Sam Kaye, noted architect/preservationist, dead at 72

We received word yesterday that Sam Kaye, longtime preservation architect from Columbus, Miss., died on New Year’s Day. His funeral is Saturday in Columbus. Kaye served on the state’s National Register Review Board, and was president of that board the last two years (as well as at other times in his 35-year tenure). Kaye won the Mississippi Heritage Trust’s Lifetime Achievement Award in May 2012:

Sam Kaye of Columbus received the Al and Libby Hollingsworth Lifetime Achievement Award, which is Mississippi Heritage Trust’s highest award for outstanding service to historic preservation in Mississippi. Sam Kaye has been a great champion for the preservation of historic sites not only in his hometown of Columbus, but throughout the state of Mississippi! Since 1974, he has operated his architecture firm in Columbus with special emphasis on community planning and historic preservation. He has worked across the state on preservation projects bringing back to life historic buildings ranging from residential, commercial, educational, and institutional, all of different sizes and complexity. His firm also worked on putting numerous historic districts and sites on the National Register of Historic Places across the state.

The MDAH Historic Resources Database lists a few of the restoration projects he oversaw. He also worked with historic Main Street communities around the state in revitalizing their downtown buildings. Less visibly, Kaye conducted a valuable documentary survey of historic buildings on the state university campuses in the 1980s, and his materials are available in the MDAH Historic Preservation Division’s building files.

Local History Announcements

The Commercial Dispatch
By: Carmen K. Sisson
January 3, 2013

Sam Kaye, noted as one of the state’s leading historic preservationists, died Tuesday, leaving a legacy that his friends and colleagues say will endure the test of time.  

Kaye, 72, an architect by profession, built his life around history, working tirelessly to preserve Mississippi’s historic buildings, saving them from demolition and restoring them to new viability while carefully maintaining their historic and architectural integrity.  

The Mississippi Department of Archives and History has called him “one of Mississippi’s finest preservation architects,” and the Mississippi Heritage Trust in May 2012 awarded him the Al and Libby Hollingsworth Award for Lifetime Achievement — the state’s highest award for outstanding service to historic preservation. 

At the time, former Gov. William Winter said he knew of no other architect who has done more to develop a public appreciation for preservation.  

Kaye’s position…

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Categories: Historic Preservation, Preservation People/Events

6 replies

  1. …Twilight series.

    That had it good in Willoughby, didn’t they?


  2. I was so saddened to learn of Sam’s passing. I know his list of projects is greater than what is listed on the MDAH HRI database. Most recently I got to work with him a little bit on the Biloxi Saenger Theater when he did the exterior repairs post Katrina. Preservation in Mississippi has lost a great ally. He will be sorely missed.


  3. A true gentleman and a loss to Mississippi’s preservation community. I had the honor of serving with Sam on the original MHT board and he, as much as anyone, inspired my passion for documenting lost buildings. Just a kind and considerate and talented individual.
    Mary Carol Miller


  4. Add one more to that “lost building” list…the Wayside Inn located on Old Robinson Road in Crawford. Sam was working on the Stage Coach Inns of Mississippi.

    What WCBI’s R.H. Brown does not reveal in his report is that the burning was allegedly an act of arson by a known suspect who raped the female occupant “staying” there and torched the building. The Inn had been looted of his antique furnishings last summer. Crawford is to Mississippi as Hole-In-the-Wall is to Wyoming. It is without any local law enforcement and it has become a sanctuary for convicted scoundrels and budding crooks with the local “Teflon Don” operating of what he openly refers to “Sin City.”Sin City” is a club that has become the site of driveby shootings. The “Horseman’s Club” that he once peddled drugs from was torched a year ago, followed by another torching a week later. The Horseman’s Club was an historic “slave brick” structure that was once owned by the Hairrston family during the King Cotton era.

    Is there anyone at MDHA who can initiate a REAL investigation into the criminal activity occurring in Lowndes county west of the Tombigbee?


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