MissPres Architectural Word of the Week: Mushroom Capital

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? While only some of our images this week are from the MDAH HRI database, all the buildings featured have entries in the database. So if you want to learn more you can head on over to the HRI database and look them up!

This week’s word is brought to you by the letter M for “Mushroom Capital” as defined by Edward Allen’s Fundamentals of Building Construction Materials and Methods

Mushroom Capital: (ˈməsh-ˌrüm, ˈka-pə-təl) A flaring, conical head on a concrete column

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Our examples this week are all in the new formalist style. Can any MissPresers out there think of another style that has used Mushroom Capitals? Mushrooms are no longer just for cooking or for fairies to live under. Keep your eyes out for a Mushroom Capital(s) this week and stay tuned for the next MissPres Architectural Word of the Week!

Categories: Banks, Books, Courthouses, Gulfport, Historic Preservation, Libraries, Meridian, Modernism, Recent Past

8 replies

  1. Technically though only the Gulf Guaranty building qualifies as “conical” headed. Does the squareness of the other capitals matter? Should we create a new sub-set of “square mushroom capitals”? :-)


    • You are absolutely right! Ive always heard new formalist columns described as “mushroom” but according to the definition they don’t always meet the exact definition. You’ve got my vote on the sub-set title




  3. Is there such a thing as a “mushroom” base? I mean in the same shape as the mushroom capital although upside down.


  4. I noticed that the Trustmark bank building on U.S. Hwy 80 in Pearl have some tall columns with tops that kind of resemble (to me) “mushroom capitals”. I’m not sure of the particular style name for those columns but I think it’s a right handsome building. Sorry, I could not take a picture while driving and dodging traffic and my phone doesn’t have a camera. Maybe I’ll get back by there and can stop and take a picture.


    • I’m glad you are being a safe and responsible driver! While similar to mushroom capitals, the columns of the Trustmark bank in Pearl are slightly different. I had to dig way back and pull out my c.1964 copy of “Design of Concrete Structures”. While the book does not offer a literal definition, I think they would be considered brackets on the sides of the columns. According to the book the width of the bracket should be equal to the width of the column.

      That building is interesting. It looks like an International style box under a Brutalist umbrella, A real good example of the changing from one styles popularity to another. Nice catch!



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