The annual state fair begins tomorrow in downtown Jackson, continuing a tradition started in 1858, but picked back up in 1903 in the Old Capitol, which had been recently vacated for the New Capitol. Over the next few years, the exposition grew into smaller buildings to the rear of the OC, maintaining a racetrack in the area that is now the Fairgrounds. Newspapers around the state hyped up the fair and special trains brought Mississippians from all over to the capital city. Here’s such an article from the Yazoo Herald in 1908, and you can see other fair advertisements on the MDAH blog. The fair moved out of the deteriorating Old Capitol in the 1910s, and as you know, after several years of hanging in the balance, the building got a renovation in 1917 as a state office building.
Head out and enjoy our fair and go easy on the chickens-on-a-stick and fried moon pies.
MISSISSIPPI STATE FAIR TO BE HELD IN JACKSON
Great Exposition Will Open Oct. 27 and Continue Ten Days.
The management of the Mississippi State Fair announces their Fifth Annual Show to be given at Jackson beginning with Tuesday, Oct. 27, and continuing until Nov. 6. This is usually a very pleasant time of the year, when crops are mainly harvested, when schools have all assembled, and a little recreation can be easily taken by farmers, schools, and business people generally.
The State Fair has steadily grown from the beginning at the Old Capitol Building until it has been necessary to put up new buildings and equipment each year. Public spirited citizens from various counties and localities in the State have aided greatly in the growth and usefulness of this annual show. All the receipts from operation of the Fair have been expended in premiums and entertainment, and improvements on old Capitol grounds. And each season public subscriptions have been made by Jackson business men to make the Fair better and give to the public the very highest class of entertainment.
New buildings have been erected for this season’s show. A large and commodious structure has been made and equipped for the poultry show. This will be one of the finest shows of its kind ever held in the country.
The impetus this Fair has given to corn growing in the State, by its corn-growing contests, and Boys’ Corn Clubs has more than paid back in material worth all the Fair has cost and all the work that has been done, to say nothing of the poultry, stock, floral culture, art, ladies’ department, and general diversified crops. It has become an educational institution of greatest value and its success and permanency is assured. During the Fair, practical demonstrations will be made on the grounds of road building machinery and of farm implements. All the space in the buildings and on grounds has been allotted and this season’s Fair will be the best in the history of the State.
One fare rates will be granted by the railroad companies, beginning October the 25th with a limit to November 8th, giving all the people in the State a chance to visit the Capitol, see the Fair, and learn what is going on in the world and in their own commonwealth.
Yazoo Sentinel, October 8, 1908. p. 6
Prompted by your posting, I went on-line. I was amazed to find that Eudora Welty painted a mural of the Fair. http://184.108.40.206/pubs/mhn/mar10.pdf I was also amazed by a colorful history of the origin of the Fair which, unfortunately, is fictional in every detail. http://thesatsumaman.blogspot.com/2005/10/history-of-mississippi-state-fair.html
It makes a great story though–wow! And thanks for that Eudora link, which reminded me of her creepy “Keela, the Outcast Indian Maiden” in Curtain of Green. She definitely made the most of her time at the fair!
When was the Armory built?
1927-28, according to the MDAH HIstoric Resources Database: http://www.apps.mdah.ms.gov/Public/prop.aspx?id=11693&view=facts&y=1060
See more information in our first post about the armory here on MissPres back in 2009: https://misspreservation.com/2009/11/10/hinds-county-armory-shamefully-neglected/