Suzassippi’s Mississippi: What does the First Baptist Church in Pontotoc have in common with the First Methodist Church in Batesville?

I might have missed the First Baptist Church of Pontotoc but for a fortuitous decision to walk to the back of the courthouse and photograph the courtroom.  On turning around, I spotted the dome behind the post office, and noted I would need to make a detour off the square.

Upon seeing the building from the front, my first thought was, “This looks like the Methodist Church in Batesville.  I wonder…”  The Neoclassical church building was constructed in 1914, by architect James E. Greene, and building contractor Chastang Construction Company (Mississippi Department of Archives and History/Historic Resources Inventory).  Greene is credited with 16 churches in Mississippi, including…First United Methodist Church in Batesville.  You can see how far I have come in that I noted the resemblance (and am continually, forever and ever, and then some, indebted to the great iron-fisted Malvaney for the excellent tutorage, along with that of the most excellent Thomas Rosell and J R Gordon).

Once again, Sanders and Cawthon (1993) came to the rescue with the description of these elements in the Pontotoc Historic District nomination:

…twin tetrastyle unfluted Ionic colonnades…one facing north and one facing east…brick pilaster with Ionic capitals divide..the facade into bays…double-leaf doors located on flanking walls of the colonnade…

Just like the Batesville church, only FUMC is far less ornate.

This is the east elevation, with its view of the octagonal dome and red barrel tile (Sanders & Cawthon, 1993).

The stained glass casement windows are original (Sanders & Cawthon).

How many of the Architectural Words of the Week vocabulary can you spot in this church?

Categories: Batesville, Churches, Pontotoc

3 replies

  1. Not only is she a beautiful building on the outside, her windows have a message within themselves. FBC doors are open for all. Pontotoc is very proud of this historical Church. Thanks for taking note.


  2. I’ve tried to find a list of those 16 churches designed by James E. Greene that you mention and reference as being in the MS Department of Archives and History. My search skills don’t seem as proficient as yours. Could you possibly provide the listing or a link to record you found?

    PS: I was in Batesville today visiting family and drove by to see FUMC while nearby. The preschool director said everyone was out to lunch.


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