained glass artists. The windows were restored by Pearl River Glass through a 2009 grant from MDAH. The pictures on the MDAH database were taken in February 2011, and look like the windows were getting close to being done and reinstalled. They offer us a rare chance to look behind the scenes, and it’s great to see Pearl River thriving and doing what it does best right here in Mississippi’s capital city.

Ventress panels at Pearl River studios. Photo 2-17-2011 by Jennifer Baughn, MDAH. Retrieved from MDAH Historic Resources Database 6-17-2012.

P.S. If you haven’t been aware of Pearl River’s work as you’ve been out and about in Mississippi, you can see a good collection of their numerous commissions on their website, including a piece in one of my favorite recent buildings, the Mississippi Library Commission, a joint venture of Burris/Wagnon and Duvall Decker of Jackson which was completed in 2005.

Categories: Architectural Research, Cool Old Places, Demolition/Abandonment, Historic Preservation, Industrial, Jackson

4 replies

  1. Thanks for the lovely tour! I almost feel as if I were there.


  2. Love it! I have a personal fondness for industrial areas.


  3. I ought to have been more observant of the treasures on Mill Street! The most amazing things are sometimes right around the corner from where you actually do visit when traveling. It pays to stray from the usual path!


  4. Thanks Andy, I love Pearl River Glass Studio, it will always be a big part of my life. Sharon Bower


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