Another building that failed to make the final 101 Places in Mississippi to see before you die list is St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Sardis. It took only 1% of the vote in the Holly Springs/Oxford area of the regional polls. That is a measly 11 votes, placing it next to last in the poll, ranking way below both Taylor Grocery and Phillip’s Grocery. That seems a little sad for a building constructed in 1891 that made it into Sherry Pace’s Historic Churches of Mississippi (2007).
The architect of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church was J. G. Bridger (Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Historic Resources Inventory database) “about whom no historical information is available” (Holland & Gordon, 1983, National Register of Historic Places nomination form for the architecture of Andrew Johnson in North Mississippi). The database lists the architectural style as Gothic Revival vernacular. According to the nomination form:
Bridger’s…structures differ…by their boxy, stout massing, and lack of decorative details and graceful adornments.
Pace’s book, with text by Richard Cawthon, referred to the church as Carpenter Gothic–
…the expression of the Gothic Revival style in wood construction.
The back of the church features a stained glass oculus and two shuttered windows with hoods. The front features decorative bargeboard trim below the roof, and a typical pointed arch door.
When I first looked up the church online to locate an image, I confess to not being all that impressed. Seeing it in person, however, I have a deeper appreciation for this simple yet elegant building. It might not have made it to “the list” but if you are in the Sardis neighborhood, it is worth a look.