With Isaac cleared out and the nicer temperatures settled in, I’d say it’s the perfect time to venture around the state to see some cool old places. Speaking of Isaac – judging from the lack of news, I’d say our historic structures around the state weathered the storm well. If anything changes, we’ll let you know.
Here’s the news that did show up this week:
Starting in Greenville where I had caught a headline from the Delta Democrat Timesabout the city creating a local historic preservation district. I can’t read articles from that paper online, but saw that the story was picked up here. That article said that the local district is downtown – but that the boundaries for the local district differ from the proposed National Register district that will be presented to the state’s Review Board later this month. Something that worries me about the local district is that it apparently has an “opt-out” option. That type of clause seems like it defeats the purpose of having an historic district in the first place. The story also says that those who opt-out will not be eligible for tax credit benefits – but my understanding of tax credits is that it is dependent on the National Register district – not the local district. While I know that reporters can get facts confused, the whole story makes me wonder if everyone in Greenville really understood what a local district would mean and how it differs from the National Register district.
Down in Hattiesburg, the Hub City’s downtown was also in the news. The American reported on a monthly meeting for the Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association where developer Rob Tatum talked about the rehabilitation projects he has started downtown and the type of retail businesses he hopes to attract. One of the buildings Tatum is doing is the Faulkner Building (which is being / has been renamed the Carter Building). From the news story – and from talking to folks in the city – it sounds like rehabilitation (and the historic preservation tax credits) are helping to make Downtown Hattiesburg come back to life.
News from the Grenada paper this week about three buildings on the Binford campus in Duck Hill. A community group has been formed to save the former Lloyd T. Binford High School, the elementary school, and the former agriculture building. The gymnasium building on the complex is used as a community center, but the other buildings have suffered from neglect and vandalism. The group is just getting started, but we’ll keep an eye out for news about their efforts (and we hope it’s good news when we see it!)
A couple of City Hall buildings were in the news this week too. In Vicksburg, the story is that the City Hall Annex is unsafe. The issues with the Annex all relate to the roof – which city officials report will cost $500,000 to repair. It also sounds like they just want to tear down the building. There wasn’t enough in the article for me to figure out what building they call the City Hall Annex – but I am fairly certain that it is NOT the 1902 neoclassical building designed by architect James Riely Gordon.
When the renovations to the Meridian City Hall were completed earlier this year, I thought the long story had truly come to an end. I was wrong since the Star reports that the City will be seeking some kind of repayment from the construction company for the project going past the established deadlines. The story makes it sound like the contracts the City had for the exterior and interior work had a penalty if the project went past the deadline – and the City is going to pursue it.
If you hear that work was being done on the LaPointe-Krebs House down in Pascagoula this weekend, it was NOT Isaac related. The Foundation in charge of the property planned a work day for volunteers to work on removing the flooring so that architectural conservator George Fore can come in to complete his assessment of the walls. The article also indicated that other upcoming restoration work would be discussed and planned during the Saturday workday.
An interesting story out of Alabama (but with a Moss Point connection it seems). Storms in recent years – included Isaac – have uncovered the wreck of a sailing ship that has been identified as the Rachel – a Biloxi schooner built at the De Angelo Shipyard in Moss Point. It wrecked in 1923 when it ran aground during a storm.
Categories: Cool Old Places, Greenville, Gulf Coast, Hattiesburg, Hurricane Katrina, Meridian, Moss Point, News Roundups, Pascagoula, Preservation Law/Local Commissions, Preservation People/Events, Renovation Projects, Vicksburg