It’s been nearly a month since I’ve done a news roundup – between slow news weeks (preservation wise) and holidays – but I’m back with a long one this time.
Starting in Pascagoula where there is news concerning the Brumfield Building. If you remember, this building was featured in an earlier post and praised for its Modernist storefront and layout. Unfortunately, the family has decided that “Hurricane Isaac has done irreparable damage” to the building and it will have to come down. The family also said that it would be “too expensive” to repair the building. I always hate hearing that – especially in a building that would benefit from Historic Preservation Tax Credits at the State AND Federal level. I agree with the unnamed person in the article who compared losing the building (and one next to it that shares two of the walls) to “getting one’s front teeth knocked out” because of the void it will create on the downtown’s historic street-scape.
More bad news – in Jackson this time. Two TV news stations – WAPT and WLBT – both covered vandalism at the historic Greenwood Cemetery that damaged 30 grave sites. While the occasional toppling of a marker might happen because of age, weathering – and of course, Yazoo Clay – the damage done last weekend was too widespread not to have been done on purpose. I am sure they would appreciate volunteers to help collect and catalog the damaged pieces prior to their being repaired.
Those of us who have frequently traveled I-55 near Hazlehurst might be missing a familiar site soon. There is interest in moving the F86L SabreJet to the USS Kidd & Veteran’s Memorial in Baton Rouge, LA after it gets some much needed refurbishment. According to the story, the biggest hurdle faced by the Louisiana group is to find out who owns the plane so they can get permission to move it. The Louisiana group would also support any organization that wants to refurbish the plane and keep it in Mississippi – their main goal is to take care of this Korean War-era aircraft.
In Natchez some “derelict houses” that are part of the former Fort Rosalie site owned by the National Park Service will be coming down. Just so you don’t think that I’m all gloom and doom – the same article further talks about plans to complete historic structures reports on two structures that will remain on the site as NPS staff work to incorporate the interpretation of the site and connect their holdings into the existing trails along the bluff.
Up in Starkville, news is that the Cooley Building (aka the Old Cotton Mill) has a new developer – maybe. Just over an acre near the Cooley Building has been approved for sale to Mark Castleberry – who plans a Courtyard by Marriott or similar hotel on the site – but final approval of the sale depends on MSU reaching a deal with Castleberry on the Cooley Building renovation.
Several things preservation related are going on in Greenville. First was news that the city’s Downtown is now a National Register of Historic Places district. It’s actually a significant expansion of a prior district – but either way, congrats to our preservation friends in Greenville! We hope that property owners take advantage of the tax credit benefits of being listed and that we will see some new life in your downtown soon.
Second Greenville story is about the new Local Historic District (which we noted a couple roundups ago) and what repairs, changes, etc. the historic preservation commission will have review power over. I would have assumed that this would have been worked out prior to passing the Local Historic District so that those who have property in the boundaries knew what the effects of enacting a district ordinance would have been. The new story also notes that two owners (who have nine properties between them) took advantage of the “opt out” option that confused me in the first article. What I have been reading about the local district in Greenville causes me great concerns, but I still hope that the historic preservation efforts of our MissPres friends in the community are successful.
The final story from Greenville is that they now have two more historic markers that deal with the Mississippi River floods of 1927 and 2011 and how the levee / flood gauges work to document the height of the river.
A couple final short – but fun – stories to share:
In Hattiesburg, some citizens are hoping to get the historic Hub City sign recreated and put back on the Ross Building (which is currently under renovation).
The NEMS360 courthouse series looked at the Lafayette County Courthouse in Oxford.
Finally, back in Pascagoula, there was an update on the progress on the Round Island Lighthouse restoration.
Categories: Cool Old Places, Demolition/Abandonment, Greenville, Gulf Coast, Hattiesburg, Hazlehurst, Historic Preservation, Jackson, Mississippi Landmarks, Natchez, National Park Service, National Register, News Roundups, Oxford, Pascagoula, Preservation Law/Local Commissions, Renovation Projects, Starkville
Great collection of interesting tidbits! The Natchez issue is a tricky one – interpretation of an 18th century fort site is challenging in the midst of a street of early 20th century houses. There really shouldn’t even be trees!
Sadly, discussion of the park’s creation in the 1980s effectively ceased all repair to the homes as most owners waited to sell their land to the NPS – so deterioration quickly began. An MOA was put into place to allow interested parties to remove buildings, but the one unwilling seller (who owned much of the site) would not allow those houses with potential new owners to move them across his lands (since the hill and driveways directly to the street are too steep). So they continued to deteriorate in place. Photos and measured drawings have been created of the houses and one store that sat on the site.
Being a Jackson Co. resident, I had just read this in our paper last week. The remains of the Brumfield family are not able or not interested in pursuing saving Brumfield’s and I think the powers that be now in Pascagoula wish it gone so they can continue their progressive plans for the downtown/river area. I could be wrong but that is how it seems. I personally, being old, rundown myself, see the loss of these 2 buildings as another “who cares”. Thank you so much for your wonderful coverage of our historic sites. I grew up in Rankin County, so I am interested in the entire state which I traveled when I was younger.
I love the news roundup and, as a resident of Petal, just across the river and sharing a city limit with Hattiesburg, I am thrilled with the latest move to replicate the old Hub City sign. It would be THE capstone of revitalization of the old downtown that my family and I enjoy so much from the arts to the restaurants as well as the newly renovated and under-renovation apartment spaces that will occupy the old, architecturally beautiful buildings of the area.
The sign would again become a unique and signature original replica that will serve to stir even more interest and pride in our already georgeous downtown acreage.