We lost some very old friends this year and some friends we hardly had a chance to meet. The list is shorter than last year’s, but still contains some significant places that we will no longer have around. As usual, it’s not a comprehensive list of all historic buildings destroyed in the state, but I think it hits the most well-known, as well as a few lesser lights.
For comparison with previous years lists see 2011, 2010 and 2009.
Corinth Machinery Building (1869). Oldest industrial building in Mississippi. Finally collapsed after years of neglect in Jan. 2012.
Mississippi Chemical Company Headquarters (1968-69, Dean & Pursell, archts.) A landmark on the bluff at Yazoo City, coming in from the Delta. Demolished January 2012.
Bentonia Consolidated School, Yazoo County. Travelers on Highway 49 have been watching this building collapse in on itself until finally demolished in March 2012. This is how the building looked in 2006, courtesy of MDAH, but soon after the center section’s roof began to sag after a storm and then it was a quick decline.
Patterson-Rexall Drug Store (c.1950, Robert Overstreet, architect). Demolished in April 2012 by Baptist Hospital without even a hint of imagination or creativity in its insatiable demand for new land for development.
Smithville School, Monroe County (1936, R.W. Naef, archt.) Damaged in the tornado of April 2011, the school was finally torn down in 2012 after the Mississippi Department of Archives and History declined to designate it a Mississippi Landmark.
Ceres Plantation, RIP 2012. Subject of frequent updates here on MissPres, Ceres Plantation was finally demolished, er, deconstructed by the Warren County Port Commission, whose industrial park is going so well they need this extra space. Except it’s half vacant. Weird.
Cathrine Hall, Mississippi Industrial College (photo by joseph a) (1905-2012). The subject of several posts here on MissPres, the oldest building on the MIC campus in Holly Springs, now owned by Rust College, was finally demolished in 2012 after years of neglect and a recent roof collapse.
(old) First Church of Christ, Scientist, 755 Riverview Drive, Jackson (1958, E.L. Malvaney & Associates, Charles D. Faulkner, associated architects). Carunzel told me I should go take pictures of this building, but I failed to do so before it was torn down in the summer of 2012. This Google streetview doesn’t do the cool Modernism of the building due justice.
Vandiver Student Union, Mississippi Delta CC, Moorhead (Brewer, Skewes, Godbold, archts., Hill-McGowin, contractors). Demolished either in 2011 or 2012. One of the round Modern buildings featured in Modernism in the Mississippi Delta
For kicks, I checked in on the not-so-well-tended grassy lot that held the Meridian Hotel until last year. Here’s how it looked as of August 2012. I’m sure that the arts and entertainment center that the hotel fell victim to is just about to get underway. Any minute now. Just a second, wait for it . . . only $15 million more to raise and then up it will go. Nothing to see here, keep walking, people!
Categories: Corinth, Demolition/Abandonment, Historic Preservation, Jackson, Meridian, Yazoo City
You forgot Ceres.. a very important site to me.
E.L., where is Cathrine Hall at Mississippi Industrial College in your obituaries? I looked over your last three years of losses and didn’t see her in any of those years either. An interesting question is perhaps suggested, to wit, if the wrecking ball does not strike by stealth in the middle of the night, but the grim architectural reaper sneaks upon its prey more stealthily, as with the Corinth Machinery building, when do we say the irredeemable blow was dealt? When is the year of such a death? Would a deeper study of this question help stay or even prevent this flood or losses to “progress”?
Thank you both for reminding me of those two important sites. I must have been in denial, because I had made a mental note to include them and then obviously lost my mental note. I’ve added both above.
Cathrine’s loss (note again that MIC’s spelling was without a middle e) is in some ways more understandable (if not tolerable) than Ceres’s. At MIC use has long since disappeared, that building was accompanied by several others also in rapid decline, and the funds necessary even to mothball them would appear to be, relative to Rust College’s presumed scant coffers, probably insurmountable. Ceres could so easily been saved and put to use, its demolition seeming to have come as merely a giving in to cultural ignorance and gross shortsightedness. Such a shame. Where have all the Flowers gone . . .
Rust College raised $750,000 in required matching funds in order to acquire Airliewood by “donation.” Granted, the estate was worth much more than that, and the couple who renovated it had spent millions. However, one would assume that there will also be a significant cost related to the upkeep of the property, which will also have to come from those “presumed scant coffers.” Perhaps the poetic justice of owning Airliewood and its much more marketable property outweighed the sentiment in owning Mississippi Industrial College and its historic value in both physical buildings and progress towards justice in Mississippi. While none of us commenting here likely know the full story, it would seem to me that for a school with an average enrollment of 900 students–and let me be clear, Rust College is important both historically and currently, and needed and significant in higher education–the ability to raise $750,000 indicates control over the choices for expenditures. The decisions made in all areas reflect the political will to do so, or not do so.
“Where there’s a will there’s a way” and the Malvaney corollary: “Where there is no way, there is no will.”